Experiments with Coloring Fabric

Don’t ask me where it started, because I sure can’t remember. But recently I saw some quilts that were colored. Some were dyed, some were painted, some used colored pencil. This was sooo intriguing to me. Starting out with white (or black) fabric and ending up with a colored beauty.

Was it hard? What supplies did I need? Was I going to need to spend a fortune in chemicals to make this work? Was I going to need a well ventilated area? (the craft cave is anything but!) Was the color washable? Could I get the supplies local? ** Side rant: Yes you can buy things cheaper on the internet. But, your local quilt and art shops are a resource, you can go there and ask questions, get help, take classes. You can show off your work and get appreciative Ohs and Ahs. If you don’t shop at your local shops they won’t be there. Keep your local shop in business! Rant over **

While I was on vacation I stumbled upon an awesome art store. They were closed when we walked by, but I was sure they would have what I was looking for.

That night after the minis were in bed I spent a few hours on the internet looking at different videos and blog sites trying to educate myself as much as I could before going to the back to the store the next day.

I decided that while dying looked totally fun, it also looked supply and time intensive. I still want to try it, but I decided to leave that for another day.

But, painting? I can paint! Heck I painted a whole Chirstmas village worth of houses for my mom. If I can paint all those dang little bricks and adorable shop signs, then I can sure as heck paint some fabric.

Coloring with colored pencils? It’s one of my favorite methods for adding colors to my cards. How different can it be on fabric? I can do that! Sign me up!

So after a little bit of shopping, and some help from the great ladies at Art Supply in Sturgeon Bay. I walked away with a traveling case of 24 Derwent Inktense pencils. I was so excited I could hardly wait until I got home to try them out!

1st trial – Inktense pencils and water. The inktense pencils have to be wetted in order for them to become permanent. Quite a few of the videos showed using aloe vera gel as a medium. But I wanted to see how it looked with water. (Mostly because I didn’t have any clear aloe vera jel, the stores were closed, and I wanted to try it NOW!) I didn’t want to take the time to quilt anything, but I had some practice swatches that I had just laying there. PERFECT!

Inktense and WaterAnd well. I wasn’t very happy. The water caused the pencil to bleed A LOT! It kind of looked like I spilled juice on the fabric. However, I could see a time where I want a look like this. Like if I were doing a full scene like a sunset. The way the colors blend out would be fine. But it was not the look I wanted for now. I wanted the colors to stay inside the lines.

So, back out to the drug store to find some clear aloe vera gel. And since I was out I stopped by my local quilt and craftshop and picked up fabric paintbrushes, and an exciter pack of Lumiere fabric paint.

2nd Trial – Fabric wetted with aloe vera gel, colored, then more gel applied.

Here’s the gel I got. I only used about 1/2 teaspoon to color both flowers. I think this bottle may last me a while!
WOW!!!! What a difference. First of all the colors stayed put! WAHOOO! And INTENSE? I’d say so! Now I know why the pencils are called InkTENSE! I barely touched the pencil to the wetted fabric and got this bright of a color. Seriously I used next to no pressure on the pencil.
Inktense and Aloe wet

3rd Trial – Dry fabric, colored, then gel applied

Several quilters used the pencils on dry fabric and only applied the gel after the fabric was colored. I wondered what kind of look that would achieve. And I like it. A much subtler coloring. EEEK! The projects that I could use this are shooting off like fireworks in my head!
Inktense and Aloe dry

I am glad I tried all three methods. I think they all will have their place in some of my future projects.Three methods

4th Trial – Lumiere paint on white fabric

Oh, but we aren’t done yet! I still had to try out the paint. And holy cow was it easy to apply. And the shimmer? AMAZING! The paint is completely opaque and the thinnest coat covered the fabric easily. Now my head is starting to hurt with the number of ideas that are pouring out!
Lumiere on white

Trial 5 – Lumiere paint on black fabric

Lea Day had used these paints on black fabric. I wanted to see for myself how they reacted. Really, how can you paint on a black surface and have it show up? Use these paints that’s how!!!! The paint looked wonderful on the white fabric, but on the black it was spectacular. Even Mr. Steam was flabbergasted!
Lumiere on blackSo I have to say that I am super excited about both the pencils and the paints. I have several different mini whole cloth quilt ideas in my head and using these to embellish them is going to be just the thing!




About NotYourNormalSteam

I love to make things, food, paper, fabric, the medium doesn’t really matter. I am also an obsessive planner. The day after Christmas I am already working out plans for the next year.
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