What fun I've been having, and all
the better when I'm sharing it with you!
The majority of folks don't have a bottomless purse to fund their hobbies so I've been keeping that foremost in my mind while doing these projects. I think being economically and ecologically minded with both money and materials should be a consideration in all our lives. So I try to stay within a reasonable budget, and RRR: Reduce, reuse, and recycle. If you're trying some of these projects yourselves, start being aware of where you can scavenge free materials. Your junk mail, jars, bubble wrap, onion bags, packaging on many items, etc., and so on are all freebies. Make sure they're clean, and start accumulating interesting shapes and textures to use for printing.
Although they are marketed under various names, our family always refers to these soft, crafty things as foamies. They are either thin foam with a sticky back you expose by peeling off the tape, or just the foam. They're available in sheets or cut outs, and are ideal for low tech printing.
I told you how I wasn't happy with my little spirals made from potato stamps HERE, and it was time to start adding to that design. Instead of making an entire circle of these, it was easier to make two 'petals', and then stamp around the circles. It also kept the design more organic as each one was different, or I could opt not to do an entire circle of petals. Because my spacing wasn't spot on, I faded out some of the petals where they might overlap with the next flower's petals. In spite of it helping a lot, the piece may not yet be done.
I drew my idea first on paper, then cut out foamie pieces to match it. I begged a junk piece of plexiglass plastic as a stamp based, laid it over the design, and traced it with a Vis-a-Vis marker. Putting in the spiral itself would help me with registration--a fancy way of saying 'lining it up.'
Foamies can be used as they are for inks, but if you're using paints you also have the option of painting them lightly with a thin coating of acrylic paint to give them texture. When dry, the texture will help to pick up a coating of the paint. It's up to you.
I'm using two different brayers. The black one is firmer, and ideal for applying paint to stamps. I mix my colors on a thin piece of Plexiglass or even a recycled meat tray, pick up a thin layer of paint, and roll it lightly onto the stamp. You have more control this way then dipping the stamp into the paint. The white one is softer, and ideal if you need to roll over the back of the stamp while stamping for even pressure and coverage.
Pressure: how hard you press your stamp onto the fabric depends on the look you're after. Generally, a lighter touch is better than a lot of pressure, I found. You can see below I had trouble getting consistent coverage on the leaves, but I think it's something that will come with experimenting over time. Both pressure and the amount of paint I put on the stamp come into play.
This piece started with just single flowers in this post, and it, too, needed something more. I mixed a darker brown from the Jacquard Textile Paints I'd been using, and created another stamp out of foamies. This time I took a pencil, and scored veins in the leaves I cut out. The foamies really give you a lot of options.
When the leaves were done, I went back with my original potato stamp still kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, and still without signs of mold or deterioration, and stamped over the previous flowers. If you turn a circular stamp just so slightly, you'll get a little ghost image, and it creates depth.
I was trying to imagine how I might use a fabric like this, and felt in needed a corresponding rustic stripe. I found a commercially produced stamp in my collection, and very lightly coated the surface before stamping. These might make a pair of fun placemats for a fall table, and after the paint is heat set with an iron, be completely washable.
Here's the embossing plate I grabbed as an impromptu squeegee while silk screening on the cheap. I found it for under $2 on clearance, and bought it because I thought it might make a good print plate. The purpose of an embossing template is to create a 3D pattern on paper by running it through a specialized press. Greeting cards are often embossed, meaning they have raised portions in the design. I'm not a paper crafter, but many items in that department are good for fabric printing, too.
Initially I rolled the embossing plate very lightly with the Jacquard Textile Paint, but it left just a faint print. I was disappointed so looked closely at what was happening. An embossing plate has 2 pieces. One is the positive, which I had printed with. It's the one that is the actual design if you were to draw it, and color 'inside the lines.' The other folding half is the negative, or the background shape.
On the other hand, the negative print came out much better. I looked at the embossing plate itself, and will tell you there was slight texture in both the positive and negative. I expect some of this had to do with the quality of the paper I was using, and how the paint was reacting with that. The next time I experiment, I'll give it a try on actual fabric.
One problem I'd been having with using the potato stamps was picking up too much paint at a time. I found that using a small square of synthetic felt in a bowl, and adding my mixed paint onto it served as an excellent stamp pad. I know I picked this up through reading, but no idea where. The paint didn't dry out nearly as fast, and the fiber in the pad kept it from globbing on the stamp. When I was done stamping this design, I slid the whole bowl into a recycled plastic bag for use another day.
You can see I started in the middle, and was having issues with excess paint on the stamp. The simple felt pad solution fixed it right up.
Some evenings when I reach the front door, I'm absolutely wiped out. My mind is full of all the discoveries I've made, and fun I've had, but I'm done for the day. My flowers are coming along nicely in their little pot, and remind me it's okay to put it behind me.
I hope you're enjoying my printing adventures, and promise to take you into the world of Deconstructed Silk Screening next with home made screens. You can take a peek through the YouTube link for a professional showing you what it's all about, and tomorrow I'll have a novice's experience to share.
Deconstructed Screen Printing
with Kerr Grabowski via YouTube
Come on, Doxie girls.
Maybe we can print some paws today.