Are you ready to see a real application to all this madness? Good. I'm ready to show you. But first, let's talk about this technique. These are stencils made from using a hot glue gun, and common glue sticks. It's so easy that nearly anyone can do it. It works with both high and low temperature glue guns so even kids can use it with adult supervision.
*This process was not developed by me. It's been used and demonstrated by many crafters, and YouTube has videos if you're unclear. I'll put a link at the end, but you probably won't need it.
I started with a mini low temp glue gun, and a good supply of glue sticks. I used a heavy piece of glass for my base because it was handy, but you can also use kitchen parchment paper, a silpat mat, or teflon oven liner (which is what I also use for FMQ as an easy glide mat, and cost pennies vs. the Supreme Slider). I would imagine freezer paper would also work as it can withstand the heat of an iron. The benefit of using a flexible surface means you can bend it to remove the glue when it has hardened.
Note: Once you've used a product in your studio, do not reuse it for cooking. You may release harmful chemicals into your foods.
Using the mini low temp gun which provides a thinner strand of glue, I experimented making a grid and some flowery things. I focused on making sure my finer strands were anchored to another portion like you can see in the bluish grid above. A few were not--like the one above in yellow, and they were both disasters to take off the glass, and not worth saving.
Next I tried my full size glue gun. Working freehand, I created circles and a flower motif. I squeezed out more glue this time to make the motif thicker, and was far happier with the sturdy pieces.
HINT: You can slip a picture or outline under the base if using parchment paper or glass, and simply trace it. I also found it practical to draw ON the glass with washable marker, and trace that.
Those fine 'hairs' or strings that happen when you move to start a new area are no problem. You can snip them when it's dry or leave in place for added texture. Always allow your pieces to dry before removing from the base, or trimming any parts away.
My Concept Drawing
This is small portion of the large design I've been working on, and I want to figure out a good way to produce all those circles in the area around the eye. The eye will be about 24" wide. The background fabric is low immersion dyed black. I tried painting them with a brush on fabric, and it wasn't the look I was after.
While I imagined more rounded circles, this method doesn't lend itself to that. I worked carefully over a hand drawn template, and this was as close as I came.
Testing On Paper Using a Gelli Plate
Before I ever start painting valuable fabric, I test on paper. Always! First, I tried the grid stencil I made with my Gelli plate using a subtractive method. Imagine blue acrylic paint rolled onto the plate, then the grid stencil pressed down and lifted up to remove the paint beneath it. Lay the paper onto the plate, press well, and lift to reveal the print onto paper. Next, sponge red paint onto the circle stencil (additive method), and press it on top of the blue print.
I find it helpful to use a large piece of acrylic felt on top of glue stencils to press down on. I can still feel the raised areas with my hands to press on top of the ridges, or roll over it all with a brayer to make better contact.
Note how the thin layer of acrylics you get with Gelli printing allows a translucent layering effect to your paints. The grid lines show through under the circles even. I love that!
Now Used As a Stencil
Here I tried another method by using the stencil as an actual stencil. I added acrylic paint to a small spray bottle (a used hair product bottle is perfect), and thinned it with water until it would spray. This is a white acrylic. (The color becomes diffused when adding water so you may want to consider a different product if you want opaque color.)
The beauty of using acrylics over using dyes is the process moves so quickly. Within a few minutes the first layer was dry, and I had mixed red into my original paint. There's no reason to stop and clean your bottle unless you require a perfect shade. I moved my stencil a bit, resprayed with the red paint...
...and was very happy with the result!
One surprise was in all the areas where white acrylic had first been sprayed, the red actually popped out as red! The white paint provided a base opaque enough for the paint to not blend into the fabric. This was the same thing I had found when stamping and printing, but hadn't thought about it with spraying.
Processing It All
The fabric: Do not forget to pay attention to the labels when using paints on fabrics. Most will tell you specific times to wait until ironing, washing, or other instructions to make it washable, if that's your goal.
The ideas: I seem to need time to process all these ideas in between play sessions, and where, if any, place in the quilt I will use them. I think the spray or spritz method is going to work well for the circles surrounding the eye, but now I need to determine colors. Some people can plan everything out ahead of time, but I don't seem to be one of them. I'm not agonizing over it, but enjoying the process immensely. I hope you are, too.
She has some excellent instructional videos, and well worth your time to sit and watch. This is the link to creating hot glue stencils.
Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's keep up the momentum.