Monday, July 11, 2016

Using Inks and Paints Not Labelled Safe for Fabrics

Green, Green Ohio!
The lilies are about to bloom. 
Can you see all the different
shades of green?

While heading toward the middle of July here in Ohio, the rain is soaking us less often. Yards might have a bit of browning, but for the most part it is still very green. I think it's natural for our surroundings to influence our work, and sure enough, I mixed up some grass green printing ink for a project.

This was a chunk of leftover, unbleached denim I used to make slipcovers for a couch. I wanted to play with a homemade stamp, and also to test a product that was not listed as being meant for fabric. (Surely, I was the child that always asked, "But why shouldn't I do that?" ) 

I used Speedwell's Block Printing Ink designed for paper--not fabric, and added nothing to it. It was vibrant, and stamped well. 

Printing a project usually means there are times you have ink or paint left on your stamp, and no where for it to go. I keep extra paper on hand for the 'ghost prints', or those that you can make another print without reinking. I like how these look with a fine line Micron outlining the cross.

Back to fabric: I pressed the whole piece with a hot iron to set the ink, and then gave it a good wash in the sink. I watched all my work dissolve off the fabric surface, and swirl down the drain. They were right. It doesn't stick on fabric. What I was left with was more or less a shadowy stamp. It was enough that someone would say, "What was that supposed to be?" So, I decided to over-dye the whole piece. The limey green would still show under many colors. It was destined for life as a bag so I chose an aquamarine tone that makes me think of Mermaids.

The heavy fabric dyed beautifully, but I could tell there was still quite a bit of dye left in the pot. You would laugh to see me stand there, and think what I had around me I could throw in. Two fat quarters each went in, then a white shirt I'd worn to death. 

A onesie got a quick tie dye process, and in it went. As the last piece, I knew it would be the palest as all the dye particles were being used up. 

The denim is a beautiful green blue, but the pictures really pulled toward the blue side. You can faintly see the lime green stamped marks. The fat quarters are next with a dark and light, my worn shirt is now my favorite color, and the onesie is going to get listed in my Etsy shop when I restock in August.

The lesson here is to pay attention to the type of ink or paint you are using for fabrics. Unless it says, "For fabric or fiber", it's probably not going to be water resistant. If you're using it for wall art, which may never be washed, it's probably fine. Be sure not to use another process over it that might cause it to smear or run, though. I've learned enough to know the label is there for a reason, and I'll either add a fabric medium like GAC900 or just stick with paint or ink products meant for fabric.

I've been playing with a new toy called a Gelli Printing Plate, and have an idea on how to use it with the newly dyed fabric. Pop in tomorrow, and see what I've dreamed up then.

Until then...
Come on, Doxie girls.

Let's go sew.


em's scrapbag said...

I love the image of your think of things to go in the pot. It all turned out wonderful.

evaj said...

Thanks for linking and the inspiration you give us this week on Show and Tell Monday !! Hug Bambi

Kate said...

Very pretty blues! Sorry the green didn't stick, but it's true that you learn as much if not more from failed experiments as you do the ones that work.