Guest Author - Carol Taller
Fabric painting is an age-old craft that has transformed with the development of new paints and techniques. There are so many wonderful things that can be decorated and made fabulous with a little artistry and magic of colors.
The simplest form of fabric painting is to use your rubber stamps and stamp directly onto your clothing blank with fabric paint like Zim Fabric paints or Dr. Ph. Martins Ready Tex Paints. As with any rubber-stamping, the more interesting your background is, the more interesting your artwork will be.
To add interest to your fabric, clothing blanks can be dyed or painted, and then rubber stamped to create a personalized look. While some sites offer rubber stamps specifically for stamping on fabric, any stamp from your collection will work and you do not need to purchase more unless you want to.
You must read the directions on the dye or paint to decide what method works best with the tools that you are using. Some paints or dyes need to be steamed or ironed for the colors to set.
Clothing blanks can be purchased from a number of suppliers. Dharma Trading Company is a wonderful place to start looking at clothing blanks, plus they have an informative site full of ideas to inspire you. They have good prices on clothing blanks and a nice variety of clothing to choose from. They carry silk scarves, cotton t-shirts and dresses, headbands and barrette blanks, bandanas and men’s handkerchiefs, cloth money holders and more.
Once you decide what clothing you would like to work on you can choose the methods of decorating that you would like to use. Dharma’s site offers several areas of guidance that will point you in the right direction. Beginning with Getting Started, there is an explanation of techniques that can be used and material that you will need. They have a site on materials that explain stamping on fabrics, painting on silk and more. I would also highly recommend you check out the Examples site that highlights other artists and their work.
If you look at Examples on Dharma’s site you will get step-by-step directions for stamping on silk ties, or leaf printing on silk scarves. Even easier, they sell all of the tools that you might need to do these projects. Please feel free to go to other sites, some listed below, to compare. Once you decide what you want to make and how you want to make it you can make choices as to what materials best fit your needs and where you can get them.
Remember, when you are working on any clothing it is good to prewash so that any shrinking takes place before you work on the piece. It is recommended that you iron your fabric before you begin your work, and usually dying and painting works best on natural fibers such as silk or 100% cotton. And my last quick tip, if you are working on something that is layered, such as a t-shirt or a tote bag, you should put cardboard or core board between the two layers so that your colors do not bleed through.