There are so many options when you want to print on fabric—you can use stencils, stamps, or screens and paint, dye, or even bleach. It can be difficult to choose the “right” method for you and your project.
I often opt for fabric paint when I want to experiment with printing on fabric. They are so easy to use because they don’t take a lot of prep work; plus they make iridescent paint and I’m a sucker for sparkles. Although I’ve had great success using dye for my fabric printing purposes in the past, I usually find an excuse not to break out my respirator and gloves.
After exploring the easy-to-follow instructions and admiring the gorgeous fabrics in Playful Fabric Printing by Carol Solderlund and Melanie Testa I’m inspired to schedule a dye session so I can experiment with their techniques that use low-tech tools.
Here are the top four reasons to try dye:
1. Dye colors cloth without changing the drape of your fabric once printed.
2. Dye gives your fabric prints a unique luminosity and vibrancy of color that makes fabric paint pale in comparison.
3. Dye provides deeper color saturation because it dyes the fibers themselves rather than sitting on top of the threads like fabric paint.
4. You can mix dye to produce any color you desire. With Melanie and Carol’s color triangle, you only need 3 colors of dye to create 28 different colors which can be mixed in four values—that’s over 100 different options!
Learning to print on fabric with dye allows us to not only make gorgeous fabrics but to use it. Carol and Melanie take the guesswork out of mixing and setting up a safe space to dye so you can focus on experimenting with the process of printing. With chapters dedicated to composition and designing collections along with creating motifs and repeats, I’m sure you’ll be as inspired as I am to don the respirator and get mixing!
Images courtesy of Playful Fabric Printing.