A New Method for Painting on Fabric – Tips for Using Inktense Blocks

My garden is bursting with color right now, with zinnias, dahlias, marigolds, and rainbow Swiss chard all putting on a show. I would love to capture the deep and varied hues on fabric, and there are several options including painting on fabric, piecing hand-dyed fabrics, and thread painting.

fabric painting on wholecloth quilt by ana buzzalino
Wholecloth quilt by Ana Buzzalino, featured on the cover of Quilting Arts August/September 2013.

But having seen Ana Buzzalino’s rich colorations on the quilt that graces the August/September 2013 cover of Quilting Arts Magazine, I now want to try using Derwent Inktense pencils and blocks.

Ana Buzzalino has used Inktense pencils to color and shade the designs in her wholecloth quilts instead of using fabric paint.

Derwent Inktense pencils and blocks provide an easy and versatile way to add color to fabric. They come in a wide range of colors, are blendable, can be applied wet or dry, and are permanent once they have dried.

In addition to providing step-by-step instructions for making wholecloth painted quilts, Ana offers the following tips for using the pencils and blocks:

  • The harder you press, the bolder the colors will be.
  • Color can be applied to dry fabric and then blended with textile medium, or to fabric that has been moistened with textile medium. Try both methods to see what works best for you.
  • Wash over dry color with a little water to get an ink-like effect.
  • To keep the colors fresh, clean the tip of your brush when changing colors.
  • Dampening the colors with a layer of textile medium makes them pop.
  • Layering colors while the base color is still damp makes the colors more vibrant.
  • Some fabric mediums require heat-setting to make the color permanent. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid disappointment. If there is any doubt, make a sample and test it to see if the color washes off.
leaf painting on fabric with inktense pencils
Leaf painted and shaded with Derwent Inktense pencils by Ana Buzzalino.

I love how you can layer the color on the fabric while still achieving a semi-transparent look that seems to make the colors glow.

You can learn more about Ana’s fabric painting technique with Inktense blocks and pencils, plus more ways to add color to your quilts in the August/September 2013 issue of Quilting Arts, available now.

P.S. How do you prefer to create colorful designs on your quilts? Share in the comments section below.

Other topics you may enjoy:


Fabric Painting & Dyeing, Quilting Daily Blog

4 thoughts on “A New Method for Painting on Fabric – Tips for Using Inktense Blocks

  1. I love my Inktense Blocks. I use them to set the background for thread painting, scrappy applique, monoprinting and on and on. The Inktense blocks are my favorite go-to material whenever I want to just ‘dive-in’ and be creative.

  2. I think the inktense works great! I use them a lot on fabric and paper! I like to use them mainly on projects that are not going to be washed to often, but if you heat set with a hot iron and hand wash with a little synthrapol, I have found they work great! I love them!