Create the Look of Old World Tiles with Fabric Painting

A couple of years ago we remodeled our kitchen, including a herringbone patterned tile backsplash that inspired me to make patchwork pillows in the same design.

I thought of that recently when editing the October/November 2015 issue of Quilting Arts. In it, Desiree Habicht describes a fabric painting technique using acrylic ink, painted fusible, and other fabrics to make a landscape quilt that looks like Old World tiles.

painting on fabric
“Italian Countryside Tiles” 18″ x 22″, by Desiree Habicht.

These painted quilts, inspired by photos from a trip to the Italian countryside, are simply stunning.

Desiree–a painter and a fiber artist–writes, “As an artist who has spent years creating faux finishes on different surfaces, I am comfortable taking something new and making it look old. To get this effect, I use acrylic inks, which lend themselves perfectly for creating these faux finishes.

“It is very much like painting with watercolor–and magic happens when you let go of the need to have perfect lines and order. If you usually love to control everything, take a step back, let it happen, and enjoy the freedom of letting go.”

When selecting an inspiration for an Old World tiles project, Desiree uses her own photos that depict old churches, marble floors, and country villages. From them, she often creates a template.

Here are her tips on choosing and using photos for an Old World tile project:

  • Begin by simplifying the photo. Trace the dominant areas and eliminate much of the detail. Indicate the horizon, tree line, bushes, and houses. Note the dark and light areas. This will become the template for your project.
  • Another way to simplify a photo is to scan it into photo editing software and use a filter to posterize the image. Manipulate the photo until you get a look you like.
  • Still life paintings with fruits, crocks of wooden spoons, or other groupings of household objects also work well.
  • Be sure to always use copyright-free images or your own photos.

Desiree has full instructions in the October/November 2015/16 issue, and you can find templates on our website.

Whether you create one “tile” or an entire backsplash, I think Desiree’s technique will enhance your view of painting on fabric.

vivika hansen denegre

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Fabric Painting & Dyeing, QATV Series 1100, Quilting Daily Blog

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