Fabric Painting on the Go: How to Make a Scarf Souvenir

When I look at on Instagram, I can tell at a glance the photos posted by fiber artists: they almost always convey texture or pattern. Not just photos of fabric or fibers, but fences, grates, cracks in the sidewalk, and so on. When a fiber artist goes to Paris, she’s just as likely to take a picture of an unusual subway tile pattern as the Eiffel Tower.

fabric painting travel scarf lois jarvis
‘Paint’ on fabric with Paintstik rubbings to create a memorable
travel scarf like this one by Lois Jarvis.

Photos and sketchbooks can help you keep track of textures and patterns when you travel. But you can also collect these souvenirs in a more tactile way–by painting on fabric.

You might think fabric painting and traveling don’t mix. But if you use an oil paint stick, it can work. Oil sticks, such as Shiva Paintstiks, are solid paint in stick form. A seal forms over the exposed part of the stick when not in use; you have to remove this skin before painting or writing on fabric. The paint is set and washable after 24 hours.

Paint sticks pick up relief patterns well. You can easily make rubbings by placing fabric over a texture and running the stick over the top.

Lois Jarvis showed how she created a silk travel scarf with paint stick rubbings, in a past issue of Quilting Arts Gifts. The scarf became an artful memento of her excursion.

Here are some of Lois’s tips for making successful rubbings:

  • Raised letters and textures work better than carved ones.
  • Leaves, especially exotic native ones, make good rubbings.
  • Keep scale and rhythm in mind while designing your scarf on the go.
  • Start on the ends; when you wear the scarf no one will see what is gathered up behind your neck.
  • Concrete makes an interesting fill-in texture.
  • Keep all the rubbings on one side of the scarf.

What a conversation piece you can make!

You can make this scarf or any of eight others with our Make Your Own Fashionable Fiber Art Scarves Collection. Each kit includes two habotai silk scarves, a set of Paintstiks, a set of Dyn-a-flow paints, and our eBook Fiber Art Scarves with tutorials on making scarves with fabric painting ideas, fabric dyeing techniques, patchwork, beading, and more.

Scarves of all shapes and styles are hot right now, so be sure to get your Fashionable Fiber Art Scarves Collection and start making your own artful scarves.

P.S. What’s your favorite fiber art fashion accessory? Leave your answer below.

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Fabric Painting & Dyeing, Quilting Daily Blog