Last week, I asked for advice on exploring surface design techniques. A lot of you said I should just relax, have fun, and play with different materials and techniques for designing fabrics.
|Lisa Kerpoe's prayer flags designed with fabric
paints and dyes. From "QATV" Series 800.
While looking through past issues of Quilting Arts Magazine and past episodes of "Quilting Arts TV" for ideas, one easy method of surface design caught my eye. It was Lisa Kerpoe's tutorial on using a brayer to print on fabric that she later turned into prayer flags.
Now, as you may know, love to make prayer flags. I usually make my flags as fiber collages using little bits of this and that which I've collected.
But one of the things about this format I love is that you can make a prayer flag any way you want to, from all kinds of materials.
So here is Lisa's basic technique for fabric painting and printing with a brayer, followed by my basic tutorial for making a flag.
- Fabric of your choice for printing
- Variety of brayers and paint rollers: hard rubber, soft rubber, firm foam, soft foam, and napped rollers
- Plexiglas® plate, 8"-10" long and at least the width of your brayer
- Textile paint (Any of the brands designed for screen printing or stamping work well, such as Pebeo Setacolor fabric paint, PROfab® textile paint, or Versatex Printing Ink.)
- Aluminum foil
- Iron and ironing board
|Lisa uses different brayers, rollers, and found objects to make surface design patterns on the fabric.|
Lisa's basic technique
1. Iron your fabric, keeping in mind that any wrinkles in the fabric will become part of your design. Pin the fabric to your work surface.
2. Ink the brayer by placing a small amount of textile paint onto the Plexiglas plate. Use the brayer to spread the paint evenly over the plate.
TIP: Don't let yourself be fooled by the idea that more is better; too much paint will only create a mess. The amount of paint needed varies greatly depending on the type of brayer you are using and the viscosity of your paint. A dollop the size of a quarter is about right for a firm foam brayer. You may need less for a rubber brayer, or more for a soft foam or napped roller. Aim for a thin, even coating of paint.
3. Lightly roll the brayer over the fabric.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the entire surface of the cloth is patterned. Use multiple colors to create a rich, layered effect. Try this with both foam and rubber brayers; each brayer will create a different pattern. You can also experiment with some of the various napped and faux texture paint rollers available in home improvement stores.
5. Textile paints require heat setting to ensure permanence. Following the manufacturer's instructions, iron the fabric to heat set the paint.
TIP: It's helpful to place a piece of aluminum foil on the ironing board, then place the item to be heat set face-down on the foil. The foil gives an extra heat boost that can be helpful for paints that require a longer heat-setting time.
How to turn your fabrics into prayer flags (the Vivika version)
Start with a piece of fabric approximately 5" x 11".
1. Create a place to thread a string by folding one short end over to the back by 3" and press, making a rectangle approximately 5" x 8".
2. Choose a theme for your prayer, and embellish your flag with paper, painting, stitch, embroidery, buttons, etc. You are only limited by your imagination and your stash.
3. Add words or journaling to your flag using free motion stitching, hand stitching or simply by writing in a permanent marker.
4. Sign and date your flag.
5. Hang it outside!
You don't have to stay with the 5" x 8" format, or even stick with rectangles. You can personalize your prayer flags anyway you want. As with surface design techniques, you should relax, have fun, and play.
Lisa demonstrates her techniques for fabric painting with brayers on "Quilting Arts TV" series 800 (coincidentally, I have three guest segments in that series). What a fun way to make your own fabric designs.
P.S. Have you made prayer flags? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below, and be sure to include a link to images, if you have them.