Printmaking Ideas from Your Sketchbook

Many fiber artists use a sketchbook to collect ideas, record textures, try out layouts, and even sketch.

printing on fabric from sketchbook jane lafazio
Detail of “Eucalyptus Dream” by Jane LaFazio, using
printmaking ideas inspired by her sketchbook.

But how do you transfer drawings you love to your fabric designs? One way is to make a stamp for printing on fabric.

Jane LaFazio often uses relief printing techniques to transfer a design to fabric. Her method for carving a stamp from a sketchbook drawing is easy. You just need a few basic rubber stamp and printmaking supplies.

Here’s a tutorial from her Cloth Paper Scissors Workshop video, From Art Journaling to Art:



1. Place the tracing paper over the photocopy of your drawing and trace the design.

2. Flip the tracing paper over and rub the back of the tracing paper all over with graphite from the pencil.

how to print on fabric stamp carving jane lafazio
Cover the back of your traced design with graphite from a pencil.

3. Place the graphite side down onto the stamp carving medium and trace over the drawing again with a ballpoint pen or stylus. The graphite will transfer the design onto the block. Note: As you trace, periodically hold down the paper with one hand and carefully lift a corner of it with the other to make sure the design is transferring to the block.

how to print on fabric stamp carving jane lafzio
Flip the tracing paper onto the carving block so that the graphite
is on top of the block and retrace the design. The image will
transfer to the block.

4. Once the design has transferred, go over the graphite lines with a black permanent marker so you can see the design better.

5. Starting with the narrowest carving blade, carve the smallest details first. It’s best to work from the middle of the block out and to push the blade away from you and your fingers. Once you have the details carved, you can switch to a wider blade to carve out the larger areas of the block.

Tip: Don’t worry about making the carved area perfectly smooth-the carving marks make the stamp interesting, says Jane.

relief printing stamp carving jane lafazio

Carve the block, pushing the tool from the center out,
away from your body and fingers.

6. Ink up your stamp with Staz-On ink. (Jane prefers this brand because you can print on fabric and paper with these, and the ink is permanent when dry.) Alternatively, you could apply a thin coat of fabric paint with a brayer.

how to print on fabric jane lafazio
Here, Jane stamps with different colors onto a
tea-dyed vintage cloth napkin.

Now you can stamp on fabric or paper, using your sketchbook creation over and over again.

For more ideas on how to keep, use, and make fiber art from a sketchbook, get our latest ebook, Sketchbook Keeping for Fiber Artists, featuring Jane LaFazio, Laura and Linda Kemshall, Melanie Testa, and many other quilt and textile artists.

P.S. Do you use a sketchbook? How do you transfer your ideas to your art? Leave a comment below.

Other topics you may enjoy:


Monoprinting & Screenprinting, Quilting Daily Blog

4 thoughts on “Printmaking Ideas from Your Sketchbook

  1. Well, it might be easier, but stamps have such charm and you can re-use them for other crafts or sell them on etsy/ebay if you’re sure that you’re done with them.

  2. Well, it might be easier, but stamps have such charm and you can re-use them for other crafts or sell them on etsy/ebay if you’re sure that you’re done with them.

  3. If you draw your idea onto regular sketch paper or tracing paper, all you have to do is put the pencil side down on the rubber material and rub the back side of the paper with the back of your fingernail, the pencil will transfer to the rubber! No need for carbon paper or covering the back of the paper with graphite. I also find I do not need to go over the pencil lines, they stay just fine for me to get the design cut out. I have done hundreds of stamps this way for my business and my students.