Now that the sun is shining in New England and summer is nearly officially here, I'm feeling the tug of nature and the need to try a new outdoor fiber art project. Although I've experimented with sun printing and dyeing techniques, there are many variations that I haven't tried. I am especially inspired by the beautiful quilts made by Gail Ellspermann from her sun-printed fabrics using stencils.
|Quilt by Gail Ellspermann.|
Gail shared two of her techniques for fabric painting with sun printing in Quilting Arts in Stitches vol. 10. Today, I'm offering you the first technique here.
Sun Printing with Stencils by Gail Ellspermann
In this method, the fabric is painted with Pebeo Setacolor fabric paint, covered with a stencil, and sun printed. Setacolor Transparent has a property that allows it to "develop" in the sun. The process is simple and very reliable–and slightly addictive!
Note: It is important to remember that when sun printing with Setacolor, the parts of the fabric that are exposed to the sun become brighter, while the areas covered by the stencil become lighter. This result may seem counter-intuitive, as fabrics typically tend to fade in the sun rather than become brighter.
• Plastic to cover work surface
• Pebeo Setacolor Transparent fabric paint (found at art supply stores on online)
• Small plastic cup
• Plastic spoons
• PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric
• Foam paintbrush
• Large sheet of foam board
• Masking tape
• Iron and ironing board
• Pebeo Setacolor Lightening Medium (optional)
Sun printing the fabric:
1. Cover your work surface with plastic.
2. Pour 1 teaspoon of the Setacolor into a plastic cup. Add ½ teaspoon of water to thin the paint, using a plastic spoon to mix them together and to remove any lumps. If you want the color of the paint to be lighter, add Setacolor Lightening Medium.
3. Place the PFD fabric on your covered work surface. Use a foam paintbrush to apply the diluted paint. The fabric should be saturated but not dripping.
4. Move the painted fabric to the foam board. Place the stencil on the fabric, gently patting it so that the stencil adheres slightly to the wet fabric. Tape the stencil at the corners to hold it in place.
|You can layer stencils, and sun-printing fabrics, for complex effects. Art by Gail Ellspermann.|
5. Repeat the previous steps with additional fabric pieces until the foam board is covered with fabric and stencils. Move the board to a sunny spot, and leave it for one hour to fully expose the color. The hotter and brighter the day, the more intense the colors will be when they dry, and the more contrast there will be between the covered and uncovered areas of the fabric.
6. After the fabric is completely dry, remove the stencil and iron the fabric to heat-set the color.
It's fun to experiment with layering the stencils and using different paint colors to get different effects. If you've never made sun printings, now's the time to try a new surface design technique.
You will find lots of advice, tips, techniques, and gorgeous art in our in Stitches emags. Download one–or more–now.
P.S. What's your favorite outdoor surface design technique? Leave a comment below.