Uniting Photo Transfer Techniques with Water-Soluble Oil Pastels

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“City #27” by Christi Beckmann

While perusing the pages of the August/September 2016 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine, I was struck by Christi Beckmann’s technique for adding color to photo transfers on fabric.

Her method makes for a fun small project that’s a nice change of pace for an experienced art quilter and a great way for beginners to give photo transfer techniques a try. I can’t stop thinking about all of the silhouettes I’d like to use with this method!

Creating Transparency: Combining Water-Soluble Oil Pastels and Image Transfer
by Christi Beckmann

One of the first things I think of when beginning a new fiber art piece is adding color with water-soluble wax oil pastels. These crayons can be used as a brilliant base layer when directly applied to fabric or later on in a project to add detail, accent color, and shading.

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Use water-soluble oil pastels to add color to the background.

When color is applied and water added with a paintbrush or sprayed onto the surface, the result is a transparent layer of colors that blends well. Custom mixing colors by overlapping them when they are applied and then adding water, or even wetting the crayons first, creates different shades, tints, and tones. All of this is further enhanced by including a photo transfer in the final piece.

Try this technique first on a small project. The following instructions are for a small framed piece of fiber art featuring fabric colored with the crayons, and further enhanced with an image transfer.

1. Cut a piece of fabric 2″ larger than the frame. For example, for a 4″ x 4″ frame, cut a 6″ x 6″ piece of fabric.

2. Upload and select a photo or image on your computer. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, print the image onto transfer paper. For a review of photo printing techniques including five methods to try, check out this free photo quilts guide.

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Add water to blend pastels.

3. Using the water-soluble wax oil pastels (I use Caran d’Ache® Neocolor® II Artists’ Crayons), color a background on the fabric. In my project I selected colors to represent a sunset to enhance the urban architecture photo transfer I printed in the previous step.

4. Create a blended or watercolor effect by brushing water on the fabric. Allow the fabric to dry overnight.

5. Cut the transfer image to a size that fits within the frame. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, iron the image to the fabric. Let the transfer cool completely.

6. Use an ultra-fine black permanent marker and/or a few lines of machine or hand stitch to add artistic detail.

7. Snap the finished work into the frame, trimming the extra fabric as needed.

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Add another layer of detail using fine-point permanent marker and/or stitched lines.

Discover more of Christi’s image transfer tips and water-soluble oil pastel tricks as you explore the pages of the August/September 2016 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine.

You’ll also learn how Frances Holliday Alford creates quilts on the go by using portable units, how Laurie Russman creates pet portraits with a twist, and so much more. If you can’t wait to be inspired, download your copy of Quilting Arts Magazine August/September 2016 today. Or better yet, subscribe to Quilting Arts Magazine so you’ll never miss a new issue.

Happy exploring!

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