Writing on Fabric: How to Put the Text in Textiles

Is it a coincidence that the word "text" can be found in "texture" and "textiles"?

Maybe so. But whether you scribble on background fabric with a permanent pen or make a focal point with 3-D embellished letters, text adds texture to textiles.

Here are five techniques for writing on fabric and adding text to your textiles.

Inkjet printing. With the availability of commercially prepared fabric and inkjet printers, it's easier than ever to print words and letters directly onto fabric. You can print an array of words, a poem, or a saying, and stitch or fuse them to a quilt. Or, you can use the printed words as a template on which you can add stitching or beading to make the words pop.

Fusing. When you want to add a distinctive letter to a fiber art piece, or spell out a word and make it pop, use fusible. Apply fusible to fabric or foil, position the letters where you want them, then fuse them to your work.

writing on fabric with foil and fusible boschert
Foil lettering on fabric by Deborah Boschert.

Stamping on fabric. You can purchase stamps with words, individual letters, and random handwriting, but making stamps is easy and they will have a look unique to you. Be sure to use an ink or paint that is suitable for fabric and heat-set it.

Stenciling and screen printing. Apply paint on fabric through a stencil or use a Thermofax screen or silkscreen.

writing on fabric with thermofax krawczyk
Lynn Krawczyk uses a Thermofax with typefaces to print words on fabric.

Writing on fabric. Applying permanent ink or paint on fabric directly can be scary. But with a little practice, you can write a word or create an all-over design. Fabric pens and permanent marking pens work well. You can also write with paint from a squeeze bottle. Tip: squeeze a little paint out onto a palette or rag first to get the paint flowing and to prevent splotches.

writing on fabric with paint bleiweiss
Sue Bleiweiss shows how to paint on fabric with writing.

Quilt artist Sue Bleiweiss has a terrific technique for writing on fabric with paint. She details her process in an upcoming issue of Quilting Arts Magazine.

Subscribe now so you don't miss Sue's article and all the other techniques, artist interviews, and galleries of beautiful art quilting.


Blog, Embellishing, Fabric Painting & Dyeing, Monoprinting & Screenprinting

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