painting on fabric

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caren12 wrote
on 18 Jun 2009 5:03 AM

I have a question.  I am fairly new at art quilting and totally unexperienced with paint.  What is the best way to use a shell as a "stamp"?  I live close to the Gulf and have a collection of sea shells and drift wood native to the area, (and others bought).  What I want to do is an all over surface design using the shells.  I was thinking painting the outside of a shell and then pressing the cloth over them so an "imprint" is left.  I don't know if this is the best way or not, especially since most are curved. I thought I would ask before I toke the plunge!  Any help is much appreciated.


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on 18 Jun 2009 10:12 AM

I would try stamping shell to fabric rather than the other way around, but you should have a somewhat cushy towel or somesuch under the fabric to get the best impression. I created a stamping board for myself... a large piece of masonite that I layered with a thick old towel and some old unused fabric. I wrapped the fabric to the back of the masonite and secured it with duct tape and then primed the surface of the fabric with gesso so that it could be wiped somewhat clean after a stamping session.

If you don't mind changing the hand of the fabric, you can use any kind of acrylic paints on the surface. If you want to keep the hand of the fabic as is, you can use thickened dyes or textile paints, or add textile medium to regular acrylic paints.

Would love to see your results when you're finished! :D

- Judi

My Blog   My Art


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marti13 wrote
on 18 Jun 2009 12:43 PM

{Thinking out loud here.}  I would think that you need a fairly humid environment so the paint doesn't dry on a shell too fast.  Too much paint on the shell will drip and too little may dry on part of it before you can press it into the fabric  Maybe use a humidifier or vaporizer in the room.  Or even work in a bathroom with hot water running to create steam?

Another --thinking out loud again -- idea is to use Shiva Paintstiks, as they seem to stay "moist" longer than fabric paint. 

Have fun experimenting!

Marti in Houston, Texas

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Muppin wrote
on 18 Jun 2009 1:49 PM

I hope Melly Testa chimes in on this thread, because she has a few tips for this kind of stuff, I'm sure!  But I would ink up the shell and lay the fabric over and use a brayer to transfer the ink to the cloth.


Edited to add: this was my 200th post!

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on 18 Jun 2009 2:27 PM

Before you get too far along with your plans, I'd have a quick play with printing your shells on some waste fabric/paper.  Real objects don't always print out the way you think... lines and grooves in the shell may not be deep enough to show the same lines and grooves once printed. You will also get the negative image.  Imprinting the rounded shape onto the flat, may give you a shape or pattern that isn't recognisable as your actual shell.  You may find that one type of shell works, but another produces an unrecognisable blob.

I love shells too, they were my Research Project for City & Guilds Part 2 Embroidery.

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defling wrote
on 18 Jun 2009 7:45 PM

I've been playing with flexible modeling paste on fabric. Modeling paste is  a member of the gel medium family and you mix it with acrylic paint to get your desired color and then draw in it, paint over it after it dries, or stick things in it while wet and allow it to dry.  It does change the hand of the fabric, but I'm sure you could imbed shells in it. Then there is xpandaprint that was featured in a quilting arts mag a couple of years ago. I have found that Tulip, puff paint from the craft store is a good substitute. The fun thing about it is that you get to use a heat gun with it, and it puffs up. Try spreading a fairly thin layer, imbedding a shell, then zapping it with the heat gun until it gets puffy and pebbly on the surface. have fun!

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caren12 wrote
on 26 Jun 2009 6:18 AM

Just returned from vacation!  I have shiva paintsticks, I bought them at the recent quilt show.  I have no idea what to do with them, but I wanted to try them.  Mobile is very humid, the only thing more humid in summer is a tropical rain forest.  But I also have a humidifier.  I didn't even think of the paint drying too vast.  Thanks for the tip.


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caren12 wrote
on 26 Jun 2009 6:22 AM

I learned the hard way to run a test first.  Usually I am in a hurry or too impatiant to wait long enough to practice.  I know shells are not the best first printing project but I love them so I'm going to take a whack at it.



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caren12 wrote
on 26 Jun 2009 6:25 AM

Wow,  that just went right over my head!  I'm a newby, walk me thru this.  After imbedding the shell in the medium, do you leave it in or do you take it out and it leaves the impression of the object?  It sounds great!  I think I'll have to research this.


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