Surface Design

Surface design techniques can be used to create unique, original fabrics for your art quilts. Common techniques include fabric dyeing, painting, and printing, as well as digital image transfer. There are many different approaches within each of these categories: screen printing, immersion dyeing, stamping, and more. For inspiration and ideas, visit the Quilting Arts Surface Design Forum.


Easy Ways to Make a Stencil for Fabric Painting

The days until Christmas and Hanukah are dwindling. I don’t know about you, but I’m already starting to worry there won’t be enough time to order all of my supplies and to finish the holiday projects I have planned on time. In an effort to stave off my anxiety, I decided to take a look…


Quick & Easy Screen Printing Project: Khaki Coasters

In true procrastinator fashion, I have quite a few Christmas gifts to make and only 10 days left to create them! The time has come for me to set aside the piecing projects I’ve barely started in favor of easy screen printing projects. The Khaki Coasters from the 2012/2013 issue of Quilting Arts Gifts are…


Painting on Fabric: How to Choose the Right Paint

Painting on fabric is a great surface design technique to use when making gifts for friends and family. With paint it’s easy to personalize gifts that are handmade or even store bought. Try painting a small symbol, motif, or monogram to create a quick and easy custom present the recipient is sure to love. If…


Fabric Painting Designs: Color-Wash Printing

There are so many options when it comes to fabric painting and surface design techniques. You can use one technique to create a vibrant piece of art or you can layer multiple techniques to create something entirely different—yet no less gorgeous. Color-wash printing is an excellent fabric painting design that is both quick and easy.…


Free-Motion Quilting Inspired by the Masters

We’ve all walked through museums to soak up inspiration as we stop to inspect the work of our favorite artists. There is something about the excitement and wonderment that accompanies this sacred march through galleries filled with works of art. I was reminded of that feeling as I looked through the pages of the eighth…


Fabric Dyeing Techniques: Itajime Shibori

There’s something special about hand-dyed fabric that makes it hard to resist. With so many techniques to try, the possibilities for dyed fabric are truly endless. I particularly like the aspect of experimentation involved when dyeing fabric. For me, dyeing is a great way to try new techniques and dyes without expectation. Some fabrics are…


Texture in Art Quilts: How to Make Custom Rubbing Plates

One of my favorite aspects of art quilts is the artists’ use of texture. I love the way you can layer technique over technique to create a dynamic design that begs for closer inspection. And there are so many ways to create texture! Stamping, stenciling, stitching… I confess, as an indecisive person it can be…


8 Steps to Successful Cyanotype Prints on Fabric

Did you know cyanotype has been around since the middle of the 19th century? This vivid blue printing technique was a popular way to reproduce photographs and documents quickly and inexpensively. In fact, cyanotype prints were often used to print maps and plans, that’s where we get the term blueprint. Nowadays you can buy pretreated…


How to Use an Embroidery Hoop to Screen Print

Screen printing with embroidery hoops is an easy and cost-effective way to try this surface design mainstay. All you need to get started is an embroidery hoop, about a fat quarter of Speedball screen printing fabric (110 mesh) or a sheer polyester fabric, a paint brush, Mod Podge®, a foam brush, and screen printing ink.