A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Friday, February 4, 2011


OK. Now before I get any credit at all, remember I totally stole all this info and even the pear design from Laura Kemshall. I watch shows on DMTV Design Matters TV and it is SO worth the yearly price. Can you imagine studying with Linda and Laura Kemshall all year?

First I brought my 2'X4' ironing board down which I made on the painted batik tutorial and placed it on my folding table in my wet studio (a.k.a. kitchen)

Then I covered it with the heavy heavy poly film I use for monoprints maybe 6mil.

Then I cut open a trash bin bag and placed the fabric on it. I should have pre-soaked the fabric in soda ash and hung to dry but nooo, I'm in too much in a hurry so I'll need to add the soda ash to the print paste.

Next I use a brush to make a basket weave design on the white cotton
I set this aside on its bin bag to cool and dry in another room

This on I messed up a bit but whose judging - it's a demo! I also plan on re-waxing and over dyeing later in the week so lots of blank spaces for future batiking.

This is the pear batik that Laura did so I am copying her design all in a good cause.

I used print paste (see ProChemical website for product and directions) Since I rarely follow directions I won't confuse you but I mixed this print paste up and added DRY dye powder directly to the print paste. Use a mask since your lungs are like gold. I mixed mine too dark since I don't measure.

Now the fun begins. I dropped a glob (about 3 T) of thickened dye onto fabric and scrapped, not spread, but scrapped hard across fabric. I scrap up all the excess and put it back in the cup.I decided I wanted to dye the other side of this fabric another color so I turned it over when I'd finished this side and used the other color dye paste on the reverse. Laural did this so It wasn't an original idea. I never would have thought of it. The thickened dye is so thick, it doesn't penetrate to the other side.

green side down, naked back facing up then I did purple on the back.

It doesn't look like the front because of the way the wax penetrated the cloth. It looks even more interesting!!!

A piece of fabric with wax designs that I did with a tjanting then scrapped dye onto.

Now the neatest one of all. Laura did this design with the pears. Her signature designs are pears and dried poppy heads. Watch this....

First I applied purple to the "table"

Then olive to the top with interspersed drops of purple to break up the two tone monotony. I finished off with olive over the pear which was almost completely covered with wax. I meant to scrunch the wax on the pear to get crackling but I forgot.

First I covered each piece of fabric with the other half of the bin bag and rolled it into a tube. Then I folded each in fours.

I heated my trusty rice bag for my neck in the microwave and placed on the four "packages" of dyed fabric for one hour.

I washed the dye out of the fabric after an hour with hot water to melt the small amount of wax

Then I popped them in the washer for a 30 minutes fast wash with HOT water , Synthrapol (Prosapol) and Shout brand Color Catchers - very important. Not only does it aid in preventing dye back as does the Syntrapol but you end up with a cool piece of color catcher in great colors. I always put 2 in each wash out.

Here are the washed and ironed pieces. I could make a quilt with fabric I created with 2 or three uniting colorways. I think this is so wonderful. Check out the 2 toned basket weave piece. That's two colorways for the price of one.

Later in the week I will do the shading Laura showed and quilt this pear. I will also take a picture of some of my dyed color catchers. They have amazing texture when put in the dryer.

I hope you are as blow away with these techniques as I was. This was a "must do" or is that "must copy" for me. Unfortunately the dyes were VERY darkly concentrated so if I were to do this again, I would start with less dye powder and add more if necessary. I was going for a chartreusey green but ended up with an olive because of my heavy handedness.
Please try this. It is TOO much fun especially the "picture" like the pear. Maybe buildings or a landscape...


  1. I am totally blown away. Can we do this tomorrow rather than snow dyes?? I mean I like snow dyes but this is WAY COOLER!

  2. Cool! A totally new way to use soy wax, for me at least! And it sounds like the dye is thickened... I have used the scrape method on silk screens, but not this way, so that will be another fun experiment! Question: what did you use to make the design on your second example, the one after the basket weave? Really neat pattern!

  3. I thought I left a comment but it's not here. The marks were made by an antique potato masher gifted to me by my friend Marcella who owns Mace's in Rockland, Maine. She is a gifted artist and also sells the best cotton gauze and rayon hippie clothes on earth.

  4. Great tutorial. This looks really fun. I already have the wax on my fabric. I was planning on dyeing it, but I may try this print paste method (at least on some).

    BTW...When I took the class last week with Jane Dunnewold, she said she always adds the soda ash to the dye. She said she gets better results with that method rather than soaking or applying after dyeing.

  5. All weekend I longed to read your tutorial but I wanted to do it when I really had some time to read it carefully. Today I finally could and what a great report you've written! Beautiful results!

  6. I love what you're doing here. I tried to find info about the Kemshall's DM TV, but I can't get any of the links on their website and blog to work. Is there another place? I'd like to see the free preview before I sign up for anything, but can't get to it.
    Thanks for sharing this!


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