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.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chalk as a Fugitive Media

Chalk is one of my favorite fugitive mediums.  First because it has more control than many of the other mediums.  Second, it is inexpensive.  I picked up this box of 48 chalk pastels for around $5 at A.C. Moore.  So, let me show you what it can do.

This is a ice dye fabric I made last weekend in a play date with the FIVE.  It is looking like flowers to me and I want to enhance that.
I am using this shirt of mine as a model.  I like the way the  petals are defined and want to try and attempt the same type of affect on the ice dyed fabric.
I used a micron pen to outline some petals.  I just kinda drew around shapes in the dye.  No formula or pattern here.  Then came the fun part. 
I started by drawing straight onto the dry fabric with pastels.  I didn't add color to every petal but only to those that fit into an entire flower unit.  The chalk is subtle so it does not block out the background colors but does add to it to make the flower more cohesive.  On the flower on the bottom right I added purple.  The one of the bottom left I added white--the purple was already there. The top left flower I added a light blue chalk.  Top right I added orange and yellow-orange.  I rubbed the chalk lines with my finger after I drew with the chalk to help them blend in.  I could have chosen to leave the chalk lines more distinct if I wanted.

Once I had the amount of color I wanted, I painted the chalk flowers with a 50/50 mix of water/base extender.  I used a small paint brush because I didn't need to paint the entire fabric--only the part that I added color with the chalk. Here is where the control comes into play that I had talked about before.  With colored pencils or crayons, the colors will blend and bleed. The chalk doesn't.  You do the blending with your finger while it is dry.  When you paint it with the 50/50 mixture, it does not run.  Yeah!

Once the flowers were wet, I decided the bottom right flower needed a bit more color so I added the pink.  The bottom left flower needed some more white so I added it too.  You can tell because the lines are a bit more distinct on the wet fabric than when I added chalk to the dry fabric.  I am quite pleased with the results.


  1. That is SO cool! I love the subtle color the chalk gives to the piece. I can't wait to see what you do with this fabric.

  2. i used to be a pastel painter and have recently started using them on my fabric too. they are very easy, aren't they? and so much colour!

  3. Wow! So cool - I'm definitely going to try this!

  4. Wonderful results!!! I recently purchased a box of chalk pastels (they are still just looking pretty) but I do plan to play with them on fabrics.
    What do you mean by base extender? Is that the same thing as colourless extender used in fabric painting?

  5. That is beautiful.Thanks for sharing - I'm off to buy some chalk pastels!

  6. If you crush the chalk using mortar and pestle can you use the resulting powder to ice dye?


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