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.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Experiments continued...

I have been working on other experiments over the past couple of weeks with transfer paints/disperse dyes.  For this piece (36 x 24 or so), I couldn't pick up the gloriously glossy effect that this fabric has as I'm not yet that skilled a photographer - but it's really lovely. 
For this piece I tore the painted papers into pieces and then laid a piece down, ironed it, laid another piece on top, ironed it  -  with a fairly light hand onto the fabric, a quite laborious proces, but a result I was quite pleased with. 

Because the first piece took so long (about 2 hours), I decided to try cutting the paper into roughly rectangular shapes and then glued them to another piece of paper paint side up before putting the fabric over it and ironing it.

I had already written the on the backs of the papers their colours so I would know what the heck I was doing - as I was laying them down they all looked sort of blackish or blueish.) 

Anyway, as you can see, in this piece, the colours were more bright - remember, the longer you press and/or the more pressure you apply when you press the more brilliant your result is.  (For me, with arthritic hands, elbows and shoulders, pressure was problematic, so if I wanted brilliant colour, I just increased the time).

So, the top piece, with it's lighter colours, was less pressure and time, and the bottom piece was done with more time.

Another key learning for me in this process was that bond (or photocopy) paper is really NOT a good choice for this process. It  will work, but the heating process bonds the colour to the paper (cuz that's what it's made to do, after all) so you'll only get one or two good prints from it.  I bought a couple of drawing pads and have been able to use that paper  - so far, endlessly.  (Each paper has had at least six kicks at the can, and one, I've used on nearly 30 pieces of fabric!)

And then I made some papers that were simply dropped onto the table after I'd been painting papers.  The colour left on the paper was very light and I was somewhat concerned that the transfer wouldn't be useful, but these were my first passes - and I've since used the papers to good effect - and I'll show you those next week.

I also tried some more leaf resists on a different kind of polyester fabric - a more sheer fabric that would be good for a different kind of application.

And then I went back to the original fabric with fern resists again - this time laying the sheets of painted paper over the fabric and ironing small sections over them.

This week, I also received in the mail my pre-order of Holly Brackman's The Surface Designer's Handbook which has an entire chapter on disperse dyes and a comprehensive section within the chapter on transfer printing. 

Holly recommends the following dye amounts:

1 tsp for a pale value
2 tsps for a medium value
4 tsps for a dark value; and
8 tsps for black.

She suggests mixing the dye with 1/2 cup boiling water, a drop or two of synthrapol.  For watercolour effects on paper, she suggests thinning with another 1/2 cup of water.

For different effects she suggests mixing with a thickener paste thinly mixed for paper, or using a thicker poaste for printing, stamping or stencilling on paper.  She also offers another page of suggestions for different variationsIf I try any of these, I will of course, post the results.

The book is an excellent buy for in any case whether you're interested in transfer printing or not - well written with clear, detailed instructions, and good quality photographs of  both the process and finished results.



  1. Love those first two pieces. I'm not a pale-color-kind-of gal, but I really like that first piece. What are the dimensions of the first two pieces?

  2. the first one is 36 x 24 or so, and the second one is about the same size.

  3. Great results and and I really appreciate the recipes! I am finally getting to play with the dyes this weekend and will definitely use the art paper and try some resists.


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