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, April 29, 2014

Pounded Fabric - The Process

OK...do you have all your tools ready?  Here we go!  I've chosen a black Kona fabric and some metallic paints. I've done this process before and love the results. I just used up the last piece so I'm out to make some more for future projects. I'm also doing a piece of purple hand dyed to show you some things as well.

Step One

Wet the fabric you will be using. It should be thoroughly wet then wring it out enough that it doesn't drip and isn't soaking wet. Don't get it too dry or the capillary process won't work as well.  So....somewhere between not dripping wet and not totally wrung out to the just damp stage.

Step Two

Place the wet fabric in the plastic bag.  Roll down the sides a bit to make it easy to get to the fabric. It should be placed loosely in the bag...not a tight little ball.

Step Three

Pour out your paints on whatever palette you prefer. You can keep them separate or mix them. They will become a bit mixed anyway when you pound them.

Step Four

Take your paint brush and wet it. Then moosh it into some of the paint.  Then begin to literally pound it into the fabric. You will want to turn the fabric and be sure it gets to most or all of the surface. Keep in mind, this really is a wet process. You don't really want the straight undiluted paint on the fabric. The water is what creates the beautiful effects.

Step Five

Loosely tie the top of the bag and place it in a warm place to dry out. I put mine in my supply/batching closet. This process can take several days.  It is best if you just forget about it for several days. If it is very slow in drying out, you might want to loosen the tied top a good bit.  It needs to get totally dry but not in a hurry. The magic happens during a slow, several days drying time.

Tune in tomorrow to see the results and an example of a piece used in an art quilt.

My friend, Wil, who showed me this technique is joining me to show you some of her results as well. I hope we can inspire you to recycle your paints and perhaps some leftover fabrics into a beautiful example of this surfacing technique!


  1. Beth had commented that the photo of the actual pounding was a bit blurry. LOL! It was difficult to pound and photograph at the same time and keep the camera still. I substituted this one. Hope it is a better shot.

  2. Very intriguing, Kelly! I can't wait to see the fabric after it has 'batched'! Question: does the paint cause you any problems when you sew on the fabric?

  3. I posted my results on my blog. Here is the link: http://wilopiooguta.blogspot.nl/2014/04/pounded-fabric.html

  4. and here I was imagining a hammer! Looking forward to results.

  5. Thanks you guys!!

    Judy Sall - I have sewn with these pieces and have had no trouble stitching through it. Because the paint is so wet when applied, while the fabric is stiffer than just dyed fabric, there are not any (or few if any) areas of a lot of paint. And since all my pieces are used for wall art pieces, I'm not that concerned about the "hand" of the fabric.

  6. If you haven't yet, do drop by Wil's blog on this topic (see link above)Her results are very beautiful.

  7. Thanks, Kelly. I am anxious to try this so I can use the fabric on one of my coiled bowls... I think this is a beautiful way to make some very special fabric!

  8. Excitedly waiting to see the picture of your pounded fabric... :-) www.lindasartquilts.blogspot.com

  9. Really enjoying all of your posts and pictures and the process. Thank you so much!


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