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.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Colouring Lutradur 101


This a subject that we all learned early in our life. In fact I would think that almost all who read this blog are intrigued and drawn to colour. While we spend a long time learning colour theory or exploring it, we all love colour.

There are so many ways to add colour to your work. Most work with Lutradur. You can try them all remembering that this is a polyester fabric and is translucent with fibers visible. It doesn't hurt to experiment even if the result is not what you were expecting. Creative design changes.... abound. 

Adding colour to Lutradur is a bit like a "dyeing day" Plan to cover your surfaces with plastic. Have somewhere for items to dry if you are using wet mediums. Create a bunch of coloured surfaces and make a few notes on paper, use your digital camera, use a sharpie marker to write on samples what you did. or doing. (Especially do this before you add colour if it is different paints you are trying. You won't remember... believe me... ) 

So what do you have around the house? And can you use it? 
Crayons? Yes
Inks? Yes
Oil Pastels? Yes
Paints? Yes
Dyes? Some
Patinas? Possibly

*For specific processes with Dyes and Patina’s you will have to check into Leslie’s book to find out the specifics because I haven’t played with any of them. So I can’t show any successes or failures. And there is certain products you can and can not use. 


Until I read this book I knew there were two kinds of crayons. The kind my kids used and I still like to use and fabric crayons which I had make tee shirts with 20 years ago. These are still the only kind I own.
Our regular old wax crayons will work. You can colour  an area… draw a picture… and highlight or maybe drip melted crayon on to the surface. 

To get some of the wax out and set, iron the Lutradur with the crayon side down with clean paper towel or paper underneath until there is no more wax transfer. I would use a warm iron. But too hot - above 400 degrees Pellon Corp tells us the fabric will melt totally. Or you may just melt it a bit and like it. Since the fabric is porous I would also use the paper towel on top to prevent transfer to your iron. Create a paper towel sandwich with the lutradur in the middle. 

Fabric crayons do not have the wax that the regular crayons come in. But they are heat set in the same way.
Let see how this works out…
Regular "Crayola" brand crayons out of the box. 
Regular wax crayons through a stencil then enhance with crayons. 

If you have other types of crayons try them. Crayola Twistable crayons.

And then childrens pastel crayons.

I also took a picture of one of my flowers and printed that on Lutradur. Then I took the crayons, twistable crayons and the pan pastels and highlighted the picture.
Here is the before picture

Here is the after...
After crayons, twistable crayons and childrens pastels added. This is shot on white paper...

And this is me holding the crayoned picture up in the air... 

I also tried using all three - crayons, twistable crayons and the childrens pastels through a stencil. 
First I used  pastels. 

Then I added details with the pastels, crayons and twistables. I also used a permenant black marker to highlight. I like this better than the plain pastels above. 
Stenciled using childrens pastels on black Lutradur adding highlights with crayons and twistables and then using a black permanent marker to do a bit of outlining and dots. 

If you have Caran d’Ache Neocolour and Metallic artist crayons and Caran d’Ache Aquarelle water soluble wax pastels can be used too. The water soluble crayons allow colour to be blended with water for softer effect. Has anyone out there tried these products on Lutradur? Let me know what you think of them. 

Note: The oil based crayons and the regular crayons will not blend. (More directions ----in the book page 8)

Oil Pastels.

Oil Pastels can be water based such as Portfolio Oil Pastels which are made to be mixed with water and can be blended with water. I have not experimented with these yet so I am curious if others have? 

Or with Shiva Paint Sticks (Markel Sticks) which are oil based solvent paint in stick form. These can’t be blended with water and need to be cleaned up with a solvent cleaner. If you have ever worked with Shiva/Markel sticks you know that they have to dry before heat setting to be permanent. The heavier you apply the longer to dry.

A great book to read about Shiva Paint sticks and how to use them is  Shelley Stokes' Paintsticks on Fabrics. Check out Cedar Canyon Textiles Inc site to find out more information about Paintsticks and more. Cedar Canyon Textiles

Below are some of my samples of applying the Oil based paint sticks to Lutradur.

Using Shiva (Markal) Paint sticks through a stencil. Here I mixed a few colours and added a heavy coat of the paint sticks. I did this to add depth and texture  to the piece. 

I put the lutradur over a rubbing plate and used two colours of  paint sticks. The reason I used two colours was that I did not secure the lutradur and rubbing plate and it shifted. But this makes a different kind of leaf. 

In this sample I wanted to see the difference between colouring on plain untreated Lutradur (on the left) and Lutradur that was treated with a coating of matt medium. I used Golden Matte Medium in this case. The coverage with the treated side is much heavier. 
For me I think that I would use the paint sticks mostly with using the lutradur coated with matt medium or through a stencil as in the first picture. Another way I would use them is to highlight which you will see in a later experiment. 

Leslie notes how fibres can be raised by pressing to hard and you can clip them or leave them. I found that a light hand was needed. I have a hard time with the smell of the oil paint sticks. It is a strong smell if used in a closed area. So you might want to make sure you have a window open. 

This is just two ways to add colour I have tried.

How have your experiences using crayons, pastels, paint sticks worked? Do you use it as a main colouring technique or highlight?

Next Up...  Colouring with Inks.....


  1. I love this project, I love lutradur. I have experimented with crayons watersoluble. I loved to make backgrounds so. The blending gives me the oppurtunity to melt colours in each other. greetings from liesbeth

  2. Like Liesbeth, I am really enjoying this series.
    You mentioned the Portfolio Oil Pastels being water soluble which, I admit, I had no idea. So, I tried blending with water and they are amazing! :) Thank you for the tip!!
    I have used these on fabric but have no history on how wash-fast they are over time.
    ~ Christina in Cleveland

  3. Thank you Christina and Liesbeth. I am having fon too!
    The portfolio oil pastels are created by Crayola. According to their web site only the crayons, markers or acrylic paints that are marked fabric are rated washable from their products.

    However there are many options out there that are rated for fabric. A quick google finds that Pentel has a fabric oil pastel rated for fabric. And there are others as well like the neopaque line. Check out where you find dye supplies or art supplies.
    For just experimenting the "what I have on hand that is cheap" is the rule of thumb until I find out if I may like it.
    Try heat setting - protecting your iron - and wash a sample several times to see what happens.
    Best way to learn is to try...
    let me know what happens.

  4. A great start, Jo. I thought printing a phota and colouring it was a great idea. I'm experimenting this week with crayons also.

  5. Can't wait to see your experiments!!!!

    Colouring is one of my favorite activities. My mom gave me a new box of crayons for Christmas a few years ago for a joke but I loved it!


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