Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sun Printing with Paint

Lynda here again. The very first time I sun printed fabric I used cheap fabric paint. Since I didn't know any better, I thought it was pretty cool. That was 4 years ago.

My first attempt at sun printing on fabric


Since then I've done quite a bit of sun printing and am partial to a couple products. But I thought for my post this week I'd revisit the paint, but this time use good fabric paint and screen printing ink. I was pretty surprised at the results.

I decided to paint both pieces of fabric with similar colors and fern placement so that I could get a good comparison.

So let's get started. After covering my work surface with plastic, I mixed up my paints - one set of Jacquard Textile Paint and the other Speedball Fabric Screen Printing Ink. You can use the paints full strength for a real dark color, but I mixed them a little with water. How much water is up to you. I've mixed them half and half and various combinations. However, I like my pieces darker so I tend to mix with less water.



Screen printing inks mixed and ready to use
While I was mixing the paints, my fabric has been sitting in water. It's important that the fabric stay moist. Once the paints were ready, I squeezed my fabric to get most of the water out of it, and spread it on my table smoothing it to get out the wrinkles.


Once I was happy with my fabric, it was time to start painting. I use sponge brushes for this. If you are painting in the sun you need to work fast so the paint doesn't dry. However, I keep a spray bottle with water nearby to keep the fabric moist.

After I'm happy with the painting job, I add masks. These can be botanicals, stencils, lace, wood cutouts, or whatever you'd like to use to make a design on this fabric.  (I've tried using plastic ferns and they don't work. First of all, they won't lay flat on the fabric. I tried putting a piece of glass over them to keep them down and that did not work at all!!) Whatever you are using as a mask needs to be able to be flat on the fabric so it blocks out the sun.

As I put my ferns down, I use a little more paint to help them adher to the fabric.





After I'm done with the placement of the masks,  I check to see that the ferns are flat on the fabric.  I usually help that process with with a little spray from my water bottle. If the ferns or whatever you are using aren't flush against the fabric, you won't get a really clean print. 




Once I'm happy with my design,  it's time for the sun to do it's thing.

Left: textile paints; Right: Screen printing inks

Now is the hardest part - waiting for the fabric to dry!

I'll be back tomorrow with the results.

5 comments:


  1. Funny project, and well explained. I'm curious about the result. What kind of fabric did you use?

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  2. I hate to wait... let's see the results :)

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  4. Eke, the first piece I sun printed several years ago was on muslin. The new pieces are on pfd white fabric. I dye a lot of fabric so use what I have. It's 100% cotton. However, You can use any fabric. Of course, light or white color is best.

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  5. can't wait to see the results. I have the speedball inks...never thought about using them!!

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