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, February 26, 2011


It is Saturday and I was just minding my own business washing out some of my newly dyed fabrics.Threw in two color catchers into washer. Took out the color catchers and threw the fabric in the dryer. Ironed the fabric and the color catchers. That is where all normality stopped. I am working on a design that requires rocks on the bottom of a stream. I really didn't know what I was going to use. WELL, I took one look at the color catchers (that came out a nice charcoal grey) and thought "that kinda looks like rocks, kinda".

That was when the Dyeing powers that be took my mind and body over. I started to think, "color catchers, dyes, color catchers, dyes". So then I dyed two color catchers with Havana Brown. Then I dyed two color catchers with my husbands coffee. I then poured some of the Havana Brown into the coffee.

All this looked very nice but now quite what I wanted. SOOO, I began to wonder what would happen if I put the catchers in a soda ash solution and then sprinkled with straight dye powder. The first thing that happened was the two charcoal grey catchers turned kind of a moss green when put in the soda ash solution. (??? who knew). But I was in a trance and had to keep going. So I put all my catchers on a plastic tablecloth and proceeded to sprinkle dye powder in little areas. (Oh course, all rigged up with mask and gloves.)

The powers that be were not quite done with me yet. The Havana Brown catchers were almost black and that would not do. Again I began to think, "black, dark.......bleach!!!!" I got out a spray bottle and proceeded to put bleach in and spritzed the dark catchers. Hmm..... wonder what the spray would do to the others. I could not stop my hand as they lightly spritzed the other ones.

Well, here is what happened. (Snicker!!)

Last but not least is the clean up color catcher. I plan on using this for rocks that have mottled light on them.

I know it is not my turn for a technique, but, I was so excited I wanted to share it with everyone.

I guess I am sort of back normal (as normal as I get) and my stomach tells me it is almost 1:30pm and I have not had my lunch. Thank all of you for letting me share. After all is was not my fault ;o)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Finally...a Little Time to Work on My Soy Wax Batik

I have been busy working on a wall quilt that has to be finished and photographed before March 9th. It is to a point now that I think I can actually get it finished, so I decided tonight was the night to work on some of my soy wax batik pieces. I have several fabrics waxed but haven't had time to dye or paint them. I only had time to do a couple of pieces tonight.

I really don't have anything new to add to what everyone else has said about working with soy wax. I thought it was pretty easy. The only thing I might mention is that I used a sponge to put some wax on the fabric. It soaked up a "ton" of wax, and it also put a lot of wax down onto the fabric. Maybe I should have squeezed it out a bit more before putting it on my fabric? I can tell you that the sponge is REALLY stiff with dried wax right now!

Here are the before and after pics of the couple of fabrics I got to do tonight.

This first fabric was a commercial piece of fabric with a pattern. I just put wax circles on it.
This is the same fabric with a chocolate brown paint added. I used quite a bit of extender with the paint to make it more transparent. I like the pattern within the circles left from the commercial fabric. 
This was a piece of that ugly orange fabric that I worked with last month. I used the shibori technique on it and just didn't like it at all. This is the piece with the wax applied. I didn't really uses a pattern when applying the wax (as you can easily see).
 Oooooo, I like it much better with the blue added.
I did crackle the wax a bit before adding the paint.

I have several other pieces that are ready for paint or dye. I really want to dye and over dye some of those pieces. I just didn't have time to do that this month.

Hopefully, I'll have a little more time next month to play with the inks I have ordered (although I have trips to New York and Chicago planned). I'm trying to find some clear aloe vera gel to use with the inks, but I had no luck with that today. I can only find blue or green gel. Anyone have any idea where to find the clear gel? I looked at Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Dollar General, Dollar Store, my local grocery store, and Big Lots.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not the last of my batik

I have found out this month that I really like batik.  A co-worker hired me to dye some onesies for her.  I parfait dyed them and then batiked and overdyed a few. Co-worker loves them.

Another use of Ink in surface design

I was checking out YouTube for anything having to do with surface design and inks.  I came across this video.

Final Batik for the month

I worked on some batik again over the weekend, but my camera batteries died and I wasn't able to get more til yesterday. Therefore, only tools & end products here.
This tool was an old mouse pad, cut into 3 circles, then glued with E6000 glue to some hard foam from a computer shipping box.

Circles were made with a variety of items:

Then, the piece was rewaxed using this gridded sink mat and re-dyed:

These were metal things I found at a hardware store a while ago. I tried to glue them to the foam, using E-6000 glue, but they only held for about 3 dips into the wax before it all fell apart. I've tried to glue these same things to a piece of wood, too, but they fell off that, too.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

2-layer batiks and tjanting drops

Letting loose and just playing in a struggle for me, almost counter-intuitive.  Plus there's the old Yankee imperative of not 'wasting' which impedes the open creativeness to really play with fibers and materials to see what they'll do.  However, with the help of my friends I'm working on a recovery program!  lol

Here I've laid in a flower pattern with a heart-shaped whisk (who knew there were so many whisk patterns?), then allowed the wax to drop in random places, with little strings of the wax here and there.  I had first sponged on some pale blue and purple, then waxed, then sponged on heavier, darker purple.  I like the contrast of the light blue and the dark purple.
Here I waxed in circles on the white silk using various sizes of cardboard tubes from paper towels and T-paper.  The whole piece was then painted a bright green, allowed to dry, then waxed with a stamp made to look like a Chinese chop.  The stamp was made by cutting pieces of those styrofoam trays that come with various meats and veggies from the grocery store.  The tiny pieces are then glued to a small piece of 1" wood to make a stamp.
The whole fabric was then painted with black, then ironed to remove the wax.  I wish that I had used more variation in tone when painting on the green layer, because I really like the few places where the color play is light-to-dark.


A giant wire hand was used on this piece as well as a spiral whisk and a tjanting for the drops.  It has one layer of purple/blue paint.   I made this for my husband who's a hand therapist.

Silk painters

Silk Sisters

Friday, February 18, 2011

March Guest Blogger

In February Beth was lovely enough to give you a tutorial for batiking.  I, however, have never used inks. What to do????   Then Karen Silvers of  A Creative K left a comment on my post announcing inks for March saying she wanted to do MORE of them.  MORE?  To me that meant she has done some already.  Goody! 

I asked.  She accepted.  Karen Silvers will be a guest blogger on March 1 to show you what she has learned about inks and to show you some examples of what she has done.  Stay tuned!

One last batik before the fat lady sings

These two shirts were in the rag bag. They were beige and mint green (what was I thinking) linen. Nice shirt but pukey colors. I was going to get some shirts from Goodwill but found these while purging my studio during the re-design of my space.
I was going to do a two color dye but ended up liking these colors so I stopped here. The first one was beige and was dyed dark navy.

This next one was mint green. I was going for a nice deep green but it ended up this color. I may over dye it in the future but mean while, I kind of like this eye popping color.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Batiks for spring

I used some nested Wilton cookie cutters I found at Walmart for these flowers. After waxing the flower shapes, I painted with dye/soda solution, then removed the wax, and dyed the whole piece in a light periwinkle color to get rid of the stark white outlines. (Note: I just modified this posting to include a picture of the cookie cutters, which I forgot to add earlier).

And here's a potato masher batik piece that I painted with fuchsia & green, then removed the wax and overdyed in khaki to get rid of those stark white outlines.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Waxing on silk

Here are some pieces that I did in silk a little while ago.  I apologize for not taking process photos along with the finished fabric.

This first piece is silk organza.  I had used a plastic lace doily beneath the fabric and rubbed a block of soy wax over the surface, trying to capture its lovely laciness (is that a word?).  What I found was that the organza was too loosely woven to truly capture the image of the lace.  But I didn't find that out until after ironing the wax out of the piece.  This is sponge painted with Setasilk paints. 

Here I've used one of those springy whisks to stamp molten wax into a random pattern on habotai silk.  Depending on the amount of wax on the whisk, the circles were thick to begin with, getting finer and fainter with each press.  Painted with SetaSilk.

Here's another piece done with the springy whisk.  I purposely used a heavy load of wax (and I think perhaps it was a bit cooler because I had just added additional wax to the molten wax in the pan).  I kind of like the blobby images with their little nubs.  This is also habotai painted with SetaSilk using my favorite brush:  a sponge.

All in all, I have to say I just LOVE silk.  What a difference from cotton, so glossy and slinky.  Yum!

March's Technique

As I was debating what technique to choose for March, I read a recent post by Terri Stegmiller that made up my mind.  In March we are going to try using  artists inks.  I have long wondered at the difference between inks, dyes, and paints.   So, here is everything I know about the inks and I hope that, with your help, I will learn much more during March.

First, here is a link to the product information for the type of inks that Terri Stegmiller used.  It includes a description of the inks, color charts, and a couple of PDF guides of projects on watercolor paper. There are of course other kinds of inks.  Judy Coates Perez uses these inks.

Suzan Engler did some tests with theliquid acrylic inks and wrote about it here.  I can see Rosalita trying this particular way of using the inks.

 Here is Terri Stegmiller's description of the inks and here is the tutorial and finished project from her that incorporated a zentangle technique with a gel pen.  It is another way to use the inks.

Here is a third way of using the inks and mixes them with aloe vera gel.  I had read of this method before from the Quilt Rat  with her outstanding doodles.  Quilting Arts also has instructions from Judy Coates Perez for gel ink painting. And here is another blog that tells you how to get the same type of results without using the gel.

Okay, I have told you  all that I almost know about using inks with fabric surface design.  I have my supplies ordered and look forward to experimenting. But first, I have some more shibori and batik techniques I want to attempt and show the you results--good or bad!

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Bad

Better Late Then Never (I hope)

“Happy Valentine’s Day”

I did not post any Shibori in January so thought I would show what I did.

The first piece is Charmeuse Silk wound on a rope and scrunched and dyed.

Then because it lacked pizazz.........

I thought it looked like fish, so painted some on.

The next piece of Shibori is done by folding fabic in half and sewing by hand half circles at the fold and getting bigger and bigger. Each round starts with a knot. The end is left long and cut. At the end, you pull all stings tight and tie off. Dye. One section did not turn out the same as the rest????

Now for the batik by stamping waxed items on fabric, dyeing, and ironing out.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Foam Rubber as a stamp

Here are some examples of a batch of heavy cotton that were stamped using a wonderful sheet of packing foam rubber that had several different designs on it.  The foam was cut apart and, since it was fairly thick, was used as individual stamps without being glued to a support.  Interestingly, the foam did not absorb the wax very much and freely released it onto the fabric.

These pieces were all painted with Setacolor paint using sponges.  The red piece was folded in 4, then stamped, unfolded and painted.  

I have no idea where my friend got this foam, but I'd sure like to find out!  lol

Friday, February 11, 2011

Another Kind of Batik

I enjoy an easy method of batik called the paint on method. This method has few steps and allows for great variations of color and shade without having to master the complicated blending of successive layers of color. I paint on both cotton and silk using the Serti method. Both techniques are done basically the same. Wax is applied to outlines and any portion of the design that are to remain white later. Dye or paint is then applied in many colors to areas inside the waxed design, allowed to set and then the fabric is washed and dried.

According to what you use, i.e., paints or dyes, you may have to steam the finished product or just heat set the piece. I prefer to use Setasilk paints that only need heat setting.

Here are two pieces I am currently working on. The first one is on Charmeuse silk and the second one is on Southern Belle 100% cotton. The last piece is finished and is on Southern Belle 100% cotton.

This piece now has color on the bird's heads and a pale yellow background. I will hand embroider the background with light yellow and light orange silk thread.

This piece is also in process. Now the fun part of shading and enhancing colors come. Yeah!! This is a large piece that measures 30" x 45".

This piece is done with a hanging sleeve on the back.

Later I will post my shibori and the batik scarf I did with the original batik technique.


P.S. Please excuse the shift in print, I have not mastered that yet.

Hello Everyone

I am sorry I have not posted anything on our blog yet. I can come up with a dozen "excuses" but now that I think real hard about it, none seem valid. I did try the shibori and will post those pictures along with my batik pictures as soon as I can figure out how to add the pictures. Soon I hope.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Batik again

Who would have thought that an egg carton would make a good tool for applying wax resist?

This is what the design looks like after dipping it into the wax and stamping on fabric. The fabric was dyed with grape dye powder.

Here is the "weird kitchen tool" I used, it's kind of like a half-moon flipper.

After dyeing this piece in rust orange, then removing the wax, I dyed it again in a warm yellow/fuchsia mixture. Which turned out to be a little too much like the original orange I used--but this piece definitely has some possibilities.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Where did the weekend go??? I didn't get started on any batik until late Sunday afternoon, first I waxed some large leaf designs on a piece of fabric that was around 18" x 44.
Then I stretched the fabric over a large box, pinned it in place with push pins, and took it outside to paint. Which I could do because it was in the 50s and sunny.

The leaves are painted with avacado and the background blue is sky blue. Had to keep moving the fabric down and repinning it.

Here it is all painted--I went inside to get a large garbage bag the cover this so it didn't dry too quickly in the sun, and by the time I got back outside, it had blown across the lawn because it was kind of windy. The blue and green blended by rolling across the lawn, which I didn't really want to happen.

I left it overnight, will have to work on it again tonight after work.

I also had time to wax another small piece, this was done with a weird kitchen tool that I got at the Goodwill store. I mixed up a little rust orange dye, then left this overnight. Rinsed it out this morning--think I might dye this again in a warm yellow after I remove the wax.