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 27, 2014

"Pop" Art Experiment

Since most of us in the US are recovering from a turkey hangover, I thought I would just play for today and let you guys be my guinea pigs.

This summer Wil and I experimented with REAL egg shells (we had a lot of scrambled egg breakfasts for several days!) with paint inside. Then we threw the paint eggs at a canvas. Found out that I am one of those who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn....but....I do have a very artful driveway!

Anyway, that got me thinking and one thing led to another and I thought about balloons as a vehicle for color. Wanted to try it out before it snowed but most of you know how that goes sometimes. Life just doesn't cooperate!

So, I'm not coming to you today as an "expert" in this technique but more to discover together just what might happen if.......You are going to get to see the first experiments and then at the end I will tell you what I'm thinking is the next step. AND...I hope you guys will chime in with YOUR ideas as well!

*******This is a messy (but fun!) technique for dyeing so you WILL want to wear clothing you don't mind getting dye splattered.

"Pop" Art Experiment

fabric prepared to be dyed
dyes of your chosen colors (mixed and ready to go)
small funnel
straight pin
trays (optional)
metal grids (optional)

First I started out with pre-dyed fabrics that were rather plain though. I soaked them in soda ash to prep them for the experiment.

NOTE: You will want to do the next step over the sink!

After I mixed the dye, I got out my balloons and a small funnel.

 I poured the dye in through the funnel. Being over the sink is necessary because one balloon already had pin hole in it and leaked the minute I poured in the dye. I also blew them up and tied them over the sink...just in case. Here is the balloon with the dye inside.

I wanted to do the first experiment with a white fabric to better see how the dye fell when the balloon was popped. I put all my fabrics on trays 1) it is quicker to lay them out and 2) it is very cold here today and I wanted to get outside and back in very quickly!!

Here is the result. I popped the balloon about 2 feet above the fabric. I think next time I'll go for more altitude.

Now to pop the dye over the hand-dyed fabrics. I placed them on metal mesh and racks this time to keep them from sitting in the dye after it splashed. Then onto the trays and outside we go with fabrics and balloons all ready. My husband (who is a dear to go out in 4F degrees to take photos for me) manned the camera.

I placed them closer together to take advantage of any over-splashing. That might not be the look you want but you can certainly put them farther apart or only do one at a time. Then hold the dye balloon over the fabric (I used mixing blue, cayman island green and grape)

For these I held the balloon about 3 or so feet above the fabrics.

Now we run very quickly indoors before the fabric freezes!!!.........

And here are the wet results.

Next into the batching closet for the required time. The hardest part.....the waiting.......

After hours passed. I rinsed, dried and ironed the fabrics.

These two are not interesting at all. Only in one little corner was there something happening.  Too much dye in one place.

These are better. The one on the right is my favorite. But the closeup of the one on the left shows some interesting patterns.

My next plan will be to use smaller balloons with less dye in it to get smaller areas of dye with each one. 

So....what do you think of "Pop" Art? I'd LOVE to hear any ideas or tweaks you come up with. It's so much fun to learn and discover together!!


  1. Love this! We have not tried throwing the eggs with dye, only with paint. I see another experiment coming in February :-))

  2. Many years ago when I was doing out side exhibitions. The place I was going to show was all dirt. I bought a canvas drop cloth to sort of fit my space, got out all my acyclic paints, some old house painting brushes, not to big and started dipping them in the paint and flinging it on the canvas which was laying in the yard on some rocks. I went through all the old paint, and this could be done with house paint also. But how about doing it with fabric paint on the hand dyed fabrics.. another out side project! The customers were more interested in my "floor" and how I did that, than at my Art! Since I am not doing those types of shows, I should cut it up and use it for other projects. Have fun, and try to stay warm..

  3. Wil - Absolutely! If you are up for more scrambled egg breakfasts!!
    Vivian - oh that sounds like so much fun! I agree...the cut up pieces would make some great additions to an art work!


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