When I first began to quilt in 2004, painting on quilts was not as common as it is today. Now when you go to a show many of the quilts, even traditional quilts, may have touches of paints or be whole cloth quilts with paints. At that time, I somewhat arrogantly thought I would never use paint on any of my quilts, but over time I realized a little bit of paint can make a really big difference in the outcome of the pictorial quilts I like to make. Over the past few years I have used paints on most of my quilts, even if it is only to add high or low lights. I think it was Sharon Schamber’s Quilt Fairy video class that convinced me to try using some paints.
So once I started using them, I discovered that the many types of paints, dyes, and inks for fabric painting all have different results. These differing results can at once be confusing and useful for the fabric artist. I am constantly learning on this topic, and in no way consider myself a true expert, but thought I’d share what I have found useful for my own stash that I have collected over the years. There are a lot of them out there and I certainly haven’t tried them all, but these are in my stash and give me a pretty complete coverage of things I want to do with my own fabric art.
- Shiva Oil Paint Sticks: These are particularly nice for adding shading, highlighting and lowlighting on cotton quilts and for making well-blended coloration. Once heat set they are washable. I don’t know how often you could wash it, but at least twice (I used cold water and woolite), and that’s enough to get the quilt made and properly blocked.
- Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens: I use these frequently for many purposes. I wrote to the company and they do not claim these are for fabrics, but I have found them successfully remaining on both prepared for dye cotton and silk after heat setting through one cold water wash with Woolite. I have not tried more than that, but that is sufficient to remove markings and block a quilt. I used them to color silk appliques for Canterbury Knight, cover small imperfections in thread work, and add depth to thread paintings. They are great for when your machine embroidery leaves a small space between the outline and the fill work, skips a line of stitches, and if you have just the right color. I note that Nancy Zieman uses Sharpies on her landscape quilts, and I think they would probably work fine for the same purposes. I like the Artist Pens, though, because the tips are fine and their are a lot of colors, but I have a set of Sharpie colored markers.
- Setacolor and Jacquard Lumiere fabric paints: I use these extensively when I quilt first and then paint. I lump them together because I use them together interchangeably. The Setacolor seem a little thinner than the Jacquard, which I like. I have found they are permanent once dry and heat set at least through one washing for both silk and cotton. The Setacolor Glitter finish I did not wash, but put on the quilts after they were blocked and heat set them. They add a lot of beauty for just the right thing.
- Then there is my newest discovery, thanks to Kathy McNeil, Fabric paint crayons, which I have just begun playing with and have not tested them for washing, but Kathy says they are permanent once heat set, and she certainly should know. I find these are really great for adding low and high lights in particular…for instance darkening one side of a tree trunk to give it a sense of depth and establish where the light is coming from, giving the sky and sea depth. You can use these crayons like water colors too, and that’s really fun. I have plans for these, but don’t have any quilt to show you just yet. Anyway, here’s a video of her using them: Painting on Fabrics
- Inktense Pencils: I tried using these a couple of times. For me, and perhaps I wasn’t using them right, they tended to change the hand of the fabric a little more than I liked, giving a slightly rough feel, but you can get a very crisp edge or blend them easily. I used an aloevera gel for the medium with them. I do know a lot of fabric artists use these with success. I did find a large number of tutorial videos on you tube, and here is one link showing painting on silk and another fairly complete video on using them and Shiva oil sticks too.
- Jacquard Procion MX Dyes: I just got some of these and haven’t tried them yet. I know that Hollis Chatelain uses these for most of her fabric painting.
Sew there you have it…what I have in my ever growing paint stash. That reminds me, I need to replace some of the Setacolors that I used up recently. LOL
Sew happy everyone. A spot of paint on your quilts may be just the thing to accomplish a look you have not been able to achieve otherwise.
A NOTE: Rather than shutting down comments like I said I would, I found a new security software for this blog and hope it will do the job. I still haven’t added back the subscribe to button, but might in the future.