Thursday

Fabric Medium & Acrylic Paint

 I've been looking into block printing a lot lately after being wildly inspired by Block Shop Textiles. Seriously, check them out. I started researching different printing techniques and materials and discovered a new product! Well, new to me anyway. Textile medium, how could I not know of your existence?! With fabric painting being one of my all time favorite things to do, textile medium is a total game changer. For those of you who were also in the dark on fabric medium, it allows you to turn regular acrylic paint into fabric paint. Which means pretty much limitless color options for way less money, kids. I'm all about it.
 While traditional block printing uses some kind of natural ink or dye and intricately carved wooden blocks, for the less experienced and budget minded folks (like me), the same effect can be achieved with simple homemade stamps and some fabric paint.
 Making The Stamp: I knew I wanted to do a simple triangle pattern. I used a thin sheet of craft foam and cut out 2 identical triangles. I taped the triangles together, just for some added thickness, and then taped the triangle to a wooden block for stability. Obviously, this technique can be adapted for any kind of shape your crafty heart desires.
 The Printing Process: I put a book in between the layers of my shirt to create a hard, smooth service and to prevent the paint from bleeding through to the other side. I decided to do a color gradient of yellow to green. In a cup, I combined 2 parts dark green acrylic paint to 1 part fabric medium and mixed with a paintbrush. I applied a thin, even coat of paint to my stamp and pushed down on both sides of the block to get an even color distribution. I reapplied a coat of paint prior to each stamping. As you can see from the above picture, it's not a perfect process, but I actually like how the stamps are slightly imperfect. It adds character.
 Because I was working on a color gradient, I was able to just continuously mix my color in the same cup by adding paint and fabric medium as I went.
 After the paint dries completely, it must be heat set. I layered a scrap piece of fabric over my design and used a dry iron (no steam!) to go over the painted area for 20 seconds. The textile medium I used suggests waiting to wash the painted material for 7 days after printing, but follow the directions of whatever you use.
 I love how this turned out! I started with something simple because I've never used textile medium before, but it's very easy to use. I have visions of hand printing a scarf or quilt next. Have you ever tried block printing? What materials did you use?