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Lynn Krawczyk of Smudged Textiles Studio has a new book out with Interweave and F+W Media, Intentional Printing. The book is a great beginner’s guide to printing on fabric, featuring 11 techniques like screen-printing, drop cloth printing and stamping. There are also multiple projects in the book so you can use your printed fabric to make something unique and meaningful.
Lynn shares her expertise below with helpful tips for adding writing to your fabric. Just think of the possibilities! You can also win a copy of Intentional Printing with your comment on today’s post. (U.S. residents only this time please.) Tell us what you’d write on fabric to include in your next project! Would you make up your own special quilt tag? Would you write a letter of love to your kiddo? Is there a favorite quote you’d want to incorporate into your work?
Enjoy Lynn’s ideas about How to Add Writing to Fabric, and be sure to comment for your chance to win a copy of Intentional Printing.
Handwriting and art– the two things that are inherently unique to each person. No two people will have the same writing and no two people will produce the same art, even if they are taught the same techniques. This makes being an artist something very special.
I often incorporate my handwriting into the work that I make because it leaves an undeniable mark of my personal vision. It’s a very easy way to make it stand out from others.
What do I write? Here’s the cool part… Whatever comes to mind! The point of paint writing isn’t always about making sure that the text is legible. It’s about movement, it’s about adding a bit of mystery. You can certainly focus on making the writing front and center but you don’t need to. It can add a beautiful abstraction to your work that draws people in for a closer look.
As a surface design artist obsessed with adding pattern to fabric, it was pretty exciting to realize that something I’ve been doing my whole life could be used in my artwork. I work primarily with paint and wanted to stick with that medium. It turns out that with a little practice, you can paint write on your artwork with minimal tools and fuss!
Here is what you need to “paint write” on fabric:
1. Fabric: I like working on my own hand dyes or commercial solids. Any type of fabric will do.
2. Paint: If you are working on fabric, use textile paint (there is more of an explanation below). But if you are working on something that won’t get washed or stitched on, any type of acrylic paint will do.
3. Squeeze Botttles: I use these 2 oz. squeeze bottles. They are soft so your hands don’t get tired when you work on larger projects.
4. A Print Surface: Paint will often seep through fabric. It’s a sneaky little bugger. Make sure that your table is protected. A heavier piece of fabric, like canvas, beneath what you are printing on works really well. Iron it well so that there aren’t any odd bumps that can interfere with your paint writing.
And here are my best tips for writing on fabric with paint:
1. Practice first! Have some scrap fabric on hand to try out the technique until it feels comfortable.
2. Use paint that has a medium viscosity. By that I mean it’s not too thick and it’s not too thin. If the paint is too thick, it will be difficult to squeeze out of the bottle and it’ll create huge blobs. If the paint is too thin, it will bleed and the writing will look super sloppy. The average craft paint works well.
3. If you are working on fabric like I do and want to stitch your work, use a textile paint. Textile paint has a medium in it that helps reduce the amount of stiffness it adds to the fabric. My go-to brand is Jacquard Textile or Jacquard Neopaque fabric paint. The Textile type is more transparent and the Neopaque type is more solid which makes it good for working on dark fabrics. They also make a metallic called Lumeire that is very nice for adding a touch of shimmer. (I talk extensively about fabric paint in the book, lot of details there to help you choose the one that is right for your project.)
4. Use steady pressure when squeezing the bottle. This will help prevent air bubbles from forming. These can cause splatters mid writing.
5. Lightly touch the surface of the fabric; don’t press hard. You want to give the paint a chance to contact the fabric but not scrape it.
6. If you have trouble with your fabric moving when you are trying to write on it, you could be pressing too hard. Try using less pressure. You can also tape down the corners with masking tape to keep it in place.
What kind of projects can you make with this technique? Anything. I mean it… Anything. It can be used on celebration banners, tote bags, t-shirts and collages. The sky’s the limit! Give it a shot; I know you’ll love it just as much as I do!