Monday, August 18, 2008

Easy Fabric Printing Tutorial

My garden shed project is continuing. I've had an idea in my head for fabric for the cushions for a couple years now. I wanted something bold that would stand out from afar. I also wanted something cheap. I decided to print my own using a printing technique I have used in the past on the walls of our living room and hallway. I thought it would be a fun summer project that Julia might like to help out with. Although she wasn't too into helping, she likes how the fabric turned out.

Here's the stamped faux wallpaper in the stairwell in our house.


I started with a drop cloth for painting that I found at the hardware store. It's canvas, heavy duty and I knew it would be absorbent. And the price was right - $10 for 5 yards. I washed and dried it to get out any impurities. Then I cut the fabric into the size I needed. I ironed the canvas using lots of steam to try to get out many of the wrinkles.


The cushions are going to be outdoors and will eventually fade and mildew. I didn't want to invest too much in expensive fabric considering the cushion covers will probably be tossed in a couple of years.

Here's how I printed the fabric:

Step 1: I drew out some of the flowers on white paper and traced the design on the fun foam. This is the fun foam that is really easy to find in craft stores and sometimes at drugstores. If you can find the fun foam with an adhesive back, use it. You'll save some gluing and drying time.


Step 2: I cut out the shapes from the foam. Kids fun foam is really easy to cut. You can get much more intricate than my shapes. I was going for bold and bright so I kept my flowers simple.


Step 3: I glued the fun foam flower shapes to grayboard insulation I had hanging around the house. With a sharp knife, I cut around the shape. Grayboard is very brittle and easy to use - you just need to slice through it about 1/2" and the shape will snap off.


Step 4: Keeping in the frugal vein of the project, I decided to use latex paint I had hanging around my paint closet. If you've seen photos of my house, you can imagine how many cans of leftover paint there are in that closet! I also mixed up some colors I was missing by mixing acrylic tube paints with the latex.

Although I'm not sure how durable, etc. the latex paint will be on the canvas, I figured I would keep things simple. The cushions probably won't last more than a couple of years outdoors. If I were to do this fabric printing project for an interior application, I would use Jacquard's fabric paints which give a nice soft hand to the finished fabric. But since I was being frugal, not this time!

Using a foam brush, I neatly painted the flower stamp with the latex paint. I flipped the painted stamp onto the fabric and pushed neatly and firmly all over the grayboard insulation so that the design would transfer to the fabric.


Here's the first flower on the canvas:


Step 6: I printed many of the flowers all over my canvas leaving lots of white space between the flower shapes.


As you can see, I got bored with just one flower shape and color and by the second piece of cloth, I added a few more flower stamps. I printed the different shapes in different colors.

Step 7: With different shades of green paint and many different leaf stamps, I added a bunch of leaves to the flowers.




Using a wine cork, I stamped centers into some flowers.

Here's all the stamps I used for this fabric printing project.


Here are some photos of details of the fabric. I love how this technique turns out - nothing is quite perfect. The texture of the canvas shows through. Where the leaves overlap the flowers, the colors mix and look really interesting and handmade.


Here are the two patterns I developed for the two orange wicker chairs that live on the porch of the garden shed.


I love how my fabric turned out - bold, cheerful, and summery. I've got to sew the cushions now and get a good photo of the chairs for you all. I've also got a second pattern I'm working on for two other outdoor chairs that I'll share as soon as I can get them finished and photographed.

I originally learned about fabric printing with foam from my friend Lisa Curry Mair who makes traditional canvas floorcloths in Vermont. Lisa uses foam printing on many of her floorcloths. She also wrote a great book called Floor Cloth Magic. On Lisa's Canvasworks website, she has a movie showing all the steps of making a floor cloth which is really helpful.

25 comments:

Kat said...

Thanks for the info. I just love your faux wallpaper. How did you attach it to the wall?

brsmaryland said...

Wow...that fabric is really nice. I'm enjoying your shed project. You've motivated me to rehab an old wicker rocker, that used to belong to my great grandmother. Thanks for being so generous with your ideas.

bensedin art said...

Great tutorial and idea!

Sojourner Design said...

Thank you for sharing the details about how you printed that wonderful fabric. Wow, latex paint!

caliconurse said...

That is so awesome!!! I'm so inspired! I too would like to know how you attached to wall covering. Wallpaper paste?

Anonymous said...

WOW - beautiful

Turtle said...

very cool and fun , funky! love them!

Nik said...

That is really cute. I'm not surprised at your color choice. Your knitting designs are always so colorful.

anmiryam said...

Come do my house please! Your creativity is inspirational!

kate said...

very cute!

Lisa said...

Thanks Kristin! These designs are GREAT! And you know how terrific they'd be as floorcloths too! Just stamp them on one of our (Canvasworks) prepared floorcloth blanks and finish them with a few coats of poly and your set for many, many years!

ColorJoy LynnH said...

I have painting jeans from about 1974, where the painted fabric is stronger than the unpainted. The paint has not faded at all. Your paints will do well, for sure.

I use that sort of foam a lot but never tried it for paint printing. I bet it covers better than carved erasers. Must try that!!!

LynnH... in Lansing, MI, where it was hot and summery yesteray and chilly (20+ degrees lower) and autumnal today. I miss summer already!

Lorie M. said...

wow, as a quilter and a knitter, I think the fabric companies may come knocking! And I get about as much help from my daughter as well..she too, likes the outcome, not necesarily the process! Hey, my paint cans have become sculpture :-)

Linda said...

Thank you for the tutorial. Your fabrics are so lively and beautiful. I also love the orange-grey combination in your shed. Beautiful--just a wealth of creativity here!!

Cotyledon Creative said...

Thanks for an inspiring tutorial and for sharing the beautiful results. I also like how you explain your creative process. It makes the project seem so much more doable for a beginner.

sheila said...

Orange and grey. Wow! I'd forgotten how much I enjoy orange. Thanks for the inspiration.

Mrs. Staggs said...

Kristin, your fabric is beautiful! It's going to look so pretty with your wonderful "new" chairs, which I love against the weathered wood of your shed. Your lovely ideas always leave me inspired. Especially, your love of colors that I don't see too very often these days.

leslie said...

great tutorial, thanks so much! i just got lena corwins book on printing too. thank you for showing your pretty fabric, it really inspires me to make my own.

bernie said...

That is absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing how to make it too. I've been so busy I haven't commented in a while, but I still try to read your entries. The pictures are always so lovely.

Becky said...

This is wonderful! I am thinking of all kinds of ideas. I think my boys would even get a kick out of doing something like this. We need to update the tapestry above the mantle. I may be able to do an original canvas. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ginger said...

Wonderful tutorial well done, my friend! Now i need to go buy favric so i can make a canvas floorcloths.Need new pillows for the fall apples ,sunflower,pumpkins oh am dreaming now thank you so much!
hugs ginger

SuzyQ said...

Wow!
These look great and so much fun to do :0)
You have a beautiful blog.
Suzy

JesPlayin said...

wow, this is so awesome. I googled about using interior latex to stamp, and there your post was. I'm going to use my stamped canvas dropcloth to slipcover my couch, and wanted to know if it had been done before (with latex paint)...good to know it has. Thanks for the info.

Mel M. M. McCarthy said...

Gorgeous work! I love your pointers and how artistic your homemade stamps are. Stunning results! :O)

vrinda kumar said...

hi dis is vrinda........ its realy vry enjoyable thing for me. its realy awesome. n good idea.... i am vry much creative so dats y i enjoy to do these kind of things.good to knw . thanks for the information.