No 60 – Series: Fabric Painting Techniques – WET & DRY TECHNIQUES – Experimenting with salt

How to use ROCK SALT to create special painting effects on wet fabric

Dear friends of Your Colourful Mind,

Painting on wet fabric offers many different opportunities which are not available when working on dry fabric.

The last two posts discussed some of the special characteristics of wet fabric painting techniques:
  • Paint application tools such as paint brushes, foam brushes and the many other objects which help us to apply the paint on the fabric, have different effects and create other results when used on wet instead of dry fabric. (see Post 58)
  • The paint colour-bleeding process on wet fabric needs some time to really show its effects. But as soon as the paint and the fabric are completely dry, we realize that on wet fabric the paint develops its own life. It doesn’t just stay where it was applied but moves into neighbouring areas on the fabric. (see Post 59)

We can assume that further specialties of wet techniques will show up as soon as we continue our painting experiments on wet fabric.

Before we do so, we briefly come back to an insight we made during recent projects:

Fabric painting doesn’t have to be an expensive activity.

Not everything we use for our painting projects has to be bought in a craft shop. We just need to look around us to find new and creative tools and objects.

The nature around us can deliver painting objects which we experienced when we used leaves as stamps in one of our recent projects (see Post 53).

And our kitchen actually can become a great supplier of fabric painting equipment, as we saw already when we did some nature printing on dry fabric, with fruit and vegetable stamps. (see Post 49 and Post 56)

Now, for our next wet fabric project, we go back into the kitchen and this time get some salt which should assist us to create special painting effects.

Using salt to create special effects – A painting method which only works on wet fabric.

Example 1

fabric painting techniques - apron - wet - sprinkling salt on wet painted fabric
post 60 – fabric painting techniques – apron – wet – sprinkling salt on wet painted fabric

I used a foam brush to apply transparent paint onto an apron which I had sprayed wet before. Then I sprinkled salt on some parts of the painted areas. First, it didn’t have any effects.

fabric painting techniques - apron - wet - sprinkling salt on wet painted fabric - zoomed
post 60 – fabric painting techniques – apron – wet – sprinkling salt on wet painted fabric – zoomed

But, as this zoomed picture of a smaller part of the apron shows, then the salt started to pull the water out of the fabric, leaving little stronger coloured dots.

Example 2

fabric painting techniques - green apron - wet - sprinkling salt on wet spray-painted fabric - zoomed
post 60 – fabric painting techniques – green apron – wet – sprinkling salt on wet spray-painted fabric – zoomed

I took another apron and sprayed it wet again.  Then I sprayed it with green and pink fabric spray paint. Finally, when the fabric and the paint were still wet, I placed some rock salts in a small area of the apron.

fabric painting techniques - green apron - wet - sprinkling salt on wet spray-painted fabric
post 60 – fabric painting techniques – green apron – wet – sprinkling salt on wet spray-painted fabric

This image of the apron shows that the sprinkles caused by the salt are not so easy to see. The effect might have been bigger if I had spread on a thicker layer of paint.

Example 3

fabric painting techniques - t-shirt - wet - sprinkling salt on wet painted areas - zoomed
post 60 – fabric painting techniques – t-shirt – wet – sprinkling salt on wet painted areas – zoomed

Here, I sprinkled a little bit of the rock salt on some areas of a still wet t-shirt on which I before had applied some fabric paint with a bigger foam brush.

The zoomed image shows that the salt creates little colour dots with stronger coloured edges.

fabric painting techniques - t-shirt - wet - sprinkling salt on wet painted areas
post 60 – fabric painting techniques – t-shirt – wet – sprinkling salt on wet painted areas

 

Summary of results and learning effects:

  • The salt has to be placed on the wet fabric immediately after painting it.
  • The fabric and the paint have still to be quite wet.
  • The water-pulling effects of the salt are better visible on a thicker layer of paint.
  • The salt leaves little dots with strong-coloured edges on the fabric.

In the beginning, things often run into an unexpected and sometimes unwanted direction.

But the projects above demonstrate that and how our try-and-error approach is a good way to bring us further on our learning path.

Over time, we will develop a broad knowledge and understanding of what might happen with our painting ideas under different conditions. 🙂

I am quite excited and looking forward to further experimenting with painting on wet fabric.

Please, share your work with us and send images of it and some background information by email to margot@your-colourful-mind.com.

Don’t forget to sign up to receive new blog posts via email, because this makes sure that you won’t miss any of our future projects.

I wish you a good time,

signature - Margot

 

No 59 – Series: Fabric Painting Techniques – WET & DRY TECHNIQUES – Experimenting with colour-bleeding

Colour-Bleeding on wet fabric takes time!

Dear friends of Your Colourful Mind,

Last time we started some experimenting with painting on dry and wet fabric. We wish to learn more about the differences between wet and dry fabric painting techniques.

Our comparison of the effects of painting application tools on wet and dry fabric (see Post 58) confirmed what we had talked about earlier (Post 54):

The main differences between painting on dry and on wet fabric:

  • We paint on dry fabric if we wish the paint colours to remain intense and exactly at the place on the fabric where we applied them.
  • We paint on wet fabric if we want the colours to get paled or blended or if we wish them to bleed into neighbouring areas on the fabric.

Today we have a closer look at the colour-bleeding process on wet fabric.

We learned already (Post 58) that on wet fabric the paint colours soon after the application start to get paler and that the edges of the painted areas tend to blur.

The following project again compares the differences of painting on dry and wet fabric but focuses on the colour-bleeding process on wet fabric.

I used foam stencil brushes as application tools and three different transparent fabric paints. (Most fabric paints have a transparent consistency: they are thinner than opaque paints but thicker then diluted thin paints.)

fabric painting techniques - apron - half dry - half wet - comparing effects of colour-bleeding - here: supplies
post 59 – fabric painting techniques – apron – half dry – half wet – comparing effects of colour-bleeding – here: supplies

I decided to paint on an apron which I first gave some background colouring:

M0136 - 08-16 - 054a - YCM post 59

The following images concentrate on the paint colour-bleeding process, which took some time.

fabric painting techniques - apron - half dry - half wet - comparing effects of colour-bleeding - here: no bleeding directly after paint application
post 59 – fabric painting techniques – apron – half dry – half wet – comparing effects of colour-bleeding – here: no bleeding directly after paint application

First, no bleeding could be seen, neither on the dry half nor on the wet half of the apron.

But soon the colours on the wet side started to bleed. This process continued slowly and only stopped when the fabric and the paints on it had dried up completely.

fabric painting techniques - apron - half dry - half wet - comparing effects of colour-bleeding - here: final result after 25 hours
post 59 – fabric painting techniques – apron – half dry – half wet – comparing effects of colour-bleeding – here: final result after 25 hours

 

Zooming some areas of the painting makes it easier to see how the bleeding proceeded.

fabric painting techniques - apron - half dry - half wet - comparing effects of colour-bleeding - here: picture zoom directly after paint application
post 59 – fabric painting techniques – apron – half dry – half wet – comparing effects of colour-bleeding – here: picture zoom directly after paint application
fabric painting techniques - apron - half dry - half wet - comparing effects of colour-bleeding - here: picture zoom 25 min after paint application
post 59 – fabric painting techniques – apron – half dry – half wet – comparing effects of colour-bleeding – here: picture zoom 25 min after paint application
fabric painting techniques - apron - half dry - half wet - comparing effects of colour-bleeding - here: picture zoom 25 Hours after paint application - fabric completely dry now
post 59 – fabric painting techniques – apron – half dry – half wet – comparing effects of colour-bleeding – here: picture zoom 25 Hours after paint application – fabric completely dry now

I found it very interesting to observe the bleeding process over time!

At the moment, I don’t yet understand why the bleeding concentrated on just one side of the little stamped dots; thus

It seems that there is a lot to learn and to discover about the effects of wet fabric painting techniques. 🙂

 

Do you already have a better knowledge about wet techniques? Have you done any projects on wet fabric? Please, share your work with us and send images of it and some background information by email to margot@your-colourful-mind.com.

And, if you don’t want to miss out on future project presentations: don’t forget to sign up to receive new blog posts via email.

Have fun! 🙂  🙂  🙂

signature - Margot

No 58 – Series: Fabric Painting Techniques – WET & DRY TECHNIQUES – Experimenting with different paint application tools

How paint application tools deliver different results if used on wet instead of dry fabric

Dear friends of Your Colourful Mind,

Last time we finished our short series on fabric paints. We used

Three posts to study the different types and effects of fabric paint:

  • Fabric paints, Part 1: The different types of fabric paint – Post 52
  • Fabric paints, Part 2: The main characteristics of fabric paints – Post 54
  • Fabric paints, Part 3: Blending and diluting fabric paints – Post 57

 

TODAY we continue what we announced at the end of Post 50 and started in Post 54:

A comparison of wet and dry painting techniques

We plan to use this and some further articles to experiment a bit with different paints and application tools.

The objective is to learn more about how fabric painting results are influenced by the basic technique we choose:

  • a wet technique is applied on wet or dampened fabric with usually thin or diluted paints,
  • a dry technique uses thicker paints on dry fabric.

The main effects of the dryness or the wetness of the fabric:

  • A dry technique is our choice if we wish the paint colours to remain intense and exactly at the place on the fabric where they were applied.
  • A wet technique is applied if we wish the colours to get paled or blended or if we want them to bleed into neighbouring areas.

(Have a look at Post 54  if you are interested in more details.)

Using different fabric paint application tools on dry and on wet fabric

The range of applications tools comprises not only paint brushes or markers or stamps but any object which helps us to get the paint on the fabric.

Example No 1

fabric painting techniques - t-shirt - half dry - half wet - comparing effects of different application tools - here: supplies
post 58 – fabric painting techniques – t-shirt – half dry – half wet – comparing effects of different application tools – here: supplies
abric painting techniques - t-shirt - half dry - half wet - comparing effects of different application tools - here: description of tools
post 58 – fabric painting techniques – t-shirt – half dry – half wet – comparing effects of different application tools – here: description of tools

Here, we used the same application tools (see explanations on left side) on the dry and on the wet side of t-shirt. (Half of it was sprayed wet with a water spray bottle before the paint was applied.)

We can see different effects of the application tools on the wet and the dry side.

This is a zoomed picture of the two t-shirt sleeves.

On both sleeves two different paints were dropped. On the dry side, the colour remains where it was dropped, on the wet sides the paint bleeds and blends with the second colour.

fabric painting techniques - t-shirt - half dry - half wet - comparing effects of different application tools
post 58 – fabric painting techniques – t-shirt – half dry – half wet – comparing effects of different application tools

Example No 2

fabric painting techniques - t-shirt - half dry - half wet - comparing effects of different application tools - here: supplies for red and blue t-shirt
post 58 – fabric painting techniques – t-shirt – half dry – half wet – comparing effects of different application tools – here: supplies for red and blue t-shirt
fabric painting techniques - t-shirt blue and pink - half dry - half wet - comparing effects of different application tools - here: picture with application tools
Post 58 -fabric painting techniques – t-shirt blue and pink – half dry – half wet – comparing effects of different application tools – here: picture with application tools

Again, we can easily see that the application tools all have different effects, depending on whether they were used on the dry or on the wet side of the fabric.

fabric painting techniques - t-shirt - blue and pink - half dry - half wet - comparing effects of different application tools
post 58 – fabric painting techniques – t-shirt – blue and pink – half dry – half wet – comparing effects of different application tools

 

Summary of the results:

Both examples demonstrate that the tools we chose in these projects all can be used on either wet or dry fabric.

But we can also clearly see that the same tools create different effects and results if used on wet instead of dry fabric:

  • On dry fabric the paint remains where we applied it, and the paint’s colour remains intense.
  • On wet fabric the paint tends to bleed and to blend with neighbouring areas/paints. The colours get paler and the edges of the painted areas get blurred.
Next time, we will continue with further experiments on wet and dry fabric.

 

Please, don’t hesitate to share your experiences with wet and/or dry fabric painting techniques. Send pictures and a description of your projects by email: margot@your-colourful-mind.com.

Also, make sure that you don’t miss out on future project presentations:  sign up to receive new blog posts via email.

Take care,

signature - Margot
signature – Margot from Your Colourful Mind

 

 

 

 

No 57 – Series: Fabric Painting Supplies – Fabric paints – Overview, Part 3

Can we mix fabric paints? If yes, – how should we do it?

How can we take care of our paints? And of our painted fabrics/garment?

Dear friends of Your Colourful Mind,

In recent posts we already learnt some useful facts about fabric paints.

Today, we focus on part 3 of the

Three posts to study Fabric Paints:
  • Fabric paints, Part 1: Which types of paint can we use for fabric painting? Which are the differences? – Post 52
  • Fabric paints, Part 2: What’s the relationship between different fabric painting techniques and paints? Which characteristics of fabric paints are especially important? – Post 55
  • Fabric paints, Part 3: Can/Should we mix paints? How can we take care of our paints? And of the painted fabric?TODAY

Can we mix paints to get custom colours?

Most textile paint brands offer a wide variety of colours which in most cases makes mixing unnecessary. But, of course, if custom colours are needed, the ready-made paint colours can be mixed and an infinite number of shades can be produced.

It is not recommended to mix different brands together, since each one is formulated differently.

The colour mixing can be done by pouring colours into a clean plastic cup or palette and then mixing them using a paintbrush or other tool. The lightest colour should be poured first and then slowly darker colour can be added and stirred until the desired shades are show up.

It is better to mix too much than too little colour. If not enough is mixed to finish the project, it might be difficult to replicate a custom colour. If some custom-mixed paint is left, it can be kept and used in another project again.

The same applies to the dilution of paints: diluting paints in a very accurate and replicable way is not easy. Thus, if bigger areas of fabric are being painted or if a diluted paint colour is needed again and again, it makes sense to prepare and keep a bigger amount of diluted paint in a plastic bottle.

Are painted fabrics machine washable?

Nearly all fabric paints and also the textile-medium-acrylic mixtures allow machine washing of the painted fabric, as soon as the paint has been heat-set.

Only a few brands offer paints which don’t need head-fixing. The manufacturer’s directions should be followed.

Those directions usually also inform about how long the paint should be left to dry after the painting and before the fixing process: often several hours, but sometimes even days.

Most instructions demand that the heat-setting has to be done by ironing the fabric with a dry iron, sometimes it is recommended to put the fabrics in a clothes dryer for some time, or fixing of the paint in the oven is possible.

An alternative to the different heat-setting methods is to allow the paint to cure for a long period, such as some weeks, before washing the fabric for the first time.

After the heat-setting the painted fabrics should be washed separately, once. After that, they usually can be machine washed together with other clothes, up to 40° or 60° C.

It is recommended to wash and iron the painted fabric from the reverse: Wash and iron inside out.

How can we take care of the paints?

The paints themselves are sterile, thus if contamination is avoided, they can be kept for years.

For each painting process, the amount of paint needed should be poured on a palette or, if it is planned to dilute it with water, into a container.

Water or medium should never be poured into the paint bottle or jar, also never should brushes or other tools be dipped into the original container.

If paint is left after the painting, it should not be poured back but into another little container with a lid.

This is, at least for the moment, the end of our studies of fabric paints. Do you have any further questions? Please, don’t hesitate to send them in! Fill in the comment-form below or send your email to margot@your-colourful-mind.com.

Make sure that you don’t miss out on future discussions and project presentations:  sign up to receive new blog posts via email.

Have fun with your fabric painting projects, and share images of the results with us  :),

signature - Margot

 

No 55 – Series: Fabric Painting Supplies – Fabric paints – Overview, Part 2

What’s the relationship between fabric painting techniques and different types of paints?

Dear friends of Your Colourful Mind,

In the first part of our posts on fabric paint, we talked about acrylic paints and special fabric paints and discussed their differences.

We still have to go through two further posts of the sequence of

Three posts about Fabric Paints:
  • Fabric paints, Part 1: Which types of paint can we use for fabric painting? Which are the differences? – Post 52
  • Fabric paints, Part 2: What’s the relationship between different fabric painting techniques and different types of paint? Which characteristics of fabric paints are especially important? – TODAY!
  • Fabric paints, Part 3: Can/Should we mix paints? How can we take care of our paints?

Today, we continue studying fabric paints by answering the questions of part 2:

What’s the relationship between different fabric painting techniques and different types of paint? Which characteristics of fabric paints are especially important?

In our broad overview of fabric painting techniques we learned that at the beginning of each fabric painting project we have to decide whether we wish to work with a dry or with a wet technique.

short table referring to fabric paints

 

As this excerpt of our table from post No 50 shows us, the decision has to be made so early because we have to know whether we will create our design on wet or on dry fabric before we can choose the right type of paint.

Different categories of fabric paints

Fabric paints can be differentiated based on their consistency: their degrees of opacity and viscosity determine how we can use and apply a fabric paint.

The range goes from very thin or diluted paints via transparent paints to opaque and usually thick paints.

Thick vs. Thin (viscosity)

  • Thin paints have the consistency of water which makes them malleable and easy to brush or spray onto the fabric.
  • A thinner paint also is softer to the fabric and less stiff after drying.
  • Thin paints are always transparent (but not all transparent paints are thin paints).
  • Transparent paints and even opaque paints – which usually have a thick consistency – can become thin paints when diluted with water.
  • It might need some experimenting to find the right degree of dilution with water for the different painting techniques.
  • Auxiliary mediums such as a fabric medium or a colourless extender can also be used with fabric paints. They make thicker paints more spreadable and extend the working time before the paints dry.
  • Thinner paints may not have the colour-saturation of thicker paints.
  • Thinner paints take longer to dry.
  • Thin paints tend to bleed into the fabric and the colours around them, which makes them perfect for water-colour projects. The disadvantage is that we have little control where thin paint flows, the paint can seep out into areas on the fabric where we don’t want it.
  • For direct painting techniques such as stamping, printing or (freehand) painting, thicker paints are better: they don’t bleed/blend and stay where we applied them. Their disadvantage is that the thickness makes it more difficult to spread the colour evenly over larger areas of fabric.

Transparent vs. Opaque (opacity)

  • Transparent and opaque paint behave differently and their typical characteristics have different effects on the painting results.
  • Most fabric paints are transparent. If the label doesn’t say otherwise, the paint more likely is transparent than opaque.
  • Transparent paints sometimes can have a thicker consistency but usually transparent paints are thinner than opaque paints.
  • The degree of transparency can be increased by transforming thicker transparent into thin(er) paints. (see above)
  • On light-coloured fabrics and on layers of light colour, transparent paints help us to create subtle effects. They don’t cover the colour and shapes beneath, instead they let them shine through.
  • On dark-coloured fabrics or on dark colours, we have to use opaque paint which completely covers the colour beneath. There is no transparency and we can’t see through a layer of paint we have applied onto the fabric.
  • Adding water to opaque paint will not only lighten the colour but also lessen the paint’s opacity. If this is not desired, white colour can be used to lighten the opaque paint.
  • Metallic and pearlescent paints are usually opaque.
  • Although opaque paints can be transformed into thin and transparent paints, they are not suitable for some techniques, e.g. salting or sun printing.

Short summary:

When deciding which type of paint to use, we first have to consider the painting technique and the effects we wish to create.

For example:

  • On dark-coloured fabric we use (thick) opaque paints.
  • On light-coloured fabric we may also use (thinner) transparent paints.
  • We also use transparent paint if the colours or shapes underneath the paint should shine through.
  • If we wish to cover what is underneath we choose opaque paint.
  • A (wet) colourwash technique needs thin paint.
  • Stamping or stencilling should be done with thick paint.
  • etc. 🙂
The best way to understand the relationship between fabric painting techniques and fabric paints is to play around and experiment a lot with different paints.

Of course, in the beginning often the results of our projects might differ from what was on our mind when we started. But each time we learn a lot and the growing experience and knowledge will also increase the fun! 🙂

What about your experiences? Would you like to share some of them? Just fill in the comment-form below or send images of your projects by email to margot@your-colourful-mind.com.

Also, make sure that you don’t miss any design contribution and learning opportunity:  sign up to receive new blog posts via email.

Have fun,

signature - Margot
signature – Margot from Your Colourful Mind

 

 

 

 

Relax creatively!