Kitchen Surface Design

Julie B Booth
Surface Design News

Julie B Booth
2012 Class Schedule

November 10
Inspired by Nature: Creative Fabric Designs

December 8-9
A Story In the Making: Creating Story Cloth with Print and Stitch

I recommend this book!

A sweet little book about collecting autumn leaves and using them to create animals. A little bit of science as well including the life cycle of a leaf and a field guide to leaves.

Issue #6


A Personal Note from Julie

October 27, 2012

I love this time of year! The heat and humidity of summer have given way to brisk (sometimes very brisk) mornings warming up to perfect afternoons. The sky is the most brilliant blue and everywhere you look nature is one big exclamation point of color!

It's funny but this time of year also makes me think about being a kid. It really is the beginning of the being a kid season...what with all the big holidays around the corner. The sweets feast is at its start. With October 31 just days away, kids are getting their costumes ready and planning their candy gathering strategy. Here in northern Virginia, the Halloween decorations are at least as numerous and elaborate as those for Christmas.

I love the crazy shapes and textures of these gourds.
When planning this month's project about texture, I couldn't help but think about an old Halloween favorite...sometimes referred to as the touch/feel game. There are a number of variations, but the one I remember is sitting in a circle in the dark, while an adult told a scary story. Bowls of eyeballs, chopped off fingers, teeth, guts, brains and worms were passed around for us to stick our hands into and get totally grossed out. Of course, in reality, it was all good fun and we were really touching peeled grapes, little sausages, corn, Jello and spaghetti!

This month's project is called Texture Times Three. You will create texture blocks using basic staples from the kitchen and learn three different ways to use these blocks--direct printing, embossing and printing and rubbing with a brayer.

Texture Times Three

You will be creating two types of blocks--one block will have textured items glued to it, the other will be a block embossed with those textures.

Texture Blocks
For the texture blocks you will need:
  • Corrugated cardboard. Cut it into pieces that are at least 3" x 4". I used 4" x 6" pieces. You can also cut shaped pieces out of the cardboard.
  • Textured kitchen staples. I used rice, lentils, kidney beans, macaroni, spaghetti, almonds and toothpicks.
  • White glue or matte medium. Below are a few varieties of glue that you could use. I decided to use Mod Podge.

  • Plastic container for glue.
  • Foam brush to apply glue to cardboard.
  • Plastic or other table covering. Just in case you spill some glue.
Create a number of texture blocks:

1. Pour glue or matte medium into the plastic container.

2. Use the foam brush to apply a thin layer of glue to the cardboard.

3. Apply the textured items to the cardboard. Some items such as the rice and lentils can be poured on and pushed into the glue for an even layer. Let the block sit for a few minutes before tipping it to let the excess fall off. For larger or more dimensional materials, such as the almonds, you may have to place them individually on the glue. The spaghetti and toothpicks can be broken into smaller pieces and arranged to form designs.

4. Let the glue dry.

5. Once dry, paint another layer of glue over the textured items. This will help further secure the items to the cardboard as well as sealing and protecting them from moisture.

6. Let the glue dry on the blocks before printing with them or using them to emboss the moldable foam blocks (see below). Depending on the amount of glue needed to seal the items on the block, this may take several hours.

Embossed Blocks
You can use the dry textured cardboard blocks you just created to make embossed blocks. When printed, the image from the embossed blocks will be the opposite of the cardboard blocks.

To create the embossed texture blocks, you will need:
  • Moldable foam blocks. I purchase the bag of ten 2.75" x 3.75" x 1" blocks.
  • Textured cardboard blocks you just created.
  • Heat gun or embossing tool. I prefer to use the Heat-It Craft Tool.
  • Piece of 1/2" thick upholstery foam (soft, spongy foam). It needs to be at least the same dimensions as the cardboard texture block.

Create some embossed blocks:

1. Place the cardboard texture block on top of the piece of 1/2" thick upholstery foam. Set aside (but keep close by).

2. Use the heat gun/embossing tool to warm up and soften the moldable foam block. Turn on and hold the heat gun about 1" above the surface of the moldable foam block. Slowly move it back and forth over the block until the surface gets a bit shiny and it expands a little. This takes about 20 to 30 seconds.

3. Turn the heated foam block over onto the cardboard texture block and press down hard on all parts of the foam block.

4. Pull the moldable foam block off the texture block. It will have an impression from the texture block. If you are not happy with the result, just reheat the moldable foam block until the impression disappears and try again. You can use both sides of the block to make texture impressions.

Texture blocks and the corresponding embossed moldable foam block

Preparing to Print
To print your blocks, you will need:
  • Pebeo Setacolor Opaque Fabric Paints (your choice of colors).
  • Rollrite Foam Brayers. You will want one for each paint color you choose.
  • 2" Foam brushes. You will want one for each paint color you choose.
  • Foam daubers. You will want one for each paint color you choose. (See Issue #4: How to Make a Foam Dauber.)
  • Small plastic containers with lids to hold paint. I like to use Ziploc xs/bowl 8 fl. oz. containers but you could use recycled yogurt, margarine or other small containers.
  • Plastic spoons for mixing paint and spooning it out.
  • Glass or plexi-glass palette(s): I purchase glass from the framing department at my local craft store. Buy the least expensive glass available and tape the edges with duct tape. I like to have several available to use with different paint colors. You will spoon the paint onto the glass.
  • 15" x 20" Padded Portable Work Surfaces. (See Issue #2 under Get Ready, Get Set.../Padded Portable Work Surfaces.) You will want to have one for each piece of fabric you will be printing.
  • 15" x 20" piece of 1/2" thick upholstery foam (soft spongy foam, same type you use for the daubers).
  • 17" x 22" piece of muslin or cotton fabric (this will be placed on top of the upholstery foam).
  • Prepared for Dyeing Kona Cotton. Cut fabric into 12" x 15" pieces. You may also use pre-washed (no softeners) white or solid colored fabric. I like to create my own painted background fabrics using diluted Pebeo Setacolor Transparent Fabric Paints (1 part paint to 2 parts water applied to fabric with a 2" foam brush).
  • Masking tape
  • Straight pins (optional)
  • Paper towels
There are three different ways to apply paint to the blocks. How you apply paint can affect the results of the print.
  1. Applying paint with a Rollrite foam brayer. This application technique works best with blocks that have a smooth surface or uniform texture including the embossed moldable foam, toothpick, spaghetti, rice, and lentil blocks. Paint applied with a brayer results in a uniform, even print.
  2. Applying paint with a foam brush. By using a brush, you can get a more textured, uneven streaky look (from the brushstrokes). This application technique works particularly well with the embossed moldable foam blocks. It is easier to apply more than one color with this technique.
  3. Applying paint with a foam dauber. This works best with the texture blocks made from more dimensional materials such as the macaroni and almonds. This is another technique suited for applying more than one color to the block.
Printing Your Blocks
Direct printing with the blocks:
1. Mix up colors of Pebeo Setacolor Opaque Fabric Paint or use colors directly from the bottles. If you are mixing a custom color, be sure you start with the lightest color and gradually add darker colors. Always remember that a little paint goes a long way.

2. Tape (masking) the edges of your fabric to the Padded Portable Work Surface (unless specified otherwise).

3. Using the Rollrite foam brayer (see Issue #5: Printing with Your Blocks):
  • Spoon a small amount of paint onto the glass palette. Better to err on the side of too little paint to start, as too much paint on the block can result in messy prints.
  • Use the Rollrite brayer to spread the paint evenly across the glass. You can roll the brayer in different directions until there is an even coat of paint on the brayer.
  • Use the brayer to roll an even coat of paint onto the block. Again, you can roll the brayer over the block in different directions to make sure all parts of the block are covered.
  • Turn the block over onto the fabric and use your hand to press down on all the parts of the block to release the paint onto the fabric.
  • If you are using a more dimensional texture block, you may need extra padding under the fabric in order for more of the paint to release from the block onto the fabric. Place the 15" x 20" piece of 1/2" upholstery foam onto your Padded Portable Work Surface. Cover this with the 17" x 22" piece of muslin and then tape or pin your fabric to the muslin. Print on this extra padded surface.
Extra padded layer using 1/2" upholstery foam and muslin.

4. Using a foam brush:
  • Mix or pour paint into a container.
  • Dip your brush into the container and pull the edge of the brush against the side of the container to remove excess paint from the brush.
  • Brush the paint across the surface of the block.
  • Turn the block over onto the fabric and use your hand to press down on all parts of the block to release the paint onto the fabric.
  • If you are using a more dimensional texture block, you may need extra padding under the fabric in order for more of the paint to release from the block onto the fabric. Place the 15" x 20" piece of 1/2" upholstery foam onto your Padded Portable Work Surface. Cover this with the 17" x 22" piece of muslin and then tape or pin your fabric to the muslin. Print on this extra padded surface.
5. Using a foam dauber:
  • Spoon a small amount of paint onto the glass palette.
  • Use the foam dauber to pick up some of the paint. You may want to daub the paint on the glass palette a few times if you pick up too much paint at first. (See Issue #4: Creating Background Textures with Vegetables.)
  • Daub paint onto the surface of the block. With the more textured blocks, try to apply paint to all levels of the block, not just the top surface.
  • You will definitely need to use the extra layer of muslin-covered upholstery foam with this application technique and the more dimensional blocks.
Brayer rubbings with the blocks:
With brayer rubbings, no paint is applied to the surface of the print block. Instead, the texture block is placed under the fabric and a layer of paint is rolled over the fabric's surface, picking up some of the texture from the covered block. Use this technique with the cardboard texture blocks, not the moldable foam blocks.

1. Tape (masking) the edges of the fabric to the Padded Portable Work Surface. Make sure you will be able to easily slip a cardboard texture block under the fabric. For the more dimensional texture blocks, you will want to use the extra layer of upholstery foam/muslin under the fabric. In that case, slip the block between the fabric and the muslin-covered upholstery foam.

2. Follow the directions above for getting an even layer of paint onto the Rollrite foam brayer. Make sure you don't have too much paint on the brayer as it will make for a messy rubbing.

3. Roll the paint across the fabric that is covering the block.

4. Carefully shift the block to a new location under the fabric.

5. Get another even layer of paint on the foam brayer and roll over the fabric covering the block.

6. Continue shifting the block and rolling the paint over the fabric.

Fabrics from Kitchen Textures
Test out all the blocks in a number of samplers.

Black and white samplers of texture blocks.

Consider which printed block designs and/or rubbings might work well together to create interesting pieces of fabric. See Issue #5 (Printing with Your Blocks) for some questions you may want to ask yourself about combining block designs and more information about color.

Here are some fabric designs using textures from the kitchen:

Setting Paint and Cleaning Up
Setting the Fabric Paint
After the fabrics are completely dry, the fabric paint needs to be set. The paint can be set in one of the following ways:
  1. Let the fabrics passively set by letting them sit for a week.
  2. Iron to set: Place a piece of muslin or a pressing cloth over the printed fabric and iron for 5 minutes using the cotton setting.
  3. Place the printed fabrics in a clothes dryer and dry them for 50 minutes on a high heat setting.
Once the fabric paint is set, the fabrics can be machine washed in cold or warm water with a small amount of detergent using the delicate setting.

Cleaning the blocks
Although the texture blocks have a coating of glue or matte medium on them, you will not be able to immerse them in water as they are cardboard. You can either let the fabric paint dry on the blocks or dampen a paper towel and try carefully wiping the paint off of them. The moldable foam blocks can be cleaned in cool to warm water (not hot).

Coming Up In the Next Issue:
In the next issue of Julie B Booth Surface Design News
we Wrap Up the Season by learning how to create fabric with a message along with some gift giving ideas using fabric.


Copyright © 2012 Julie B Booth Surface Design, All rights reserved.
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