Kitchen Surface Design

Julie B Booth
Surface Design News

A Newsletter dedicated to exploring the kitchen as a resource for surface design on fabric techniques.

Julie B Booth
Winter 2013 Class Schedule

February 10
Wrapped Wire Animals
Jazzy: A Wrapped Doll with "Attitude"

March 10
Beyond Potato Prints: Creating Fabulous Fabric Designs with Fruits and Vegetables

March 16 &17
A Story in the Making: Creating Story Cloth with Print and Stitch

I recommend this book!

This book is a visual love poem. Every Monday morning, the author, Page Hodel would create a heart for her lover, Madalene, to discover on the way to work. Unfortunately, Madalene died of ovarian cancer. Page continues to create hearts in her memory. This is a book of those hearts using such diverse materials as toothbrushes, radishes and putty knives.

The images in this book are a perfect example of finding the freedom to work creatively within a given format.

Issue #9


A Personal Note from Julie

January 26, 2013
As this month was the start of a new year, I decided to sign up for two creative endeavors. The first was my art coach, Lesley Riley's, 52 Pickup-- 52 weeks of Lesley's creative words of wisdom, jumpstarts and pick-me-ups. The other endeavor: A Letter A Week (ALAW) 2013, where each participant creates two complete alphabets over the course of a year.

Now, I hear you asking, What does this have to do with this month's surface design project? Here is the answer: Playing with limits: Experimenting and being creative within a structure.

This week of 52 Pickup, Lesley gave an assignment: Create a new word that is composed of two or more words that describes how you are feeling. Over at the group discussion, this became a wonderful game of wordplay. Group members were multi-asking about what to work on next on the to-do list; feeling flu-strated by being sick and not being able to create art and feeling sun-derful seeing the sun for the first time after a week of gray weather.

In fact, when I decided to write about how limits or structure can be freeing, I started to do a bit of my own word play: Limits...limitless...limitlessons. The lesson of having limits is that they can actually open us up to thinking even more creatively. Having a structure can give us focus. It can get us started in a direction and can keep us from getting too scattered and floundering about.

A Letter A Week started in 2010, and is the brainchild of calligraphy and book artist, Fiona Dempster. As mentioned, each participant has to create two complete alphabets by the end of the year. But that's not all. The first rule is that each letter must fit in a 7cm x 7cm square (or in the U.S.A., a 2.75" x 2.75" square). The next bit of structure is that one of the alphabets has a particular theme (this year's is Peace). And finally, the alphabets must be presented in some sort of final format-- be it a book, wall piece or even a piece of clothing. What made me decide to join ALAW this year was seeing the incredible selection of 2012 alphabets. I was amazed by the diversity of interpretation by each artist and yet each entry still stayed within the prescribed guidelines.

Sample prints of the first letters of my Peace alphabet for ALAW 2013.

For this month's project, I decided to give myself a set of limits. First, I decided to limit my materials from the kitchen to just two items: Freezer Paper and doilies. Next, I decided I wanted to play with a Valentine's theme. I tried different ways of printing and stenciling with these two items. I tried different ways of applying the fabric paint. And although I limited myself to the idea of Hearts & Lace, having a structure let me play. I can see within my sample fabrics the seeds for future projects. I can take what I learned and apply it to other themes. In fact, one piece I made (sans hearts) reminded me of a wintery day where the doily designs became snowflakes.

Format...structure...guidelines...limits...they all give us focus and help to free our creativity.

Hearts & Lace

In this month's project you will combine techniques using freezer paper and doilies to create some sweet Valentine's fabric!
You will need the following materials:
  • A roll of Freezer Paper (I use Reynold's).
  • Assorted paper doilies.
  • Scissors for cutting paper.
  • X-acto knife with #11 blades.
  • Self-Healing Rotary Cutting Mat.
  • Optional: Omnigrid clear plastic ruler. For cutting freezer paper strips or designs with straight lines.
  • #2 Pencil.
  • Iron and ironing board.
  • Optional: Pressing cloth (cotton or muslin fabric). You can use this when ironing freezer paper to fabric to protect the iron.
  • Small plastic containers with lids to hold paint. I like to use Ziploc xs/bowl 8 fl. oz. containers but you could also use recycled yogurt, margarine or other small containers.
  • Plastic spoons for mixing paint and spooning it out.
  • Glass or plexi-glass palettes. I purchase pieces of glass from the framing department of my local craft store. Buy the least expensive glass and tape the edges with duct tape. You will be rolling out paint on the glass. I suggest having a few of these available.
  • Pebeo Setacolor Transparent Fabric Paints (your choice of colors). You can create your own custom colored background fabrics with these paints. The paints will need to be diluted with water in a ratio of 1 part paint/ 2 parts water. Be sure to shake the bottles of paint before using them and mix thoroughly after adding water. Use the 2" foam brushes (see below) to apply the paints to the fabric (see Prepared for Dyeing Kona Cotton below). Let the paint dry before applying Opaque paint.
  • Pebeo Setacolor Opaque Fabric Paints (your choice of colors). Be sure to shake the bottles of paint before using the them.
  • 2" wide foam brushes. You will want one for each color of diluted Transparent Paint you use.
  • Rollrite Foam Brayers. You will want one for each color of Opaque paint you use.
  • Foam Daubers (See Issue #4 under How to Make a Foam Dauber for instructions on how to make them). You will want one for each color of Opaque paint you use.
  • Plastic lids. You will use these with the Daubers.
  • 15" x 20" Portable Work Surfaces (See Issue #2 under Get Ready, Get Set...). You will want one for each piece of fabric.
  • Prepared for Dyeing Kona Cotton. Cut fabric into 12" x 15" pieces and tape to the Portable Work Surfaces with small pieces of masking tape. You may also use pre-washed (no softeners) 100% cotton fabric in white or solid colors. I like to paint my own background fabrics with the diluted Transparent Paint (see above).
  • Paper towels.

Freezer Paper Fun

Freezer Paper is an amazingly versatile product. With an uncoated paper side and a plastic coated side (really more like wax paper), its functional purpose is to wrap and protect food in the freezer. But as many fiber artists know, it is ideal for creating templates for applique and patterns for sewing. As it is a translucent paper, I've found it useful in doll making for tracing face patterns and ironing them to fabric to transfer the designs. This site has other suggested uses.

For our purposes, we will be using Freezer Paper to create designs by tearing and/or cutting the paper, then ironing the designs to fabric and applying paint in a number of ways. The Freezer Paper acts as a mask, preventing the paint from reaching the fabric's surface. Below are some suggestions for designing masks and applying fabric paint.

Torn Designs
1. Cut or tear a piece of Freezer Paper from the roll. Carefully tear designs out of the paper. In keeping with the Valentine's Day theme, I tore some different sized heart shapes, including some large enough so I could tear away a second heart design from the center. I also tore strips of freezer paper.
2. Arrange the torn designs on your fabric and using an iron set to the Cotton setting, carefully iron the Freezer Paper to the fabric. Make sure that the coated side is facing the fabric before ironing, to avoid getting the coating on the iron. You can opt to use a pressing cloth (though, if you are careful, you won't need one).

Folded and Scissor Cut Designs
1. Remember making paper snowflakes? That is the idea behind this technique. Cut a piece of Freezer Paper from the roll. You may want to use a gridded ruler to square up the edges of the paper before folding. With the uncoated paper side facing out, try folding the Freezer Paper in different ways and then cutting out designs with your scissors.
2. Unfold the cut paper and iron to a piece of fabric. Don't forget to save the small pieces that you cut away, they are often interesting shapes that can also be used.

X-acto Knife Cut Designs
1. For cutting detailed designs, an X-acto knife works best. Tear or cut a piece of Freezer Paper from the roll. Use masking tape to tape the paper to a cutting mat with the uncoated side facing up. You may decide to draw designs on the paper to cut away or cut freehand. Remember that the areas that are cut away from the Freezer Paper will be those parts of the design that will expose the fabric to paint.
2. Iron the design, coated side down, to the fabric.
3. NOTE: You can start with cut-out shapes of Freezer Paper, rather than working with a sheet. I cut out heart shapes with scissors and then cut out the detailed designs with the X-acto knife.

Techniques for Applying Fabric Paint to Freezer Paper Masks
Wet Technique
This paint application technique works best with white or light to medium colored background fabrics. I chose to paint over torn Freezer Paper strips. This works best with larger designs (i.e. NOT the detailed X-acto cut designs). The paint bleeds under the fabric to create soft, watercolor effects with some edges.
1. Tape the fabric with Freezer Paper designs to a Portable Work Surface.
2. Mix up two to three different colors of Pebeo Setacolor Transparent Fabric Paint using the ratio of 1 part paint to 2 parts water.  You can use the colors right from the container or mix a custom color. If you choose to mix a custom color, start with the lightest color and mix in the darker color(s) a little at a time. Add the water after mixing your desired color. Remember, a little goes a long way.
3. Use a foam brush to apply the paint.
4. Let the paint dry completely before removing the Freezer Paper masks.

Diluted Transparent fabric paint over torn Freezer Paper masks. After paint has dried and masks removed.

Applying Opaque Paint with a Dauber
This paint application technique works with all the different types of mask designs. It is the best application technique to use with the intricate designs cut with an X-acto knife.
1. Tape the fabric with Freezer Paper designs to a Portable Work Surface.
2. Pebeo Setacolor Opaque Fabric Paints do NOT need to be diluted. You can use them directly from the jar or mix them together to create custom color variations. I usually spoon a very small amount (no more than one plastic spoonful at a time) onto a plastic lid.
3. Take a foam dauber and daub it into some Opaque paint. Daub it a few times on the plastic lid to release any excess paint.
4. Daub the paint along the edges of the Freezer Paper masks and over any design details.
5. Pick up more paint with the dauber as needed or change paint colors as desired.
6. You can carefully pull up and remove the masks while the paint is still damp OR leave the masks on to add more texture and design details with doilies (see below).

Applying Opaque Paint with a Rollrite Brayer
This paint application techniques works best with less detailed designs such as torn or scissor cut designs. Applying paint in this way makes for soft, almost pastel effect.
1. Tape the fabric with Freezer Paper designs to a Portable Work Surface.
2. Use Opaque paint colors directly from the jar or mix them up to create custom colors. Spoon a small amount of paint onto a glass palette. Better to err on the side of less paint to start.
3. 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.
4. Roll the paint-covered brayer over the Freezer Paper masks. You may have to roll in different directions or try different amounts of pressure while rolling the brayer to get the best results.
5. As a smaller amount of paint reaches the fabric, you don't need to worry about it being too wet. You can remove the masks immediately OR leave the masks on to add more texture and design details with doilies (see below).

Designing with Doilies
Doilies can add texture, design and a splash of color to fabric. Below are some possible ways to work with them. After making a few color samplers, try combining these application techniques with your Freezer Paper mask designs. For all these techniques use Pebeo Setacolor Opaque Fabric Paints.

Using Doilies as Stencils: Applying Paint with a Dauber
1. Lay a doily down on a piece of fabric.
2. See instructions above for applying Opaque paint with a foam dauber. Daub the paint over the doily, pushing the paint into the holes of the doily designs.
3. Consider cutting apart doilies and using different parts to create new designs.
4. Overlay different designs, using different paint colors to create colorful fabrics.

Using Doilies as Stencils: Applying Paint with a Rollrite Brayer
This technique creates a soft, almost pastel look on the fabric.
1. Lay a doily down on a piece of fabric.
2.Get an even coating of Opaque fabric paint on a Rollrite brayer by following the instructions above.
3. Roll the paint over the doily. You may need to roll the brayer in different directions or apply more pressure in order for the paint to get into the holes in the design.
4. Overlay different doily designs, using different paint colors to create soft, colorful effects.

Printing with Doilies
1. Using a Rollrite brayer evenly coated with Opaque fabric paint, roll over the textured side of a doily. Unless the doily is small, you will probably only be able to apply paint and print small sections at a time.
2. Turn the paint-covered doily over onto the fabric. Cover with a piece of paper towel and press to release the paint.
3. You can build up layers of pattern and texture by overlaying printed doily designs.

Brayer Rubbings with Doilies
This technique creates a soft textured effect on fabric.
1. Place a doily under the fabric.
2. Using a Rollrite brayer evenly coated with Opaque fabric paint, roll over the fabric covering the doily.
3. Move the doily to another position under the fabric.
4. Pick up more paint on the brayer and roll over the fabric covering the doily.
5. Continue to create an overall textured surface.
6. Try using different doily designs.

Fabrics that Combine Freezer Paper Designs with Doilies

Setting the Fabric Paint
After the fabrics are completely dry, the fabric paint needs to be set before the fabrics can be washed. 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 pressing cloth over the fabric and iron for 5 minutes using the cotton setting.
3. Place the fabric 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 a cold or warm delicate setting with a small amount of detergent.

Coming Up In the Next Issue:
In the next issue of Julie B Booth Surface Design News
we Do Things with String!

Issue #10 comes out on Saturday, February 23.


Copyright © 2013 Julie B Booth Surface Design, All rights reserved.
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