Presto Change-o-- Making Magic with Everyday Objects
A Personal Note from Julie
September 28, 2014
I have to admit that I have a guilty pleasure! I love watching reality shows where artistic individuals are given a creative challenge to be completed in a short period of time. Faves of mine are Project Runway, Face Off
and Top Chef.
It's not so much the drama and competitiveness that intrigue me (although that adds to the fun) but instead, my amazement at the accomplishment achieved. Quick, often "outside the box" thinking, flexibility, skill, inventiveness and a healthy dose of self-confidence (and self-awareness) seem to be the common elements among contestants who do well on these shows.
My son, Aaron, and I recently started watching a new creative challenge show called, Wizard Wars
. In this show, pairs of professional magicians compete and are judged on their magical skill, showmanship and creativity. The fun part is that all the magicians must work with the same materials and use their skills and inventiveness to create an entertaining magic show. The materials/objects are everyday ones including: toilet paper, a rocking chair, rope, rubber duckies, a kimono, cereal boxes, a bottle of maple syrup and even a puppy! The artistry of the individual magician (or in this case pairs of magicians) is apparent in how these everyday items are used to devise an intriguing outcome.
Just like the wizards on TV, I continue to try to find the magic
in using everyday objects. In my case, these objects are used to create unique pieces of fabric. This month, I'm working with the materials pictured below.
Materials for this month's project include: Plastic packing/shipping tape, black and white paper, a manila folder and parchment paper.
The following project is how I used these items but it occurs to me that there could be a number of ways to use these same materials to come up with completely different surface design on fabric effects. Hmm...a future newsletter perhaps?
Just a quick update on the book front. I'm having a pre-order giveaway in October. Look for a separate email with information on how you can receive a signed book plate and a chance to win a packet of fabrics printed by yours truly!
Stencil Designs that "Pack" Some Punch!
Create stencils using layers of packing/shipping tape. Use paper-cut patterns to design narrow border or decorative motif stencils. Apply multiple colors of paint through the stencils or draw designs with permanent pens.
Designing Packing Tape Stencils
You will need the following materials to create packing tape stencils:
- A roll of clear packing or shipping tape
- Manila folder(s)
- White printer paper
- Black construction paper
- Parchment paper
- Craft knife with extra blades for cutting frames and stencils.
- Small sharp scissors for cutting paper
- Clear plastic gridded ruler (e.g.Omnigrid)
- Self-Healing Rotary Cutting Mat to use with the craft knife.
- Fine permanent marker
- Glue stick
- Masking tape
1. Measure and cut some frames from the manila folder. If you plan to make some narrow designs make sure that the frame opening is 3/8" to 1/2" narrower than the width of the tape. The frame border should measure 1/2" to 3/4" to create a sturdy stencil.
Cut a manila folder into frames for your stencils
2. Tear a piece of parchment paper from the roll and lay it on a flat, sturdy surface. You'll be using the parchment paper as your work surface when applying tape to the manila frames. The tape will not stick to the parchment paper, making it easier to handle.
3. For narrow border designs:
Place the manila frame on the parchment paper and carefully line up (center) the tape so that it covers the opening and attaches to the manila frame. Cut the tape. Flip the taped frame over and in a similar way, carefully tape the other side. Smooth the tape down as you go to try to avoid air pockets. Cut the tape.
Carefully lay the tape so it attaches to the manila folder frame.
For larger designs:
Place the manila folder frame onto the parchment paper. Attach the first length of tape so that it overlaps about 1/4" along the long side of the frame and the two ends. Continue to overlap (about 1/8" to1/4" overlap) parallel lengths of packing tape to create the stencil surface. When the first side is completely taped, flip the frame over and turn it 90 degrees so that the lengths of tape on the second side will all run perpendicular to the first side. Again, try to avoid creating air pockets.
TIP: If you end up with some air pockets, use the sharp tip of your craft knife to carefully puncture them and then try to push them flat.
4. Tape over the remaining exposed parts of the manila folder frame. This will protect the stencil from any moisture that could weaken it.
Creating Stencil Designs
For this project, I folded and cut white printer paper to come up with my stencil designs.There are certainly numerous other possible sources for designs including bold folk art or symbols and motifs from different cultures.
5. Measure and cut white printer paper and black construction paper to the same dimensions as the open area in each manila folder frame.
6. Fold the white printer paper. Try symmetrical or asymmetrical folds. Cut a design using either the small sharp scissors or craft knife.
7. Unfold the cut paper and glue it to the black construction paper.
Assorted designs from folded and cut paper.
8. Tape the cut paper design to the same-size manila folder frame. Be sure that the design is face down.
9. Flip the frame over so you can see the design. Use a fine permanent marker to trace the black shapes. The black shapes in the cut paper design are the areas you'll cut from the plastic to create the stencil. If it makes it easier to see, mark an "x" inside the drawn shapes.
Mark an "x" in the areas you plan to cut away.
10. Place the frame with the design onto the cutting mat. Use a craft knife to cut the marked designs to create the stencil.
Printing with Your Packing Tape Stencils
You will need the following materials:
- Packing/shipping tape stencils you just created.
- 15" x 20" Padded Portable Work Surfaces (See Issue #2 under Get Ready, Get Set...). You will want one for each piece of fabric you plan to print.
- Prepared for Dyeing Kona Cotton. Cut fabric into 12" x 15" pieces. You may also use pre-washed 100% cotton fabric in white or solid colors. I like to create my own painted background fabrics using diluted Pebeo Setacolor Transparent Fabric Paints (1 part paint/ 2 parts water). Apply the diluted paint to the fabric with 2" wide foam brushes (one brush for each color used).
- Pebeo Setacolor Opaque Fabric Paints. Your choice of colors.
- Foam daubers (optional). See Issue #4: How to Make a Foam Dauber. You will need one for each opaque fabric paint color you choose.
- Small bristle brushes. Use these to create textured paint effects and details.
- Glass or Plexi-glass palettes. 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. You'll probably want at least two.
- 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.
- Assorted permanent fabric marking pens. I used Pigma and Setaskrib pens.
- Masking tape
- Paper towels
- Plant mister for cleaning the stencils after printing (I suggest Tip N' Spray).
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 goes a long way!
2. Tape the fabric you plan to stencil to a Padded Portable Work Surface. Tape a stencil to the fabric.
3. Start by creating a sampler fabric. Spoon a small amount of paint onto a glass palette. Pick up some paint with the dauber and press it on the glass to release excess paint before daubing it through the openings in the stencil.
Daub paint through the openings in the stencil.
4. Carefully untape and remove the stencil to reveal the design.
Sampler of stencil designs.
I was curious about applying multiple colors through a single stencil. In each case, the stencil remains taped to the same place on the fabric while different layers of fabric paint are daubed through the openings. In some cases, I used fabric marking pens (Setaskrib and Pigma) to trace around the open areas of the stencil or used small bristle brushes to paint detailed designs. Here are some ideas:
1. After stenciling with blue paint, I then carefully used daubers to apply two more colors.
2. Using a fine bristle brush, I painted textures in contrasting colors.
3. I then outlined the design with a permanent marking pen (Pigma).
4. Here is the final fabric design.
Here are some additional fabrics using packing tape stencils:
Multiple opaque fabric paint colors daubed through the stencil.
Border designs with hand-painted details using small bristle brushes.
Various designs using an assortment of fabric marking pens. Read the manufacturers' instructions for setting designs made with pens.
Setting the Paint
After the fabrics are completely dry, the fabric paint needs to be set before the fabric 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 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 a cold or warm delicate setting with a small amount of detergent.
Cleaning the Packing Tape Stencils
It's best if you can clean the stencils before the paint dries. Lay the stencil on a paper towel and use a damp paper towel to wipe the paint off.