Today is the final day in this wave of Art Spark’s “tut tsunami.” My tutorial contribution is Shibori using fabric paint rather than dye. Margaret Hunt, a talented fiber artist from SC, had a blog post of the beautiful results of some of the painted Shibori she did. You can see her work here. Seeing her post reminded me of how much I’ve enjoyed this technique. When it was my time to come up with a tutorial, I decided if the weather was good, I’d do it on this topic. If it wasn’t, I’d do a Photoshop video. The sun was shining, and Shibori won.
Shibori comes from a Japanese word meaning to squeeze, press, or wring. Today it’s basically known as a resist-dyeing technique that uses anything from clamping and pleating to tieing and stitching with the goal of creating patterned fabric. In the following tutorial, rather than using dye, I am using fabric paint. While I’ve had various Shibori dyeing classes over the years, I first learned to use fabric paint with Shibori when I took a class from Debra Lunn back in the early 1990s. I was always grateful for that class because it opened my eyes to how versatile fabric paint can be.
To do this project, you’ll need fabric. I use PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric from TestFabrics, Inc. I generally use either 400M, which is bleached mercerized cotton, or 419, which is bleached mercerized combed cotton broadcloth. However, you can also successfully use fabric that you previously dyed or light colored solids.
You’ll also need fabric paints. I like an assortment — Setacolor, Jacquard, Stewart Gill, Golden, and so on. With fabric paint, you’ll need brushes. I like using different widths of house painting brushes, but foam brushes will work. Also add the obvious things such as containers for paint (and to mix paint in), water, and something to cover your work surface (yes, I know the plastic I’m using in the back yard as seen its day). You’ll also need some rubber bands (or string).
Lastly, you’ll need PVC piping. PVC piping comes in a variety of widths and lengths and is available from home repair stores such as Lowes and Home Depot. Often you can find shorter end pieces for sale. Generally they are in a bin at the end of a row where the piping is sold. It’s a good deal because you can buy useful lengths in different widths often for less money than a long piece of one width. Different widths will give different results. (A tip: If you find end pieces, try to nest one inside the next so that you can get a variety of widths and store them more easily.) Otherwise, you can buy a full length and ask a clerk to cut it to whatever lengths you want to work with. Generally speaking, the longer the pole, the easier it is to wrap large pieces of fabric. However, when starting out it’s far more manageable to use a shorter pole and smaller pieces of fabric (such as a quarter or half) to get the hang of things. In this tutorial, I’m using thinner width, shorter pipes.
First you’ll need to wrap the fabric around the pole. I do this by placing the fabric onto a table. Then, in this example, I am starting with a corner and rolling on the diagonal. Slide the pipe in one direction so that some of the pipe is always sticking out from one side. Try to keep the fabric flat.
In this example, I’m wrapping a piece of fabric that I folded in half. You can try all sorts of things like wrapping on the straight, creating a tube, fold on the diagonal, and so on.
After you have so much fabric rolled on, push the fabric toward one end of the pipe,
and secure the bottom portion of the fabric with a rubber band.
Continue rolling and pushing the fabric down until all of the fabric is scrunched together.
Secure the other end with a rubber band. While I am using rubber bands, you can wrap string around the fabric. You can also experiment with using string to tightly wrap the length of the fabric to create an additional resist. The tighter your wrap, the more resist there will be. If you have a large piece of fabric, a very tight wrap will create more of a resist meaning less paint will penetrate the fabric. It’s a matter of experimentation and knowing what your goals are. If you like a lot of unpainted areas, push the fabric closer together and tighter. You’ll see I don’t worry about precision. If you want precise, you can use a butter knife to push any ends neatly into folds.
Once you have some poles (pipes) wrapped, you can begin painting. Although I haven’t done so above, you can wrap more than one piece of fabric on a pole.
For this piece, I mixed black Jacquard fabric paint with water. It’s about half and half. I also added a touch of metallic black. (I stopped using the Golden fabric additive long ago and have not ever had any problems.) Brush on your paint. If you want more resist (or white showing), keep the paint on the outsides only. If you want less resist (or more paint showing) keep applying more paint so it soaks in deeper. You can also try misting the fabric with water before adding the paint. The more the fabric is initially misted, the more the paint will run and less resist you will have. In other words, experiment.
When it’s finished, I leave it inside a five gallon pale and continue to the next piece.
For the next piece, I’m combining primaries. Add lighter colors first to give them a chance to penetrate. In this case, I am starting with yellow.
Next I added red.
For some interest, I added a less diluted bright pink.
The last color I added was blue. Each color was brushed in as I wanted the colors to penetrate as much as possible while still having enough resist to make a pattern.
Continue painting your pole (pipe) wrapped fabrics until you are satisfied with it. Because these poles aren’t very long, I placed them in a five gallon bucket. I used a folded hanger from the dry cleaner to keep the poles from bumping into each other. Next, leave them to dry overnight (and clean up the mess).
The following day I unrolled a portion of each fabric to see if they were dry enough to unroll. Unlike dye, even they are a little bit damp, I will unroll it and hang it on a line to finish drying.
Here are the results:
Wrapping a previously dyed fabric — especially the initially rejected paler stuff — and painting it with a solid color can produce some very nice results. It also works great on dyed solids (I’ve had success with commercial solid prints – but remember to pre-wash in hot water to get off any sizing). You can also over paint your Shibori painted pieces. For example, if you end up with more white than you like, water down some paint and work it into the fabric. The key is to experiment and have fun.
Imporant! After your fabric is dry, be sure to iron it with a hot, dry iron to set the paints. I iron both sides.
To wrap up the tutorials, here are the final two from two talented ladies, Judy Coates Perez and Alma Stoller. Click the image to go directly to their tutorials.
Here’s a recap of Art Spark members who have tutorials from this wave on their blogs:
Melanie Testa’s Cloth to Headband
Jane LaFazio’s machine felting tutorial
Diana Trout’s Sumi Smoosh
Lyric Kinard’s Painted Shoes
Alisa Burke’s Altered Striped Tank
Tracie Lyn Huskamp – Nature Inspired Greeting Card
Kelli Nina Perkins – Spoon Poetry