Alter Fabric with Transparent Paints

18 01 2015

Creating or altering fabric with paint allows you to tailor your feature fabrics or backgrounds to exactly what you want for your project. It is also incredibly quick, easy and fun.

Paints come in many forms. Different brands will be described and marketed in different ways and it can be confusing to know which product is optimal for which technique. The reality is that most of them are interchangeable and there is no single product that has a single use. What can be the greatest separation between types of paints is viscosity and transparency. Some paints, like Lumiere, Golden and Liquitex are thick and generally opaque. Some paints like Dye Na Flow and Pebeo Seteo Transparent are very liquid or runny and generally more transparent. It is these more liquid paints I want to show you this week.

I use Dye Na Flow.  Of all the fabric paints and inks I have used, I find this paint effects the hand of the fabric the least.  It is the closest surface to a dye I have found in a paint.  Paint does not become part of the fibre like dye does, so will always sit on the surface in some way.  Fabric paint is generally a form of acrylic paint, made up of the pigment (colour) and a bonding agent/carrier.  Dye Na Flow are very saturated in pigment and can easily be diluted with water to make softer colours and a softer hand.

Transparent Paints will go on any surface, but are best on fabrics. As they have a light hand, these paints are terrific on silks and other sheer fabrics as well as all natural and most synthetic fabrics.

Transparent paints can be painted, sponged and stenciled directly onto the fabric like any paint.  However transparent paints make fabulous watercolour, washed backgrounds, can be altered with salt or alcohol solution and can sun print.  Because these paints are transparent, they can be seen through so you can use the paint to change the colour of something but keep the pattern or detail.

Here is an example.

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Any transparent paint can be used for sun printing.  When you use paint like Dye Na Flow, it is richly saturated but very fluid.  To sun print with these paints, you dilute them with water, paint the diluted paint onto a wet surface and then lay items on the wet paint to create patterns.  The faster the paint can dry, the crisper the image will be, so this works best on a hot sunny day, but the truth is sun printing can occur on rainy overcast days too.  The piece photographed below was made with Dye Na Flow paint, salt and a plastic mask in the shape of a tree.

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Here are instructions on this technique and a colour wash effect:  sun salt and screens

Dye Na Flow comes in 30 colours, all of which are able to be mixed to make new colours.

dye na flow colour chart

you can find them on my website here:  http://www.uniquestitching.com.au/c/195292/1/dye-na-flow.html

Here is an example of a project where I painted the background with Dye Na Flow.

from this                      bird on the wire 1

to this                           bird on the wire 3

Give these paints a go.  They are exceptionally versatile and easy to use.

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One response

18 01 2015
Elizabeth Morley

I am new to your blog and have had very little experience with blogs generally. I would like to thank you though for your generous sharing of knowledge and also your acknowledgement of other artists when appropriate. I will look forward to many more readings and ideas!. thank you, Elizabeth

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