Using Multipurpose Cloth

1 02 2015

Last week I did not post a blog, not because it was the long weekend, well partly because of that.  We spent the weekend building a fence and I did not have the capacity to think, or move nor the time, so took the weekend off.

This week’s featured product is made by Roc-Lon and was originally designed as a black out curtain lining, but it is one of the most fabulous and versatile surfaces to work on. If you want to use it to line your curtains, it blocks light, acts as an insulation for heat/cold and noise. Those exact characteristics are what make it so versatile.

Multipurpose Cloth is 30% Cotton and 70% Polyester. As such, it can be dyed with transfer dyes and stained with Procion dyes (colour will only be light, soft and drifty due to high Poly content). The surface is mildly suede like and it takes all sorts of paints and colour products really well. The first thing you can do with it is apply paint. The cloth is quite solid and heavy but maintains a soft drape. This means that you can use this to add body but still be malleable and can be shaped. It is completely washable, so depending on what you are making select a paint with sufficient colourfastness if it is likely to be washed. The cloth takes Lumiere Paint like it was made for it.

Most importantly, the Multipurpose Cloth can be cut with scissors or a rotary cutter and can be sewn on the sewing machine or hand embroidered. Due to the polyester content, the cloth will not fray, so you can be a bit lazy on how you finish the items you make with it. It makes great baby shoes and bags, sturdy cloth dolls and baby toys. It can be stitched into quilts or garments. Imagine a painted, embroidered and embellished vest front for example.

So, paint, stencil, stamp, spray and sponge layers of colour over the surface with pretty much any paints and colour products. You can glue fabric or paper elements directly on the surface, foil or apply embossing powder.

Once decorated (or not), the cloth can be stitched into a range of different items. As the cloth is water resistant, it is great for household items such as placemats, bowls, wine and lunch box covers, picnic wear, peg holders and more.

The cloth is heat tolerant, so you can add image transfers, embossing powder, foils, iron on decals and more. It also means that the cloth can be used for lampshades and other functions were indirect or diffused heat will be present. Most importantly it can be ironed.

Although the cloth can be the base fabric for pretty much anything, my favourite uses for it are dimensional embellishments. You can cut the cloth with any of the die cutting machines, so can make anything from very precise and detailed appliqué elements to dimensional stars, flowers, hearts etc to stich or glue onto a project. Lots of brightly painted stars would make a great baby mobile.

For a huge range of very quick and easy projects, go to the Roc-Lon website listed below.

I am carrying the cloth in the 54 inch width, so if you want metreage you can order it. Have fun with this awesome surface.

Here are some pictures of me colouring it and a bag I made from the painted fabric

Painted with Lemon and Hot Fuchsia Dye na Flow

Painted with Lemon and Hot Fuchsia Dye na Flow

Pearlescent Magenta and Metallic Gold Lumiere and Pink and Orange Liquitex Paint sponged on all over the surface

Pearlescent Magenta and Metallic Gold Lumiere and Pink and Orange Liquitex Paint sponged on all over the surface

Multipurpose Cloth painted with Pearlescent Purple and Pearlescent Turquoise Lumiere Paint with Gold Embossing powder melted onto the painted surface.

Multipurpose Cloth painted with Pearlescent Purple and Pearlescent Turquoise Lumiere Paint with Gold Embossing powder melted onto the painted surface.

AND finally the bag I made from it all.  As this is all waterproof, I can use this for a towel and swimmers or a great nappy bag.  I have four pockets on the outside.  Although this is not lined, I could easily have lined it and perhaps made the bag reversible.  In a different shape, it could be a lunch bag or so much more.  Easily washed, Multipurpose Cloth is extremely versatile.


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.


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:

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.

Painted Fabric transformed?

6 10 2014

In a couple of weeks, while I am teaching in Houston, I am have been invited to take part in the Open Studios programme.  I am doing two, two hour sessions.  One is on developing dimension, depth, movement etc with painted fabric backgrounds and the second is about creating and using monoprinted fabric in your projects.  I decided that I need some new samples.  I started with the first session, so have painted up half a dozen fat quarters of homespun with Dye Na Flow paint.  Now I am working into turning them into something.  The focus is, of course, the painted backgrounds, but it is about how they set a great framework for art quilts and other projects.

Here is the fabric I started with:

bird on the wire 1

I then auditioned some fabrics to go with it.  I started with a black fabric that I had gelli printed with golds and copper Lumiere Paint, added some rich, rust, hand dyed velvet and slate silk georgette.

bird on the wire 2

I stitched the power poles onto the background surface, put some gold/orange novelty yarn into the bobbin to ‘couch’ the electrical wires, created a focal point bird silhouette on the ground and three, ephemeral, transparent birds flying in the top right corner.  Basic quilting carries the eye along the line of the power poles.

bird on the wire 3

I am tempted to put two more silk georgette birds in the top left, but am resisting that for now.

Incorporating Gelli Printing into Quilts

31 08 2013

I love creating my own fabric, whether that is by painting or dyeing and it is great to be able to use one off fabrics in projects.  That way you know no one will ever have anything like what you do.  Sometimes I meet in the middle of the unique one off and the commercial by incorporating elements of both.  Today I have taken some fabrics I monoprinted with the Gelli Plate and then stencilled the fore ground and incorporated them into some very basic patchwork using batiks and hand dyes.  The stencils are both commercially available.  The feather is from The Crafter’s Workshop and the ballerina is a Stencil Girl stencil.  Both will be very recogniseable in a range of different projects.  The batiks are Tulis Textile fabrics and the hand dyes, all my own.


This first one is monprinted and stenciled then stitched together with Tulis Textile Batiks.  Here is some detail of the priniting:


This second one is long and skinny.  I see it as a great growth chart or to decorate a narrow and long space.  Not that it will be either of those things, but it will be lovely as a simple demonstration for the Show stand or the Pop Up Classes.


And here is some detail:


I love this stencil.  One more sample to put together with Gelli printed backgrounds and then I can move onto something else.  What do you think?

12 Days of Christmas Project 6 – Painted objects – Lumiere and Shiva Stiks

11 12 2011


I have two projects, either of which that I wanted to use today but neither are quite there yet.  One because I can’t find the tool I need to finish it off.  Very annoying.  So, I am going to show you a super dooper quick and easy way to personalise and upgrade items you might have around the home or buy from the shops.  You probably have done something like this at some stage, but I want to run a brief primer on using paint or Shiva with a stencil to transform bland to fabulous.

All you need to do this is a stencil; some paint or Shiva Stiks;  either a foam brush or a stencil brush; newspaper to protect your surface; some sticky tape and items to stencil.  In this exercise, I used a hand dyed baby romper, a cotton apron and an oven mitt (finished above).  I have also stenciled onto bags, shirts, jeans, scarves and of course just onto fabric in the past.

Lets start with the paint.  To stencil, you don’t want a runny paint.  If it is too liquid, the colour will run under the stencil and you will lose the integrity of the design. I have used Metallic Gold Lumiere paint in two of the samples below.

The stencil I used is one of the 12 inch Crafter’s Workshop stencil called Merry Doodles.

So to get started, you need to put some newspaper or plastic or junk mail down on your bench to protect it.  Paint is not fussy as to what it sticks to and will colour everything.  Also, with an item that has two layers like a Tshirt or a baby’s romper, you want to put a wad of paper between the two layers to prevent colour transfering right through.

Take your stencil and work out which designs or elements you want to use.  In the first instance, I just wanted the Christmas Tree.  So to make sure paint does not end up where you don’t want it, you need to ‘mask’ the areas around the tree.  I just use sticky tape for this.  Tear off small amounts and place the tape over the areas of stencil around the Tree.  If you look closely at the photo below, you will see tape on the stars, ornament to the right, the gift to the left and the holly below the tree.

Wet the foam brush and wring out so that it is damp, not wet and definitely not dripping.  You want to create a bit of surface tension with the water so that the paint sits on the surface rather than get sucked all the way into the foam.  Dab a small amount of paint on the brush and carefully brush over the stencil, following the lines of the stencil.  Too rigourous an action will lift the stencil and leave paint where you don’t want it.

I like to hold the stencil down near where I am working to help keep the paint in the spaces, not under the stencil.

Once the whole area is well covered lift the stencil off cleanly.  Don’t drag it or you will smudge the paint.

Leave the paint to dry and then give it a good iron to heat set.

Neither the romper nor the apron has a perfect stencil, but it really does not make that much difference.  I find I have to do two or three stencils before I get my hand in with the right weight in using the paint and brush so if you do want a perfect transfer, practice a couple of time before starting on the items you will give away.

Here are the ornaments on the cotton apron.

When finished, wash the stencil and your brush in warm water and leave to dry.

Now lets look at the Shiva Stik.

Shiva is a high quality pigment in a wax and linseed oil ‘stik’.  They are designed for use on textiles, do not change the hand of the fabric and are colourfast when dry and cured (heat set).  The strength of Shiva Stiks is that they self seal so will not dry out significantly in your cupboard.  BUT that means that the first thing you must do is take the skin off before using them.

I have a heap of ends and well loved stiks that have been part of class sets.  Literally 1000’s of people have used some of these stiks and I have retired them from classes, but although they look shocking, they still work beautifully.

Here it is with the outer skin mostly removed.

I use a stencil brush with the shiva.

Get your stencil, mask around the area you are going to use and I also stick the stencil in place so it does not shift.

Rub the stencil brush over the exposed Shiva stik to transfer colour onto the brush and then, again following the lines of the stencil, brush on to your back ground.  Use firm strokes, but still be careful of getting under the stencil.  You will probably need to apply more colour onto your brush as you go.  Keep going until you have an even coverage over the whole area.

Gently lift the stencil away.  Leave the Shiva to dry for a day or two.  Once touch dry, iron and it will be colourfast forever.

To clean up the Shiva you need something that breaks down oils.  I rub dishwashing liquid into the brush and once all the way through wash out in warm water.  Sometimes you need to do this more than once.  Spray and wipe or warm soapy water can be used to wash your stencil.

Here is the finished oven mitt again.

12 Days of Christmas – Day 3 – Hand Painted Scarves

8 12 2011

Today’s project is literally an ‘oh my goodness, I have an hour to go to the Christmas party and no gift’ gift.  Very quick and easy and can also be adapted to many items other than scarves.

This project uses paints to alter the colour of and/or embellish a scarf.  In the pictures below, I have used Dye Na Flow paint in the first example and Lumiere paint in the second, but use what ever fabric paints you have.  Fabric paint is great in that it does not need to be ‘fixed’ and can go on any fabric, whether natural or man made, light and flimsy or solid like denims and cords.

Dye Na Flow is a semi transparent paint, so it blends and creates layers like a dye can.  Lumiere is an opaque, metallic or opalescent paint.  You can’t see through it to the background so it is sensational for covering patterns or colours you don’t like.  Now, I am not encouraging you to ‘regift’ per se, but if you have a fabric item that you don’t like the colour of or you want to change the look of it in other ways, fabric paints are your answer.  Or if you pick up bargains at the second hand shops, fabric paint can be a great way to modernise or refresh an item.  I am barely scratching the surface with these two examples.  A little imagination and a few tubs of paint and you could have a whole new wardrobe in a matter of hours without leaving the house.

Anyway, to the projects.  In this first one, I have used a raw silk scarf as the base, but you can use anything.  Don’t forget, synthetics, cottons, silks, blends.  Paint will stick to it all.

I sought a blended finish, so worked on a wet scarf scrunched in a bowl.  If you want colour to stay seperate, work on a dry scarf, have the scarf open and laid out and control the amount of colour you add.

So, I wet the scarf thoroughly and wrung it out so that it was wet but not drippey and popped it in a small bowl.

I then selected three colours of Dye Na Flow paint; orange, yellow and purple.  I was after a rust orange, with a hint of brown/purple through it.

Pour a small amount of the first colour over the scrunched scarf.

Pour some of the second colour over the top.  You will get blending starting to happen straight away.

Finally add the third.  Remember this is not how this is going to end up as the colours are going to blend into each other because it is so wet.  If I wanted this look, I needed to use a different method.  Poke and prod it a bit to make sure there is colour everywhere then hang it somewhere to dry.  Hang it outside on grass ideally, paint will stain concrete, carpet, tiles, your feet and everything else it comes in contact with.

Once it is dry, give it an iron to heat set it. Here is my finished piece.  You can use this as a base and put more paint on, embellish, needle felt, bead etc or you can use it as is.

I lost a lot more of the purple than I was expecting so I will probably go over and add a bit more.


The second project started as a hand dyed scarf which I just wanted to add a bit of zing to.  I used the Lumiere paints and a wet sea sponge to add splotches of textural colour and shine all over the scarf.  Again, you can do this on any fabric.  Put some news paper, plastic or other similar thing down to protect your table surface.

You only need a tiny bit of paint to get started.  Wet your sea sponge and wring it out.  If you work with a dry sponge, all your paint will end up in the centre of the sponge, not on the surface where you want it to sit.

Now, just ignore the change of paint colour from this photo to the next.  I could put it down to lighting, but I don’t think you would believe me.

Lightly dab the sponge in the paint and with a light hand, dab this across your scarf.  Do a couple of practice dabs on the edge of the bowl or a piece of fabric or paper.

Sponge randomly over the whole surface.  You will see the texture of the sponge transfering with the paint.  Also because you have a bit of water now being added, you will get a slight splitting of the paint which in itself creates an interesting texture.  Keep going until you are happy with the surface coverage.

Hang this out to dry.  It won’t be as runny as the first one, so you are less likely to get paint everywhere but still think about where you hang it.  Don’t hang a painted item on the line next to your good work gear (or worse, your partners good work gear) on a windy day.  Paint will spread while it is wet.

Once dry, iron again to heat set and you are ready to go.  Again this can just be the first stage of a more embellished piece but it will look pretty smart at that Christmas party secret santa as is.

This was a way easy project.  The next few will be a bit more complex than the first three.  We are moving into the weekend and I figure you will have more time on your hands or at least that is my story and I am sticking to it.  Also, I am building a bit in the complexity so you can choose the effort you want to put in as we go.  I hope you are enjoying this series.



Painted lutradur

23 07 2011

From this

to this:

The photo does not really do it justice.  The piece has a lot of complexity and depth.  I have painted the heavy weight lutradur with Dye Na Flow.  As the Dye Na Flow is semi transparent, you get lots of blending and layers being created.

This is the last component of the kits for the Lutradur Mixed Media class I am running each day at the Melbourne Craft and Quilt Fair next week.


Painted fabric, more lutradur

3 01 2011

I had another fun day playing with more Angelina and Lutradur elements.  I put together the pieces from yesterday.  Here is some detail:

Today I have made some more ‘bits’ as samples but have also been experimenting with painting fabric.

Discharged and hand painted fabric.

I have left this large, so sorry if it takes a while to download, but I wanted you to be able to see the detail.  Love it.  I will be repeating this one in meterage I think.  If you and your friends would like to learn how to do this and other amazing things with paint, you only have to ask.

I am so happy the post office is open tomorrow.  I have a heap of mail to get out – two big boxes!

Finally! My Screens are ready.

31 07 2010

I wish I had twice as much time in every day.  I never have enough.  So, invariably, things I intend to do take longer than I expect. 

I have had a series of ready made screeen prints on the drawing board for a long time.  I ordered the raw materials I needed about three months ago, and I finally got everything in the last week.  I have ten ‘textures’ ready to go with ten ‘botanicals’ still in progress.  Last night I burned about 100 screens.  Today I made some samples.  Here are a couple of photos of my two favourites.

Triangle Tangle

I used Lumiere Paints on all of the samples over one of my hand painted fabrics.

I think the “Matchsticks” are really cool and will be using these a lot.

Matchsticks twice - two different colours

Here I ‘screened’ Matchsticks once with the dark blue and then threw some Citrene over the blue, so I got a blend of the two colours during the second ‘screen’.

A mess of matchsticks

This is matchsticks repeated about 6 times with different coloured paint.  Love it.  What do you think.

Techniques from Jane Davila’s Surface Design Essentials on YouTube

21 07 2010

C&T Publishing have sent me the following link to You Tube. Jane Davila on YouTube  The video demonstrates several techniques that are in her current surface design book. It is worth haveing a look at the different effects you can achieve with paint, inks and other surface design products.  The video on YouTube runs for just over 5 minutes.

I have the book and her DVD at Unique Stitching if you want to see more.

If there are any C&T Publishing titles you would like me to carry, just let me know. I place an order with them pretty much fortnightly.