Christmas Prep – Hand Painted Fabric

For a special touch to some gifts I’m making this Christmas I thought I would use some hand painted fabric in them. One of the best things I did this year was discover Liquid Radiance so why not incorporate it into this years gifts.


Not giving too much away as to what I am making but each item will contain a zipper. I tried to paint the fabrics so that it would match back to the zipper colour I’ll be using.


The ones to match the orange zippers are a little light but they still do look orange and not yellow. The bottle of orange I have mixed up is very pale so I added extra red and yellow as I was painting the fabric then blended it in. I salted all the fabrics with episom salts. The salt markings are very obvious on these.


The purples turned out really well. From memory I think I added a bit of few drops of the pink to the fabric as I was painting it as well as some red I think. Once again the salt markings are very striking on these.


On the pinks I used mostly pinks with a touch of red and yellow. On the pinks the salt markings weren’t so obvious which just proves how random salting is. You can’t fully control how the salt will react and the patterns it will form.


On one of the pieces I’ll admit that perhaps I added too much red and yellow to the mix and it turned more orange. This isn’t too bad at least I know now to add a dash of pink to my orange mix next time to make it more deeper. The photo doesn’t really show it but there are strong patches of pink in it. Alternatively the reverse side of the fabric is a lighter shade of pink so I could use that as my right side. There are no rules so you use what ever side you want.

Because I hadn’t painted fabric in a few months I had forgotten how fun and quick it is. I only did 2 pieces at time and left them to dry overnight as I was limited to space but I could’ve easily done them all in one hit had I taken over the entire space of my spare room. Each piece started out as piece unbleached calico and is now a unique one of a kind piece of fabric. So easy.


Liquid Radiance Dry Fabric

LR Sun Printing

Last weekend I played around colouring my fabrics with liquid radiance paints and leaving them to dry all week. On Friday we had a sunny day so I was able to try heliography or sun printing on some fabric. I painted up the fabric with my colours. On the small piece I used the same grid I used last weekend this time on a purple. On the larger piece I placed foil stars all over the fabric after I coloured it. I placed the board out in the sun for a couple of hours to dry.

LR Pole Fabric Dry

All week I had been watching my pieces dry. The piece I had on the pole I took out of the external pipe after a few days as I realised it just wasn’t going to dry in there. It was good that I had it in there for the first day or so as some excess colour did seep onto the plastic I had it standing on. It was the size of the larger pipe so I don’t even know how that happened. I was so happy when I unwrapped it from the pole. I love the swirl pattern that the twine made. The darker colour was the external layer that was exposed to the air. The experiment worked.

LR Scrunchies Dry 1

This is one of my scrunchies. I think it was the one that had more purple in it. The print is like shades of glass crystals. When you get up close to it you can see even more.

LR Scrunchies Dry 2

This one I added teal too when I painted it. Again you see the slivers of colour on it. You don’t get the full impact of these scrunchies until you iron them. When I first opened the pattern was there but looked messy. Once you iron it you can see all the details. Some areas are really obvious some are just subtle.

LR Pleats Dry

When this pleated piece was drying you could really see the colour change. At first it was light but as it dried the outer layer that I could see became dark. The top of this was the layer I could see. The colours are great I like how there are strips but they aren’t uniform in size or colour. Some lines are thick some lines are thin. Where the fabric is creased you can get a change in colour you didn’t know had happened. I was hoping for streaky and I got streaky.

LR Pink Epsom Salt Dry

The salted pieces I did were very dramatic to watch. At first they weren’t doing a lot but then they really started to dry and you could see the patterns develop. This is the pink piece that has some orange in it. You can’t see the orange colour at all. I wasn’t expecting it to go this dark colour but I really like it. The Epsom salts created little pattern waves on the fabric.

LR Puprle Epsom Salts Dry

The purple piece is even more dramatic in the patterns. You can see more of the orange in this one. I like the pattern that Epsom salts randomly formed. When you salt fabric you can not guarantee what it will look like. At the workshops I did I’ll admit I wasn’t a big fan of salting the fabric but I really like it. You can’t control it so its is kind of fun.

LR Mop Up Rock Salt Dry

This was the mop up piece I did with rock salt. Again it was doing nothing as it was drying then it all started happening. The patterns are more subtle with rock salt as the crystals are larger. It adds texture and pattern to the fabric. You can’t tell this was my scrap piece as it looks just as good as the other fabrics.

LR Grids Dry

The pink grid was the one I wasn’t sure if it would work however it worked fantastically. My original plan was to do the purple one inside too but I took advantage of the sunshine and did it outside. It was a good experiment to see how the same item worked with heliography and air exclusion. Both look brilliant. When you dry things in the sun they are brighter as they dry quicker so the colour is more intense however I can’t see much difference between the two.

LR Sun Printing Dry

My star piece which I dried in the sun turned out good. Not all the stars showed colour so I think next time I need to push them onto my fabric more. I left this in the sun for nearly 4 hours when really it only needed 2-3. In the end I had a bird lay down on it as wild birds are always on my table but by that stage it was dry so no harm done to the bird or my fabric 🙂 I can only image the fabric was nice and warm from the sun so he thought it was a nice resting point. The paints are non toxic so he would’ve been ok anyway I was worried he might have star stuck to his belly but he was fine.

I had fun experimenting with the different techniques. I think I haven’t watered my colours down enough so that is why I’m seeing big chunks of pinks and purples when I placed them onto the fabric. I’ll just add more water to the bottles they are in to dilute them more. It has given me some ideas on how I want to colour the pieces for the bag I wish to make. I’ll have to write all my ideas down so I can make a plan and start work on it. I have plenty of fabric now to make my tea set. I’ll have to cut out all my interfacings and see how they will fit onto the fabric I have.




Liquid Radiance Play

This morning was really the first time I’ve had a chance to play with my Liquid Radiance paints at home. I did colour a few bits of fabric very basically after the workshops but didn’t use them for the project I had in mind and I have used the Lustre paints but I haven’t really played with the different techniques.

LR Pole Fabric

My aim this morning was to paint all the fabric for the tea set I’m making. I mostly worked with pinks and purples as all little girls want everything pink and purple. The first thing I tried was painting up a long piece of fabric in basic strips.

LR Pole Tie

I then wrapped it around some narrow pvc piping and tied it with sisal twine. I’ve decided I don’t like sisal twine it sheds everywhere, never mind it seemed to do the job.

LR Pole Drying

To dry it I have placed it inside a large pvc pipe so that it can stand up right all be at an angle. I’m going to leave it for a number of days and it should dry. I’m hoping to get different patterns on the fabric from the twine but also from the different layers as it was wrapped around the pipe.

LR Scrunchies

The second thing I did was a couple of scrunchies. I painted my first one with pinks and purples and squeezed the excess out (remembering excess is the enemy when working with Liquid Radiance) I used my second scrunchie to mop up the excess and then added additional paint to colour it. Once I finished each piece I scrunched it up or “tickled it” so it was a smaller piece. I’m hoping to get a crystal type pattern on the fabric from this technique.

LR Pleats

The third thing I tried was pleating the fabric once I’d painted it. One of the scrunchies I’d added in some teal to the mix so on this piece I used teal and pink so it would tie in with the other pieces. I folded the fabric so it ended up being a narrow piece. My pleats are uneven but I don’t care I’m hoping for a streaky line finish to this fabric

LR Pink Epsom Salt

The fourth thing I tried was working with Epsom salts. I coloured a mostly pink piece of fabric with a little light orange thrown in too then added Epsom salts.

LR Puprle Epsom Salts

I did the same thing with a purple and orange piece. The salt draws the paint to it and you get random patterns from it. The larger the salt the more dramatic the pattern. I’ve never used Epsom salts before so I don’t know what the pattern will look like or even if I have used enough of the salt to create patterns.

LR Air Exclusion Test Pink Square

The firth thing I tried and I’m not entirely sure this will work but I painted a small square of fabric and placed an item with holes in it over the top. I’m hoping this will work as the air exclusion technique with the pattern forming on the fabric but I don’t know if my plastic piece is heave enough. If I did this on a sunny day I know it would work via heliography but it can’t hurt to try. I found this piece of plastic when I was cleaning out my kitchen cupboards and knew I would be able to use it somehow.

LR Mop Up Rock Salt

Throughout painting the different fabrics I was blotting out the excess with mostly one main piece of fabric. I did have a second piece which has a tiny tinge of colour to it which I’m going to use again. After I’d finished the main piece of fabric I’d used was fully of nice purplely pink colour. I’m hoping to use this mop up piece in my project as it looks like a good piece of fabric and its in the tones of all the pieces I created. I decided to rock salt it. Rock salt crystals are much larger then Epsom and I thought it would give me a chance to see the differences.

LR Drying

At the moment my spare room is my drying zone. I will let all the pieces dry in here. They shouldn’t take long to dry so maybe by tomorrow afternoon or Monday they should all be ok. The scrunchies, pleated and pole will take longer as the fabric isn’t flat. Either way they should be ready by next weekend when I want to start my project.

To be honest I had kind of being making excuses not to get in and play around with my paints as I wasn’t sure what I was going to do or how things would turn out. Once I got in and started playing it was easy. Now to wait until they all dry 🙂 Oh by the way sorry if some of the pics are a little grainy my camera sometimes doesn’t play nicely when the flash isn’t on



Overlocking Your Edges Pre-Wash

So in the great debate to pre-wash fabric or not I fall on the pre-washing side of the fence. I also soak in hot water then wash on a normal cycle. One downfall to pre-washing is that your fabrics tend to become a bird’s nest in the machine as they tangle about and all the cut ends shred. Recently I heard about a simple tip to avoid this…. Overlock (serge) your edges before pre-washing! Of course what a simple idea.

Overlocking Pre-Wash

Last week I purchased some new fabric (for a project I’m making and yes I did need it as I didn’t have this fabric in my stash) I decided to try the overlocking idea out. The fabrics were denim and polar fleece. I ran the 2 cut ends of each piece through the overlocker which only took a couple of minutes to do. I then soaked the two together in the washing machine and later washed as normal.

Overlocking Post-Wash

The denim came out crinkled like it usually does but it wasn’t twisted in a heap like normal. I didn’t have to rip apart spiders webs just to stretch it out for the line. The fleece was fantastic. Previously if I washed anything with cut polar fleece I would find fleece fur balls all over it but this time there was nothing. Also my carpet would be covered in fur balls too but not this time.

So I can say after testing this idea out of overlocking the edges before pre-washing it is absolutely worth doing. It does take a couple of minutes to do but the end result is worth it. I also tried the idea out on a fat quarter and again it was great with no twists and tangles when I took it from the machine. This is going to be my way of doing things now. Also it is great incentive to clear the top of my overlocker cabinet now as I will be able to use that straight away instead of carrying my overlocker to my cutting table each time.

Workshop Fabulous Fabrics: Advanced

Day 2 of the workshop with Anne Mitchell from Genesis Creations was all other techniques we could use in colouring fabric. After day 1 we had an understanding on how to apply Liquid Radiance and the basic ways to colour fabrics with it so now it was time to learn more advanced ways to treat the fabric to give us different results.

Silk Mop Up

Silk Mop Up

Our first task for the day was learning how to use a spray bottle to apply the Liquid Radiance. You mix up the paint into a plastic spray bottle and squirt it onto the fabric. You can colour large areas with this much quicker than other methods. I was expecting it to be messy but your controlling where you are spraying so when it came to doing it on our projects we were able to spray them inside with our fabric on a towel.

Batik With Wax

We made batik fabric in 2 ways. Before the workshop I wasn’t a fan of batik and to be honest even now I still don’t like the ones I see in the shops. However I loved creating our own batiks. I guess it was cause I could create the pattern I wanted and make it look the way I like things. The first way we did it was with soy wax. We did it over a number of hours building up layers of wax and colouring them in between in the form of spraying them with colour. We created the designs on our fabric using objects and shapes you would find around the house or foam stamps. My favourite was the grid in the middle which is a potato masher.

FF Batik Wax Mop Up

We used a folded layer of fabric to mop up the excess after spraying each layer. We sandwiched the fabric between the mop up pieces each time to removed the excess. I really like the mop up from this one, it reminds me of doing butterfly paintings as a child.

FF Batik Water Soluble

The second way we did batik was with applying a product called water soluble resist to silk over a stencil cut out. We also freehand drew some shapes. When it was dry we painted it with Liquid Radiance, where the resist was the colour never took. Once the paint dries your able to washout the resist and your pattern remains.

We also use the resist product the day before to draw patterns onto our fabrics.

Another thing we learnt was how to make a salt sandwich. You colour 2 pieces of fabric than place salt on one piece before lying the second piece on top. Over time the salt makes random patterns on the layers of fabric. You can remove the layer of salt when they are nearly dry before rinsing when they are fully dry.

Unfortunately I think I rinsed my fabric when it was still wet so I lost half my colour in the end. Oh well lesson learnt make sure your fabric is fully dry.

FF Marbling

We had a go at marbling. Firstly we used a powdered medium which was a thick gelatinous consistency. The colours were really clear and bright when you placed in the solution after you made your pattern. The solution didn’t go grey and murky even with all the different colours added to it. If you were really into marbling this would be a great thing to use.

FF Shave Foam Marbling

The second way we did marbling with using shaving cream. You make a base up of shaving cream then apply your colours on top of that. You can get some really pretty colours on your fabric with this. It does go murky after a bit but if your using the colours you like I think it adds to them. I decided to try it on socks after I did my fabric, by that stage the foam was getting murky but it was a blue murky colour so I actually like it. Shaving cream is in expensive so if you wanted crisp colours all the time you would just squirt out another base.

FF Discharge

One of the more unusual techniques we were taught was called discharge dying. This isn’t what it sounds like (working in the medical field the name grosses me out) I like to refer to it as bleaching or stripping as essentially that is what you are doing. You spray or paint dark fabric with bleach to remove the colour. Once you have finished you neutralise the fabric to stop the bleaching process from continuing and then colour the fabric if that is what you wish or if it looks nice leave it with no colour. Despite the official name of this I love it. I had to laugh here I am doing this to fabric on purpose and years ago this would happen to my mum’s work uniforms by accident. In the workshop we wrapped marbles in our fabric before stripping the colour, it created fantastic patterns. We never got to colour our fabric on the day but it would be easy to with a spray bottle.

FF Luste Play

We experiment with Lustre paints. Lustres have a metallic sheen to them and can be painted on over stencils to fabric or use with just a paint brush. I have an idea on how to use them already. I think they are lovely.

FF Stenciling

By the end of the 2 days I had so many ideas ticking through my head. I have at least 3 projects in mind in which I’m going to colour my own fabrics or use the Lustre paints. I’ve got ideas on how to use the colours in future. Sometimes you go to workshops like these and its all fun and games whilst your there but when you come home you don’t do any thing with them. This isn’t going to be one of those times. I’m not going to colour every single piece of my own fabric on every project (but you could) but I am going to incorporate these into my sewing and crafting. I’m going to experiment and colour bits and pieces for different projects. Over the 2 days there were some techniques I really likes, others that weren’t really for me. There are techniques I haven’t even tried yet but I have read about in some handbooks Anne sells. The workshops opened a whole new world to me. Now its time to play.



Workshop Fabulous Fabrics: Basics

Possible Ideas

Possible Ideas

Last weekend I attended a 2 day workshop with Anne Mitchell owner of Genesis Creations. Back in February I saw Anne demonstrate Liquid Radiance, a fabric paint that is similar to a fabric dye but it isn’t a dye. Liquid Radiance is non toxic and Australian made and owned. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it and couldn’t wait for the work shop. Day 1 was all about learning the basics.

FF Splot & Scrunch Before

Salted Splot & Scrunch Before

The first thing we were taught was how to apply the paint to the fabric. You can dap it on in sections and spread with a paint brush or use the even more handy method (excuse the pun) the 5 finger foam brush which is essentially your hand in a rubber glove. Liquid Radiance is very concentrated and you only need a tiny amount to give you coverage. If you use too much of it not only are you wasting the products your actually making your fabric look dull and have a plastic feel as Anne drums into you “Excess is the Enemy” After you apply the paint the way you handle the fabric next will determine what patterns you get.

FF Splot & Scrunch After

Splot & Scrunch After

If you apply salt to your painted fabric a reaction occurs as it dries and it draws the dye and makes patterns. Different size salt such as rock salt or pool salt will form different patterns. If you use salt you need to rinse your fabric well before you sew with it

FF Bottle Wrap

You can wrap your fabric around objects such as bottles or pipes (even a tree) and use rubber bands or strings to create patterns.

FF Socks Before

We made a funky pair of socks by sticking the coloured socks over the end of a empty bottle and scrunch them up.

FF Socks Dry

One of my favourite things was heliography where you place objects on your fabric to create patterns. You place it out in the sun to dry. Afterwards you remove the objects and the shapes still appear on the fabric.

Another method we tried called air exclusion is where you crumple the fabric up and stop the air from getting to it. Once the fabric is dry and pulled open it gives a gorgeous crystal effect.

FF Scrunching

Other ways to create patterns in the fabric is to wrap objects in them and place the paint over the top. We tried this with marbles. The colours I chose don’t really show how effective this can be. You can form flowers or sun bursts if you choose the right colours.

FF Marbles

One thing I was surprised about was how quickly things were drying inside. Pieces that were lying flat were dry by the next morning (or even later that day) The socks were dry overnight. The more crumbled or scrunched an item the longer it took to dry however it didn’t take too long. I did have some pieces drying for a day or so when I got home.

FF Drying Items

With Liquid Radiance you do need to heat set the items. This can be done with an iron or for non ironable items a hairdryer. I ironed them when I got home. Once they are heat set they are fine to be washed. It was the first time I’ve ironed socks but yep even they needed to be heat set.

FF Helio Ironed

As mentioned too much paint in the fabric is bad so you remove the excess paint from each item with another piece of fabric. These pieces of fabric sometimes turn out so beautiful and can be used as complementing fabrics in their own right. This blue fabric is the mop up piece from the socks. I left it to dry scrunched up

Socks Mop Up

Socks Mop Up

Other time the mop up fabrics turn out ugly. It really depends on if your wanting to use them as a feature piece in your work or if your treating them as a rag cloth. This piece was a rag cloth for me but I guess it would make a nice piece if it was cut up.

FF Mop Up Ugly

I had so much fun on day 1 of the workshop. I must warn you it is a busy day as Anne has so much she wants to teach you and is so passionate about it. She gives you a list of items to bring to the workshop and if you have prepped them like she said it makes for a smooth day. At the end of the day your brain is buzzing with ideas it is fantastic. She gives you lots of hand outs so you can remember how to do things when you get home.



Melly and Me Splurge

I know this year I’m focusing on sewing what I have in my current stash before going out and buying more fabric unnecessarily but when I got the opportunity to buy some Melly and Me Stretch Knit fabric I jumped on the chance.

Melly and Me Stretch Knit

If you have read any of my toy posts  you will know that I am a big Melly and Me fan and have made many of her toys. Only just recently I used some of her fabric to make a taggie as a Christmas gift. By chance earlier this week as I was flicking through Facebook I read Melly was doing a clean out of her studio and was putting some items for sale in her store including bolt ends of knits. I was lucky enough to get all the knits she had left. I’m not normally a fabric hog but I couldn’t resist snapping up all she had on offer. I have wanted this stretch knit for so long. In total there is over 6m of fabric. The large piece at the bottom is one large 3m piece, the 4 on top range in size but add up to 3m or so. The fabric is a cotton knit and is so soft. At home I live in pyjama bottoms in both summer and winter so I can see myself making them with these. I don’t care if I have patchwork pj bottoms they will be comfy.