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Author Topic: what is the best thing for painting fabric?  (Read 1812 times)
JingleJoe
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« on: November 19, 2010, 09:46:24 pm »

I want to draw something on fabric and make it as permanent as I can, I experimented with some acrylic ink today but it didnt work as well as I'd hoped. So I come to you chaps and chappettes with the query; What is the best thing for colouring and making a relatively detailed mark on fabric? 

To elaborate, I'm drawing a map of sorts Wink There's a few reasons I want to do it on fabric; reason the first, It's old fashioned. Reasons the rest, it can be rolled up and folded without damage (unlike paper which creases and eventually tears), this makes it easy to transport and stuff into pockets or bags while finding my way through the dungeon.
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itsakobold
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2010, 10:17:13 pm »

I've had some luck in the past, and have worked with others who have had better luck, painting directly with dye.
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Nikolai Castillon
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2010, 10:24:53 pm »

A number of companies make fabric paints which I have used over the years to good effect. Deka and fablon spring to my memory. Try those as search terms on the ether
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Nikolai
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Narsil
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2010, 10:42:28 pm »

The problem with inks is that they tend to bleed into the fabric so you loose definition. One solution is to prime the fabric, which is exactly what is done with canvases for painting. The traditional technique for canvas is to size it with rabbit skin glue although PVA is a suitable modern alternative and then apply a pigmented primer, usually acrylic or oil based.

For your application it may be that the size is enough on its own

You will probably want to staple the fabric to a board before you start to allow the shrinkage of the size and primer to stretch it flat rather than crumpling and wrinkling as it dries.

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JingleJoe
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« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2010, 01:24:22 am »

On closer inspection of the Acrylic ink, it's not too bad. I already have plenty so I might just go with this for now, all the tips are taken note of though Smiley

I will look into some primer, rabbit skin glue you say Mr. Narsil? Looks like the sort of thing that could work but how well would it take ink? And does it affect the colour of the canvas/fabric as I rather like the murky brown colour of this fabric I'm using.

I'll do some googling of these fabric paints and dyes too Smiley
« Last Edit: November 20, 2010, 01:26:22 am by JingleJoe » Logged
Narsil
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« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2010, 02:11:55 am »

There are a few different alternative sizes suitable for different media, rabbit skin for oil-based and PVA or acrylic-based for acrylics.

Its got a sort of murky brown colour itself, it might darken the fabric a bit but it essentially dries clear in thin layers.

Generally, for painting you'd add a primer (usually white but occasionally black) on top of the size to provide a good surface to take paint, allowing control of the texture and porosity of the surface, however since you want to keep the basic properties of the cloth this will be unnecessary.

With acrylic ink PVA might be the best alternative, although as this is a fairly unconventional application a certain degree of experimentation might be in order.

A further possibility is to use paper and then treat it with size after you've drawn on it, which should considerably toughen it up. I've used shellac for this before with good results, although shellac is only suitable if you're drawing media isn't soluble in alcohol.

On a side note, historically maps printed on silk have been issued to aircrews etc as aids to escape and evasion. These were usually screen printed.

Silk painting is also practiced, originating in the far east IIRC, but this doesn't avoid the 'bleeding' effect but rather uses it in a similar way to watercolour washes.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2010, 02:50:15 pm by Narsil » Logged
JingleJoe
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« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2010, 02:21:30 pm »

Experimentation is nigh Smiley
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sidecar_jon
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« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2010, 03:57:53 pm »

I drew a few t-shirts using just "permanent marker" pens aloooong time ago, the wife's one is still visible though a bit faded after maybe ten years and all the washes in between.
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Mr. Boltneck
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« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2010, 06:46:31 pm »

I am not sure about what sort of fabric you are using, but based on other things I've tried, you may want to go with Narsil's suggestion of using a size. This is the processing step that turns paper from a blotter into a medium usable for writing, drawing, and painting. You may want to try stretching the fabric on a frame and giving it a coat or two of clear gelatin solution. Ordinary unflavored gelatin dissolved in hot water works well, or if you need as little color as possible, consider picking up a bag of empty pharmaceutical gelatin capsules and using those. A sized surface should let you draw with a good grade of india ink, or with colored inks like Winsor & Newton or Pelikan.
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Johanvonred
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2011, 11:10:45 am »

For fabric :
1. decide what k. of fabric - cotton, silk, mixed ( for exp. spinnerate silk, polycotton -hope thats english name Smiley )
2. fabric density - well, this if for experience. less density, dye will "merge" and give "leaf " effect.(on silk especially ),but very good for details.To much density and dye will not "get" onto fabric.rain drop effect.But very good for screen prints.
3. Colors - generally acrylic.water or other base.
4. surface to print ( smaller, easier with pencils, small brushes ect. ) bigger - You maight start with scree, than add details.
5. computer Prints - for cotton fabric, when cut into A4 formats ( depend what printer You have ) and grounded, find permanent ink heads. Very good results.
6.Heat print ( for thin natural fabric only ) old smart way. Oxidize fabric and overheat. Easiest - with lemon juice Smiley , try first with sheet of paper.write something with juice and  iron with "cotton" temperature.Writting shall apper in dark brown.Be carefull.
ALSO -find some TYVEK paper, You maight be surprissed with result. You can even use domestic  ink printer.

Best way- try and experiment  Smiley
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VampirateMace
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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2011, 01:26:52 am »

I know you've already decided, but you could also use:

Acrylic Paint. If using acrylic paint, you'll probably need to thin it and set it with an iron if the fabric is ever to be washed or completely submerged. Light rain won't hurt it.

You could also get some silk-screen/block printing ink. Again if it is to be washed or submerged it'll need to be set, this time with a special liquid that's mixed into the ink.
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The Squire
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2011, 02:46:54 am »

Rabbit skin size is for oil painting and, in the old days was followed by several coats of white lead oil gesso. It is dangerous and labor intensive, but it was the way Leonardo did it. These days, the easiest and best way is to use commercial acrylic gesso. it goes on easily, will not chalk up, and sizes at the same time. If you want the cloth to remain pliable, dilute the gesso by half and paint both sides or just dunk it in the liquid. You could add a small amount of raw umber to the dilution to color the cloth like old parchment. Then let dry.

As for colors, I always use regular acrylic artist paint. It should be fast to the cloth, but you could heat it to secure it further. Maybe just throw it in a hot dryer after it's well dried.

I am interested in your experiments. Let us know how it works
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« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2011, 10:34:05 pm »

I painted a chambray shirt with artist acrylics many years ago, seemed to work well and lasted through many washings. I therefore concur with this method , it is simple and easy to get. There are now textile acrylics for airbrushing which may be better suited, but likely more expensive.
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Calliope Hawthorn Dove
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« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2011, 10:31:27 pm »

I have painted with tempra, water colours and acrylic paints onto lightly gessoed and untreated cotton and polycotton with good success.

Recently, I discovered some old yellowed flipchart paper that was about to be binned, at work.  I rescued it and found that it holds together quite well and can be made to look quite like chamois.

It is easy surface to pencil sketch onto, finish design or map with ink, do a tea stain wash to age it.  Once dry use water colour markers to add colour.  Let dry.  Very lightly spray with budget aerosol hairspray to fix.   Let dry.  And scrunch up until nice and wrinkly. 
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MistressMagpie
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« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2011, 06:27:26 am »

So, if one sized a bit of fabric to prevent feathering, then did whatever decorating was called for in a waterproof ink, then washed the sizing out, would the pattern get washed away as well? Same with folding-- will the sizing crack and disrupt the image?

At the root: Will the ink penetrate the size to stain the fiber, or will it only color the sizing itself?
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Ravenson
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« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2011, 08:17:28 pm »

The best fabric paint I have found for use on unsealed fabric is LUMIERE or NEOOPAQUE by Jacquard.  They are acrylics work very nicely you will want to  heat -set them when the work is dry.    I have also found them to work very well on sealed ( GESSOed ) canvas and several other surfaces including Resin.
One think I like about them it that unless you go real think they do not change the Hand of the fabric much.
  Now on to sizeing the fabric and then washing out the size after using ink you will have to test it. It will all depend on what size you use.  In painting the ideal is to seal the canvas and stiffen it so the paint does not degrade the canvas over time and to give the paint a better surface to attach to. That is why you use Gesso.  For what your are doing I would prewash my fabric to remove and size left in the fabric from the factor and then dry and iron it.  Then tape it to a board to make sure it is flat and tight and paint on it with a good fabric paint (ink will bleed some) and then heat-set it. You could also use something like a sharply marker but it may fade over time.  Hope this helps.

Jeff
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Ravenson
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« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2011, 10:27:31 pm »

I just found a product in my local craft store today that seems perfect for what you are waning to do.  It is called NO-Flow By Jacquard here is a link to there page on it.  http://jacquardproducts.com/products/chemicals/noflow.php      From reading the bottle at the store it says you can wash it out of the fabric restoring the texture and hand of the fabric after you ink/paint has dried and been heat set or cured.  If you try it please let us know how it works out.

Jeff
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