Thursday, August 26, 2010

Simply Spray Fabric Paint: a tutorial

I recently applied for, and was awarded free Simply Spray Fabric Paint through Totally Tutorials, a great blog hosted by Dotty, that pairs sellers with persons like myself who are willing to write a tutorial in exchange for using their merchandise. I want to thank Dotty for all the hard work she does in the blogging community and for providing this unique opportunity. That means I get to try out some new-to-me products, while having fun experimenting. In exchange for the fabric paint, I will present four projects today. Feel free to double click on the images.

Supplies (Clockwise from upper left):
Plastic container for wrapping fabric (I ended up not using it)
Simply Spray Soft Fabric Paint
Low tack masking tape
Wax linen thread (left over from a previous project)
Rubber bands
Coffee (not necessary for the tutorial, but necessary for me)
Bed sheet (muslin or any white fabric could be substituted)
PVC Pipe
Scrap fabric for wiping up fabric paint
Something to cover your work surface
Not shown: ruler

Before I began, I removed the spray paint from their containers. You can see the blue safety tab is still on some of the cans in the first photo above. I read the back of the containers and learned the paint is non-toxic and non-flammable. It is the only aerosol spray paint that can make that claim. Although I'm a "cool color" person and would have liked to see some green in the mix, I certainly can't complain with the nice selection I received.

In order to create this tutorial, I had to have fabric. My fabric for the first three projects was well-used white bed sheets I bought at the thrift store. I did not have to pre-wash these, but if you have purchased new fabric (sometimes called yardage) that is not labeled "prepared for dyeing" (PFD) or "ready to dye" (RTD), you should wash and dry it before you begin. Although you are technically not dyeing the fabric, removing the sizing, starches, and other finishes will provide a surface that will better accept the paint.

I began by snipping a piece of fabric at the 9 1/4" (0.2286 m) mark on the ruler. I then tore the fabric the entire length of the sheet. I found the middle of the strips, snipped, and tore each length approximately in half. Although the lengths varied, the widths of all these panels will be 9 1/4".

The first project is shibori dyeing. It is a modified arashi shibori. For this I used PVC pipe, low tack masking tape, and wax linen thread. I began by wrapping the fabric around a length of 1.5" (0.0381 m) PVC pipe. I held the fabric in place using low tack masking tape.

Once secure, I wrapped the wax linen thread around the fabric, which is wrapped around the circumference of the pipe.

After I had wrapped a manageable length, I pushed it tight against the taped end of the pipe.

It doesn't matter if the string is wrapped precisely or not. All you have to concern yourself with is keeping the string tight around the pipe. If it loosens, unwind and re-wrap.

Continue wrapping and pushing toward the taped end until you have reached the end of the fabric. Secure the fabric using the thread.

Although I did all my wrapping first, I will continue with this specific shibori technique.

Remove the blue protective tip on the top of the spray can and shake, shake, shake. Shake some more. Just like spray paint, you must be sure the fabric paint is well stirred. The little ball inside acts like a stirrer, just like spray paint. When you have shaken the can sufficiently, practice spraying a bit of paint onto your scrap clean-up fabric (or a piece of cardboard). It will help you decide how much trigger pressure you will need.

Now you can spray your first color. I chose cranberry. Pick up the pipe at the untaped end and turn as you spray, hopefully assuring even coverage.

As you can see, I used several colors for this first piece. I had read on the package that the colors were supposed to blend well, and I was hoping that would happen here. The colors I used for this are blue jay, deep purple, bright pink, and cranberry.

It took practically no time at all for the fabric paint to dry. However, after unwrapping the waxed linen thread, I was surprised the paint had not penetrated the folds better. I'm usually heavy handed with spray paint, but it appears I could have added more paint to this project.

For the second project, I used another PVC pipe, rubber bands, and a piece of fabric I folded in the center. For this technique, known as traditional arashi shibori, you begin by wrapping the fabric at least once around the pipe, keeping the folded edge at a 45 degree angle to the PVC pipe. It is important to always maintain this angle so you get the desired shibori effect. The patterns are always on a diagonal in traditional arashi shibori.

Tie one end of the fabric using a rubber band. Smooth the fabric again and check to make sure it is still at an angle to the pipe's edge. Continue wrapping until you reach the end of the pipe, then push the fabric toward the rubber band. Keep wrapping until all the fabric is wrapped and scrunched. Secure the second end with another rubber band.

For this project, I chose cranberry and black, hoping to get a nice maroon where the two colors mixed.

I sprayed, then remembered to lay my clean-up fabric under the piece. No sense wasting any of the paint.

Next I sprayed black, then more cranberry,

ending with black.

When the fabric was dry, I thought it looked rather dull and lifeless, so I decided to spray it again, this time using only the cranberry. I also thought by adding more paint, it would better reach the folded layer.

This is how the piece turned out. For some reason, the fabric paint didn't seep through to the second layer and it didn't make it to one end of the fabric. Although the diagonal designs are barely evident, you can see the interesting colors that came out of mixing only cranberry and black.

For the third technique, I began with one corner of a short length of fabric (bed sheet) and twisted until I was happy with the results. This is a modified tie-dye technique.

I tied the two ends together using a single rubber band, but you could use anything to tie the two ends together. Be sure you don't allow the fabric to untwist while tying it off.

I sprayed deep purple as my first color,

then sprayed blue jay for the second color, overlapping a bit as I sprayed.

I turned it over and sprayed even more colors until all the colors (deep purple, lavender, poppy red, bright pink, blue jay, and cranberry) except black had been used.

Although the design is not quite as exciting, I got decent coverage. I felt I got a bit heavy with the blue jay and bright pink, though.

Here are the three completed pieces flapping in the breeze,

and here they are from a different angle. Note how high the sun is now in the sky.

As mentioned previously, all the above used a type of shibori dyeing (with Simply Spray Fabric Paint). Shibori fabric is unique in that its patterns have soft, blurred edges. This is in sharp contrast to the precise edges created by resistance dyeing using stencils or masks.

For my final project, I used a child's tee that I purchased at the thrift store. I thought many people would like to know how the Simply Spray Fabric Paint worked on tee shirt material using masks.

To begin, be sure you protect the back of your project. Although I will be cutting my tee into pieces to be used for book covers, I still practiced safe measures. You could insert a piece of cardboard between the front and back to protect the back, but I folded my wipe-up fabric and placed it between the layers. Again, no sense in wasting paint.

Next, I added self adhesive masks. Similar to stencils, masks cover material (fabric, paper, etc.), while stencils expose material (design areas).

Begin by spraying your fabric paint off the piece and work your way onto the fabric. End off the fabric, also. Use your clean up fabric laid on a piece of cardboard for this.

I sprayed three times, but probably should have only sprayed once. First, I got too much paint which seeped under the mask in spots. Second, I continued the spray process, which caused the paint to leave drips. By continuing the spraying, I'm sure I also failed to put even pressure on the nozzle, something I believe I must work on if I am going to work with masks and stencils.

You can see how the paint crept under the masks, even though I thought I had them secured well.

Not to be deterred, I tried again, this time spraying only once on the back side of the tee. You can see how fine the spray is and also how I still got drips. This reinforces the fact that I need more practice using the aerosol sprayer, which is, in my opinion, much harder to use and control, than spray paint. Unlike spray paint, Simply Spray Fabric Paint leaves the fabric feeling soft and pliable.

One of the best things about these four projects is, I still have more Simply Spray Fabric Paint to play with, which means I will be experimenting more in the weeks to come. Because it got too hot outside to continue, I had to store my paint. Simply Spray Fabric Paint recommends you store it upside down with the nozzle submerged in water if you can't use the contents in one setting. I found that rather inconvenient, but certainly don't want to clog the nozzles.

I hope this tutorial gave you a few ideas for how you can use this Simply Spray Fabric Paint in less conventional ways than tie-dye (which is also a shibori technique).

Of course, my blog pick of the day is Simply Spray Fabric Paint. You will find all kinds of information there about this paint. Thanks Simply Spray Fabric Paint for your confidence in me. I appreciate it.

28 thoughtful remarks:

Annie said...

Thanks for the demo. How lovely to be able to play with new products for free.
A x

Diane said...

Great tutorial, Elizabeth! I'll never stop being amazed of all the wonderful products out there to help people with their art. The fabric turned out wonderfully--I love any tye dyed pattern.

Unknown said...

Thanks as always for your wonderful tutorials. I especially enjoyed the break down for the process of shibori dyeing- fascinating! I think you should be thrilled with the results. It sounds like the product although a bit challenging to use and store has exceptional results!

Dotty said...

Thanks for the kind words and the tutorials! The paint looks like a lot of fun to play with and the fabrics turned out beautifully!

Healing Woman said...

Your posting today was good timing for me. I was looking for fabric paints and Simply Spray Fabric might be the one. For a first try, I think all of your projects turned out quite nice. Your tutorials are always so concise and to the point. Loved that you added your coffee as an essential material!

Terri Kahrs said...

Elizabeth, this is a wonderful tutorial! You leave no question unanswered with your meticulous documentation. This looks like a great product with many applications (pardon the pun!). Hugs, Terri xoxo

~*~Patty S said...

So exciting to see each unveiling and to read about your process too!
I wondered if working with damp fabric might have helped it suck up more of the color spray?
Thanks as always for sharing the fun of creating!
Happy Thursday Elizabeth!

elle said...

This is SO great. I'm saving it for the rainbow day of my week. Course I have to find these spry paints first! The hunt is on! And tomorrow is a town day! lol

Anonymous said...

Loving that affect its stunning. gorgeous work as always and i particularly love the stencil effect
Hugs June xxxx

donnalouiserodgers said...

love the shot of the fabrics drying on the line - fab tutorial

Steph said...

now these looked like GOOD FUN!!!! Thanks for sharing as always these wonderful tuts!!! hugs steph

Patti Edmon Artist said...

the variety of products and creative endeavors never ceases to amaze me - thanks for walking us through the steps, it's such a valuable post!!

Seth said...

Looks like a very cool product. Thanks so much for taking the time to share all these experiments.

Unknown said...

I love the shibori technique especially......It would look wonderful quilted and maybe beaded into an art quilt......

Karen said...

WOW I am loving the patterns you hace created, especially the 1st one. I have never heard of usaing a pipe before and have made a not of this! Brilliant utuorial my lovely XXX

Halle said...

I've never seen these sprays before! I love the stencils even though there was seepage.

SewPaperPaint said...

Way cool idea, Elizabeth!

Marilyn J. Rock said...

You just amaze me! You are not afraid to do anything; you take the leap and then you share so much with us! Love the results here of your sprayed fabric! xxoo

Cath Wilson said...

Ooh, I had to come check out your tutorial - LOTS of info - not all of it good, unfortunately. Oh how I wish I had that space outside to create in, lol but then you have to find somewhere to put it when you take it all back and even have to (shock horror) put it away - drat!!! Love those colours but they don't really seem to blend well, do they? Thanks for your comment and I hope this week is better for you. Cath x

Anonymous said...

The reason they may not have turned out how you were hoping is because you were using spray paint instead of completely immersing them in a vat of dye (sometimes for several minutes or more) which is traditional for shibori. Also, in shibori, it's important to wet the fabric first, before applying any dye. Just a thought!

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