Saturday, August 27, 2011

What I've learned about fabric, alcohol, and Sharpies

This post is on a timer. I'm at a Neighborhood Clean-up, or if it's evening, I'm at a dinner with a large group of people. In between these two events, I hope to get a bit of sleep, since I was out all night with my friend Joseph from California and several other of my friends, including the groups Babylon Saints (see my right sidebar) and Afinke Machine. But until I am able to return to blogland, I wanted to go over the most important things I learned about painting on fabric with Sharpies and rubbing alcohol.


Before I created anything, I tore cotton sheets to the approximate size of my fabric scrappy journal covers. I laid out my supplies, being aware I am not sure you need 91% rubbing alcohol (you might be able to substitute 70% for this technique), but that is all I have.


I used lots of new pen colors on these two journal covers. You can see I folded these in half widthwise before creating the designs. The spine area is in the middle of each fabric swatch, designating one side from the other. One thing I learned as I added Sharpies and alcohol to fabric last week was not to start and stop adding more Sharpies or alcohol or both after you have started the design. Be sure the design is complete before you finalize it with the alcohol.



Expect some loss of color in your final designs. It's the nature of the beast (or Sharpie). Realize you will need to iron the finished pieces (cotton, muslin, or linen) after the alcohol has dried. Know that you are going to have a mess, with extra color bleeding all over the place onto your craft mat, so


it probably pays to place some plain fabric under the colored pieces you have already sprayed with alcohol. Realize that sometimes the clean-up fabric may be prettier than the fabric you dyed using Sharpies and rubbing alcohol. Remember to iron these pieces even though they may be overdyed further. And don't expect the sheer beauty you get with silk. Cotton, muslin, and linen won't give you that same shimmery and translucent effect.

Let's all take a few minutes and check on our friends on the east coast of the US today. It doesn't matter where on the east coast they are. No area is safe.

12 thoughtful remarks:

Steph said...

Thanks for sharing this technique, E!!! I'd love to make fabric books too....just need to call out the inspiration!! happy weekend!!

see you there! said...

This is one I'll try on paper. I don't have the needed colored Sharpies yet tho.

Darla

Terri Kahrs said...

OMG! This is AMAZING!!! My mind is swirling with the possibilities, Elizabeth. Such simple materials with awesome results. Thank you for this tutorial.
On another note, sorry I've been a bit absent this week. Mother Nature really has it "in" for us here on the East Coast. I'm in NJ and Irene is expected to "hit" today into tomorrow. We've been in prep mode.
I'm sure you had a superb time with your visitors!!!! Good for YOU, Party Girl!!!! Hugs, Terri xoxoxo

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Appreciate all those tips and I plan to try this very soon. Well, as soon as we dry up. Irene is supposed to hit between 8 & 9 pm tonight so I don't expect much sleep!

Laura Tringali Holmes said...

Hello from the East Coast! We're counting down until Irene arrives. Glued to the window, watching the rain, otherwise I think I would drag out my Sharpies and alcohol. You achieved very cool results!

Jo Murray said...

Interesting... and great results!

Dianne said...

you are always so thoughtful and caring...hope our friends on the East coast are safe & dry...lovely colors and technique. and woohoo for staying out all night-you go girl! ;)

Wanda AKA "Craftymule" said...

Wow! These would look beautiful in a landscape quilt. Now you've got me inspired to try this, too......

Lynn said...

thanks for sharing.

Becca said...

Wow, that looks so cool!

Diane said...

Oh, these turned out wonderfully and the fabric underneath too!
My son lives in NYC--but he's okay--he didn't have to evacuate. And I see that they've downgraded it to a tropical storm. I just can't get over that they had to close the entire subway system--it's like taking away everyone's legs--they're so dependent on the subway there--that was how we got around when we were there--it's actually a great way to go.
Hopefully all will be well...

Jenxo said...

oh wow this technique looks wonderful...have to try it...thansk ffor sharing...