Saturday, December 3, 2011

A bit of monoprinting on fabric

It's been a few weeks since I've written a tutorial, and I'm not quite sure this one qualifies, since I failed to get any intermediate steps. I don't often forget to show all the steps, but this time, the paint and the time got away from me, so I had to move a lot faster than I expected.


Originally I was going to make a gelatine mold for monoprinting, then realized I would have to let it set up, and I would have to unmold it. Since I didn't want to take all that time, and since I already had my fabric torn, I decided to take the low cost easy route. This is a way anyone can make a monoprint, even in the middle of the night when your local grocery store is closed.

In the background, leaning against my tub of gesso, is a piece of clear plastic that I will be using as the printing plate. You can always substitute a piece of glass from a picture frame, but if you do, you need to tape the edges, since they will be sharp. And we don't need anyone slicing their fingers. After all, I'm all about safety!


Supplies you will need are (from left):

the plastic or glass plate you will print on (referred to as the "plate")
your cut or torn pieces of fabric
acrylic paint of your choice
spreaders (which I didn't use)
masks and stencils of your choice
2 brayers (one for spreading the paint, one for rubbing the paint into the fabric)



Another thing you will need is a top plate to absorb the paint, because it is going to seep through the fabric. I will be using the large envelope.

Begin by laying paint on the plate in whatever manner you choose. Some of the paint may begin to run together unless you keep it separated when you lay it on the plate. This should not be a problem unless you are using complementary colors, or those that are opposite each other on the color wheel, such as red and green. Combining the two gives you a shade of brown. That's why artists sometimes call red and green "Christmas brown" when they are combined.

Using a hard rubber brayer, spread the paint onto the plate in whatever manner pleases you. Don't allow the colors to mix too much.


For the first piece, I didn't add any embellishing or masks. Instead, I wanted to see how the two colors would meld together. I laid my fabric directly in the paint, then covered it with the envelope. Next, I brayered over the piece using a second brayer, in my case, the wooden one seen with the materials.

For subsequent pieces, I laid punchinella (sequin waste) and a plastic ring directly into the paint, then removed them before I laid down my fabric.


These are the six pieces I made. The middle piece on the right is the first one I made and has only paint on it. I got all six out of the paint I originally laid on the plate.

When finished, find a spot to dry your fabric. Remember, there will be paint on the back side, so use a craft sheet or plastic bag to dry the fabric. Also, be sure to clean your brayer, masks or stencils, and your plastic or glass plate immediately upon completing the prints.


Here are two of the pieces I scanned so you could get a better look at the details. I actually liked the back side of the top fabric better than the front, so that is the side I scanned (remember, I said the paint would bleed through the fabric).

One thing I should point out. I am an altered artist who works with surface designs. I make little quiltlets or sewn book covers. Therefore the "hand" or the flexibility or feel of the fabric is affected by paint, whether it is fabric paint or acrylic paint. This project is not good for tee-shirts or other articles of clothing. It is mainly appropriate when you want to alter the design of fabric to be used in art pieces or wall hangings.

I'm sure there are lots of better tutorials on the internet on monoprinting. I'm sure there are probably some on YouTube, too. I even have written several blog posts on monoprinting, as well as gelatin printing. So your options are numerous if you have never tried this technique and want to give it a whirl.

14 thoughtful remarks:

Steph said...

Thanks for the tutorial, E!!!! I've not tried gelatin printing...will do so sometime....have a good weekend!!!

Lisa D. said...

I have to give this a try.

Halle said...

This is something I have never tried. Looks messy! :)

Nancy said...

Interesting results! Thanks for sharing this.

Liverpool Lou (Anne) said...

Hi Elizabeth, love the monprints and the back of the fabric does indeed look lovely :-) I did some a little while ago with a couple of friends using the method you have but also had a go with gelatine. Unfortunately the gelatine didn't work very well, mine was in 2 pieces and after Margaret put her dish in hot water to loosen the gelatine it wobbled, slipped and slid right onto the floor; at least we had a good laugh :-) Glad to see Wendy still keeps and eye on you while you're 'playing' (few posts down). Love the colours of your Nov pages.
Anne xx

Marilyn Rock said...

Monoprinting is one of my favorites. Love the result of yours! xxoo

Lynn said...

What fun. I"ve done this before and loved it. A good summer project to do outdoors. Love the end results you got.

McMGrad89 said...

Awesome results! I like this idea and will have to try it! Even though the tutorial didn't go as planned, I think it was understandable. I am the same way when photographing steps. I get so into what I am doing and forget that I am supposed to be taking pictures. If you have a Mac computer, it is easy to take "snapshots" from a video using iMovie. So even if you don't want to do a video tutorial, you can grab images that work with your tutorial. (Just a thought.)

Julia Dunnit said...

The punchinella makes a great pattern and texture looking addition. I love the idea of this, but you already know, I'm not an altered artist. Unless it counts that I'm doing it vicariously through you!

Nancy Kelley said...

Came across your blog post looking for tutorials/ideas in using my Gelli gel plate... and I feel like I HAVE to make sure you know about the gel plate for the next time you want to take the 'easy route' - made me laugh out loud! It doesn't get any easier than pulling out the Gelli Arts gel plate. You are perfect for it! Google it... you'll love it.

elle said...

This is a very helpful tutorial.

Dianne said...

outstanding work! love the texture of these prints...

apaperbear said...

Hmmm these are fantastic! I bet as a book these would be wonderful!!! Happy creating!

Kezzy said...

These are gorgeous. Kezzy x