Watercolor effect with textile paints

To start out the new year I’ve written this tutorial for the January challenge in the PFA (Postcard Fabric Art) Facebook Group. Every month a tutorial from a well known artist will be posted. From that tutorial we take the information and made a fabric piece of our own. We don’t have to follow the artist’s exact tutorial. It can just be a springboard. We are encouraged to write our own tutorials in addition to making the piece. Of course, you know I love tutorials, so I’ll be writing as many as I can fit in.

We start with Susan Brubaker Knapp’s Watercolor Effects with Acrylic Textile paint. Check out that link to her Quilting Arts tutorial.

Now to make it my own.

Let’s get started. I have painted on fabric, but haven’t used a transparent extender. Susan said that it helps to make the paint look more like watercolor. Sounds interesting!

I started by placing a piece of fabric on freezer paper (shiny side up) and covering it with  PROfab Transparent Extender.

Once it’s dry, it was time to draw on the design. I’m using one of my drawings, but you could use clip art or a picture. I’m placing the drawing on the lightbox and covering it with the fabric. I noticed that the fabric is now much stiffer making it a bit easier to draw on.

I used my Frixion pens to trace my design. However, you can use a pencil or a pen because you will be covering the lines with stitches.

Here is the finished tracing.

The next step is adding the batting to the back before stitching. I did not add the backing fabric since I will be finishing it with the pillow technique. So let’s add the batting. I’ve secured the top and the batting with pins to keep it from moving around while I’m sewing.

And we’re off to the sewing machine to free-motion stitch the lines. You will notice I sometimes get off the lines but that’s okay!

Here is the finished piece stitched.

And a closeup.

Now to iron the design to remove the pen marks. And now all we see is stitches.

It’s time to paint. I’m using ProFab Textile paints.  I’m using a paper plate as my palette where I thin the paint and also mix colors.

I added water to the red to make it lighter.

Since there is no green in my paint set, I mixed blue and yellow, and then added water until I got the right color.

For the much lighter green I added some white to the mix to make the green even lighter. And this is what I got when I finished painting. However, I wasn’t done. I needed to let it sit and see what I needed to add. I wasn’t sure I liked the white background.

After much thought I painted the background yellow. Yes, I like this much better.

Now to add some white, black, orange and green details with some pens.

Next to square the piece and the backing. My piece ended up 9.5 x 9.5 inches.

I did a little different pillow closure. I placed the back fabric on top of the finished piece, and sewed all around it. I’m not leaving an opening to turn.

To be able to turn this inside out I need to cut an “X” in the middle of the backing fabric.

Pull the finished piece through the hole, and then poke the edges out. I’m using my bone folder to do that, but you can use anything that’s not sharp.

Now iron the front and back.

To cover up the “X” I made a label. I printed the information out on fabric, added mistyfuse to the back of the label, and ironed down over the “X”.

Iron good on both sides and you’re done!

That was a fun project. Mine didn’t really have much of a watercolor look though. Maybe I needed to add more water. I found it an interesting surface once the extender dried. Susan suggested this base since she thought it was similar to priming a canvas before painting. It did make it easier to paint, and the paint did not bleed. I’ll have to try this with actual watercolors to see if it makes a difference with them.

I hope this post finds you healthy this first day of 2021. I sure hope it’s a better year for all of us. Happy New Year!

Want some inspiration for the new year, check out Off the Wall Friday.