Fabric Painting

I don’t know if you noticed on the Boundless Salvation quilt, but the fabric squares were all hand dyed.

Boundless Salvation Quilt

Now, I am sure many of you are a bit nervous about dyeing your own cotton, so I made a little video to show you how I did it.

The video is more of a play time for me. I buy several yards of white cotton (which is cheaper than printed cotton, then I cut a pile of 6.5″ squares. There’s no dye pots, Ph levels, mordants or chemicals (although I do add some for effect).

For the background colours I use Inktense blocks from Derwent, these come in blocks, pencils and watercolour style paints. There’s 72 colours to choose from and you can buy them in sets or singularly.

I then add Brusho, which is a high intensity powder. Brusho comes in a pot, but is so concentrated most folk just poke a hole in the lid (I seal the hole with a bit of duck tape or a drawing pin) and sprinkle it on.

Both inks can be used in many ways, but the great thing is that it sets on cotton when heat set. Simply apply to wet cotton, hang to dry and iron to set. I then give it a second wash and dry to remove any excess dyes and chemicals I might have added.

The rest is just playing and imagination. Try adding other things like candle wax, bleach or alcohol solution. scrunch the cotton up or iron in creases. Add salt or some of the special glitter and metallic powders that work with Brusho. If you don’t like what you’ve created just re-dye it and come up with something else.

Well, if I say more they’ll be no need for the video, so I’ll shut up!

Fabric painting with Brusho and Inktense

Published by bettyvirago

Betty Virago is an award winning textile designer. Based in Yorkshire, England, and known for her Northern Folk dolls and the Quilts of Hope project.

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