Painting on Fabric: Is it durable? Washable? Permanent?

My studio has changed its focus lately, or at least a corner of the studio that is.   I have been wanting to paint sunflowers for a while now and went to work on this apron prototype last week.  The results are fabulous! I hope to answer as many of your questions as I can in this week’s craft blog.  However, do not hesitate to comment with a question at the bottom if I happen to leave your’s out. 🙂

Sunflowers are popping up all over the landscape here in North Georgia this month. Seeing them in all their glory moved me create my own canvas (apron fabrics) covered in sunny flowers. My artist friend, Sue King, does this all the time. She paints pillows and aprons using items from nature like leaves for stamping on neutral cloth.  She heat sets the paint after it dries. I hesitated to do this technique in the past because i didn’t think it would be very durable. Turns out it is very durable. Sue showed me how durable it is when I realized how often she uses and then washes her painted tablecloth–its white cotton  with leaf stamping in burgundy, browns, rusts, & greens.  

I searched magazines and books and images on the web for ideas for sunflower designs and color.  I had some green burlap to use for a ruffle trim on the apron and used that color green in the center of my design.  I also painted the ‘seeds’ so that the fibonacci pattern was evident.

 I wanted it to be somewhat realistic, but not perfect. I found a simple outline drawing in a color book to be the most useful when I began the process on the fabric.  I sketched the design onto craft drawing paper to use as a visual aid as I worked on the fabric with the paints.  I colored it with oil pastels.  It seemed so easy to do, I was ready to begin on the fabric.

Sketch the design and color it.

Sketch the design and color it.

I cut out several aprons from a lightweight ivory fabric in the studio stash pile.  I taped it to a board to keep it smooth as I worked with it. That tip came from watching Sue in her studio.  I sketched the design to the cloth, enlarging it from my drawing.  And then I gathered the tools for the painting process and mixed my color palette. Before long I was fully absorbed in the process of creating my first sunflower apron.  After I finished the first, I couldn’t stop. I was having too much fun to call this work! Which is why I love working in my Green Craft Studio. I get to make things that I love for others to appreciate and then love.  

As I work on my second sunflower apron, a memory floods my mind and won’t let go. Its a memory of a photograph of my first home grown sunflower plant. (Here I am at the end of Summer 2014, creating a sunflower on fabric, and this memory pops up like the sunflowers I see in my current landscape.) The memory is vivid, and it moves me to add another dimension to this apron. A dimension that was not in my design drawing. It’s a ladybug!  I didn’t see the ladybug until after we got the film developed.

It's a LADY BUG!

It’s a LADY BUG!

Sunflower aprons 1st

The added apron detail of the ladybug called for a red pocket accent to which I added a fabric flower applique to set the whole apron off. The green burlap ruffle trim finishes it perfectly. 

   Sunflower aprons 2 Painted aprons sunflower appliqSunflower apron

As far as the painting process goes, I started off using tiny brushes and then moved on to a tiny sponge roller for the big sections and the background coloring.  The tiny flat sponge applicators worked well for the wide outline around the seed center.  Paper plates and plastic spoons worked great for mixing the palette.  I used acrylic craft paints in a matte finish. After the painted fabrics dried I heat set each painting from the back of the fabric using a low heat iron. I then washed them in cold water in the washing machine to test the paints.  Durable! I dried them in the dryer and pressed them out before finishing the details of the pocket, trims and ties.  One of these is going in my Etsy shop and another is going off to be reviewed for a blog feature in November. Elizabeth of Building Bridges Marketing was nice enough to reach out and I am excited to see what she says about my prototype painted aprons. November 16 is my feature date for her blog, so look for my Etsy shop feature article and read the review. It’ll be my first professional review and, quite frankly, I am on pins and needles! 

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Feeling Green Behind the Gills?

I pride myself on being self taught in many areas like cooking, cleaning, sewing, painting, building, gardening, writing, and I love the challenge of learning something new.  However, when I  try really hard to do something new that requires a skill I don’t possess, I get to feeling ‘green around the gills.’  I call it Green Envy because I want to learn how to do something so badly that I am jealous of anyone who can do it–mastering Windows 8 is my latest nemesis. Anybody else feel this way about it, or is it just me?

We (me and my husband) recently updated some of our electronic computing devices and one of those is a laptop operating Windows 8.  It’s clearly made for those with touch screen practice.  My husband has more experience with it than me, so he is better at it.  My main device operates Windows 7 and is very user friendly–not a whole lot different from my last operating system–Windows XP Pro.  The problem for me comes in switching between Windows 7 and 8. The two are so very different from each other.  If I used the 8 all the time, I suppose I would get more accomplished with it, but I use it just enough to be irritated by it.

I think the same is true about other areas of my technical expertise, but I don’t like to admit it.  For instance, I see Green Envy raise its ugly head now and then when I read over the blogs of some of my colleagues. I want my blog to be a success, a tool that others will turn to for help in their business. So-o-o-o, in order to push the Green Monster down for a bit, I have recently set some goals to help me achieve similar success with my blog site.  This is what I aspire to do with it: 1) offer advertising space to fellow Etsyians/Bloggers/Tweeters, etc., 2) feature guest shops from fellow team mates on Etsy Ellijay (on Facebook) or Etsy Norga (North Georgia Made team blog), 3) provide pictorial and video craft tutorials from my current line of products featured in my Etsy shop: Green Craft Studio, 4) host a Link party or start my own #GrowingCirclesHop at Becca’s Green Craft Studio on G+. I know its a lot to accomplish in a year, but I love to reach for the stars.  I know that my biggest obstacles will be myself and the calendar after all I already wear many hats in a day. I hope I haven’t bit off more than I can chew and that this new hat won’t swallow me whole before I get past the learning curve of Windows 8.

All you readers, please let me know what you suggest for mastering Windows 8. And, if you have any tips to share to make my list of goals easier to achieve, please do not hesitate to share a word or two in the comments below. Thanks for reading and sharing. 

GLAD TO ANNOUNCE A WINNER!

handmade wedding registry picregistry drawing winner

On Friday, August 2, 2014, Melisa Searcy of Blessed Bee Melisa (Handmade and Vintage Jewelry and more) and Becca Shuler of Green Craft Studio held the drawing for the winner of the above described Gift Collection Registry.  

We are happy to announce that 49 registrants participated via Facebook at Etsy Ellijay, and in person at Shear Delite Salon in Ellijay or on Facebook at Shear Delite Salon, and in person at the Merle Norman Salon in Ellijay, as well as via personal email shouts from Melisa and Becca via contacts and friends lists.

Thank you to all who participated in one way or another and CONGRATULATIONS to our WINNER: SUSAN RADELLE of Ellijay, Georgia. You are the winner of our Handmade in North Georgia and on Etsy Gift Collection handpicked for someone special like you with a theme of Handmade Weddings in Mind.

For more about Handmade Weddings read the post on the blogs ‘Handmade Trends’ page.

Author of this post: Becca Shuler of the Green Craft Studio, come back often to read more of our Green Crafting Blog.