Tag Archives: fabric

Dorm Batik

So. I threw two batik “parties” (I’m using that term lightly… there were brownies involved) and this is what those crazy kids made (more or less). The fabric is about 4 feet long (shorter in some cases because, as the glue was drying, two strips got stuck together so firmly that they had to be amputated) and roughly two feet wide. We used elmer’s glue, watered down acrylic paint and plain ole white cotton fabric. It doesn’t get any simpler.

Now these beauts are hanging around the common rooms. The process and results were awesome, but I’m not quite sure that these are as impressive as I’d imagined them turning out. Ah well…

Prints

Since I bought all those block printing supplies I keep seeing things that would make great prints! What am I going to do!? Oh, that’s right, I’ll make tons and tons of blocks!


I’m rather fond of this teal llama-deer. I just wish I could figure out how to make the prints come out as solid as this one did! They’re awfully spotty for some reason…

And then I decided to experiment with some fabric printing! One thing leads to another these days…

I found this tutorial over at JezzePrints (which is a wonderful little blog) called No-Fuss Printing. Basically you cut the stencil out of transparency paper and then squeegie the fabric paint over the stencil with something small and stiff like a credit card. So easy! So I practiced on a bunny (of course). I love the idea, so I think I’ll have a go at some more once I can think of something neat to draw. Any suggestions? Inspiration?

Batik Madness

I’ve been wracking my brains, trying to come up with an easy, fun and social dorm activity that everyone can do AND that results in a product that will leave the common spaces much, much prettier than they are right now. They’re rather barren and no fun to hang out in. Then I read about how to do batik with kids.

Traditionally, batik is a method of dying fabric that utilizes hot wax on fabric to create a design that remains white once the fabric is dyed and the wax is removed. It’s a beautiful technique but hard to do because of the hot wax, hot dye and large amount of time and skill that is required…

Until you replace hot wax with washable Elmer’s glue and dye with watered down acrylic paint. Then it’s a fast, easy and immensely teachable technique! I got the idea from Craftzine who got the idea from the blog This Artist Woman. I got enough materials for everyone in the dorm (21 people) to make two murals, one per floor. At less than $20 this wound up being a really easy and inexpensive way to get everyone together. Now, we haven’t done it yet but I did do my own test swatch so that I have something to show everybody when we do start to roll up our sleeves and get cracking. This is the example of batik on Craftzine that caught my eye in the first place:

This is a really pretty example. All of the white lines were created by drawing that pattern out with glue on the fabric, letting it dry, painting acrylic paint on, letting that dry, washing the glue off and then voila! It’s done! So I gave it a try…

This is a small swatch of fabric, about five inches wide and two feet long. I’ve applied the glue and the paint here and I’m waiting for it to dry before I wash the glue out.

And here is the finished piece! The white areas really glow when the fabric is held up to the light and I think this would be a great way to make some curtains later on down the road.

I would really recommend this project and the tutorial over at The Artist Woman. It’s concise, easy to follow and the process is easy enough for school children to do. Plus the finished product looks so good, it’s hard not to get excited about the whole idea.

I can’t wait to see what the dorm winds up painting on their fabric murals. I’ll be posting pictures as soon as they get going!

Rayon oh Rayon

Over at Inhabitat they’ve put up a little post about the mysteries of Bamboo fabric. Apparently, in order to make bamboo the plant into bamboo the wearable fabric the fibers undergo a process involving some intense chemical. Inhabitat links over to Organic Clothing for a description of this process:

“Most bamboo fabric that is the current eco-fashion rage is chemically manufactured by “cooking” the bamboo leaves and woody shoots in strong chemical solvents such as sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide in a process also known as hydrolysis alkalization combined with multi-phase bleaching. Both sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide have been linked to serious health problems. Breathing low levels of carbon disulfide can cause tiredness, headache and nerve damage. Carbon disulfide has been shown to cause neural disorders in workers at rayon manufacturers. Low levels of exposure to sodium hydroxide can cause irritation of the skin and eyes. Sodium hydroxide is a strong alkaline base also known as caustic soda or lye. In its dry crystalline form, caustic soda is one of the major ingredients of Drano. This is basically the same process used to make rayon from wood or cotton waste byproducts. Because of the potential health risks and damage to the environment surrounding the manufacturing facilities, textile manufacturing processes for bamboo or other regenerated fibers using hydrolysis alkalization with multi-phase bleaching are not considered sustainable or environmentally supportable.”

Right now the FTC is going after a handful of companies who have been marketing their bamboo products as 100% bamboo and environmentally friendly because, at the end of this process, the bamboo fibers are not only not very environmentally friendly but they also become something known as rayon (a fiber that can be made from the cellulose in a plan or tree). Crazy huh? Inhabitat still makes a good point: “Isn’t the Rayon made from bamboo technically more sustainable than Rayon made from other types of plants that need tons of pesticides to grow and do not have the ability to regenerate as quickly?”

Yep.

Fabric Depot

I went to the magical land of Fabric Depot today picked over the aisles for good bits of fabric. I finally came away with four colors of felt and six 1/4 yards of cotton fabric. I love the Amy Butler collection but all the good patterns were in home decorating fabric which is too heavy and rough for the little toys I make. I’m going to make another Colin the lion… probably. Maybe something else instead, it depends on how I feel about it when I start.

fabric_49fabric_53Pretties.