Why has nobody told me about sun printing on fabric?
When I’m not sewing, the place I’d rather be is in our garden. I love growing things and so it is not surprising that flowers and plants tend to creep into my embroidery – whether by hand or free motion machine. So when recently spending some time on Pinterest, I found amazing photos of fabric pictures of plants printed using fabric paint and plants, my mind started whirring again and a new journey started.
First to get hold of some fabric paint that works in this way. Researching online found several makes but the easiest to get hold of here in deepest Devon was Pebeo Setacolor for Light Fabrics, even then it had to be online. Then you need some natural fabric – cotton, linen etc and some sunshine. Now you would think that in July that wouldn’t be a challenge – I had to wait 4 days for bright enough sunshine!
So here is what I did …
- Collect your leaves, flowers or any stencils you have made.
- Wet some already washed fabric (to remove any size that new fabric often has), it was a bit breezy so I pinned it to a thick card inside a plastic bag.
- Then I mixed the paint – 2 parts water to 1 part paint and mix well. Be sure to make enough for the whole piece of fabric. You can mix the colours to make the shade you want.
- Working in the shade or inside. Using a large brush or foam brush, spread the paint onto the fabric, trying to get it evenly spread.
- Place your flowers, leaves, stencils etc on top of the wet fabric pressing them well into the paint, which will hold the leaves to a certain point (unless very breezy!) you can use small stones or pins to help if necessary – just make sure they aren’t going to add an extra unwanted shadow.
- Then place the board and fabric out in the bright sunshine. Depending on how bright the sun is, it will take between 15 minutes and several hours. Try to avoid peeking as moving the items will blur the effect!
- When you are happy with the result, remove the leaves etc and press with a very hot iron for about 5 minutes. This will make the colour fast. After that the fabric may be washed on a cool 40’C wash and then the colour and print should be fast. Then you can enjoy your print or of course you could add some applique and embroidery!
After that first effort, I tried pressing the leaves etc under a heavy book to make them flatter so they would make a sharper shape to print. I found this worked quite well especially if it is only for a day or two and they don’t have a chance to dry out too much.
There now you know – so you can’t say nobody told you how to do sun printing on fabric! Enjoy!