Friday, January 8, 2016


This week was spent doing a few "tests" with a variety of inks and paints. I generally always do a quick test with what ever materials I plan to use, wanting to know how they will fare when subjected to water and how they will leave the "hand" of the fabric.
Other artists and I have been discussing some difficulties experienced recently, when working with particular supplies. For example, Tsukineko inks are very fluid, they are difficult to control and want to rapidly flow and bleed out through the fibers. I have a supply of those inks and wanted to see if there was a way to use them with more control.
Also, I have noticed that my recently purchased Sharpie markers are bleeding when I draw on fabric, I am not getting near as crisp a line as I usually do and wanted to see what else I have on hand that might work better.

here is a quick look at a few of the many test samples I did this week

First lets talk about that old stand by Sharpie marker.  I have used an ultra fine tipped sharpie marker for drawing on fabric for a long time but as I said, lately it is not giving me the same results.
A favourite pen I use for drawing (on paper) is a pigment liner made by Staedtler but I have had trouble with it "running" on fabric.....I now know  that it is waterproof once heat set.
Can you see the difference between the 2 pens?

Now, for those Tsukineko inks, I used the ink in a variety of ways to see what would happen, in the photo below, the leaf on the left had clear Aloe Vera gel spread over the drawing but not beyond its borders, I then carefully painted on the you can see in the close up detail the ink still flowed where I did not want it.
That did not happen to the one on the right which was painted with the ink only after it had been pre-mixed with the gel.

I always like to have reference samples so I made this little piece. I drew several circles and used the ink in a slightly different way each time to see what my results would be.

I have clear aloe gel....the ink....and then created mixtures of gel and ink as well as gel and shaving cream

In the top circle, I painted with the ink straight from the bottle, it quickly began to spread more than I wanted

for the second circle, I brushed the aloe vera gel over and beyond its borders (the dashed line is where I brushed the gel to) even though I only applied the ink to the inside of the you can see, the ink kept moving

next I applied the gel carefully making sure the gel stayed with in the lines....and so did the ink, but you may notice that the colour is not as vibrant as the one below it

for circle number four, I premixed the ink into the gel, it seems a bit awkward at first to work with it this way but it actually yeilded pretty good results and gave me good "open" time (important if I am doing something where I want to be able to blend colours)

In this last circle.....I tried something I have never done before, at the wonderful suggestion of Gwyned Trefethen, I mixed the ink with some shaving actually worked quite well! (although it did not give me the same "open" time as the gel.) I will definitely want to explore the use of shaving cream in my studio now....Thanks Gwyned!

Here is a sample showing 2 paints.... I drew the circles....covered the entire surface with the aloe gel and then painted within the circles.....because of the thickness of the paints, they stay exactly where they are put and do not migrate out at all

and so it went, I played with a variety of little tweaks with the paints, inks, gel and shaving cream....then I thought maybe it was time to start organizing some of these little test samples. I happen to have a supply of these page dividers that are made of decent cardstock, using doubled sided tape, I adhered the samples to them that I can now keep together in a binder. I can lift each sample piece and place lots of notes too.
Until now, most of the samples I have done in the past are stuck on a bulletin board, filing cabinet, or hiding in drawers scattered as I come across them I will finally have a place for them to all live and will be able to easily reference them

below is an example of a test I did many years was still lying at the bottom of a drawer, do you know what this is?   any guesses?

 it's I am linking up to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday.....pop on over and see what other creative minds (and hands) have been up to.


Glenda said...

Wow Jill! Thanks for sharing your experiments with us.....looks like so much fun. I feel so inspired now to rummage in my fabric stash and 'give it a go.'

QuiltSwissy said...

thanks for sharing your tests. I am just venturing into this arena and usually have to do all the experimentation myself. I am going to find some aloe gel right now.....

sonja said...

Well, is that mystery piece embossing on tin or leather?
i have used Versatex screen printing inks for decades for painting on fabric.I use it for making yardage very wet. For precise painting as in a flower, i will use it much less watered down. i like your tests and samples results, thanks for sharing with us your results . that takes time to document.

Jean said...

Thanks so much for the tips and info on the Tsukineko inks! Very useful information! Is your last piece painted Tyvek? It looks very cool!

Yvonne said...

I don't have any experience of the paints you have used. However I have found that a Pentel Gel Roller for Fabric pen appears not to run. I say appears as I haven't experimented with it on lots of fabrics but it is certainly successful on cotton.
Sadly it only comes in black,red and blue but of course the black is very useful.

As to the mystery I don't know what your sample is but I have a very similar one which is the inside of a crisp(chip) packet after ironing. I treated mine with shoe polish so is a different colour.
A very interesting post. Thank you.

Quilt Rat said...

Yvonne....YES!!!! You are correct. The mystery item is a "Cheetos" bag that had been heated with an iron and then a bit of paint brushed on

Robbie said...

I was using Setacolor suede paint direct from bottle after I had painted aloe vera on design. I didn't have any problem with bleeding, running, etc.
These are great samples you did and shared with us!! I'm going shopping for fabric next Wed. with my friend. cotton sateen just wasn't working out well for me. But what I did was fun!!!

Amy Art Quilter & Fyber Cafe said...

Wonderful, useful info, thanks for all your work and sharing the results.

Kaja said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to write this post and share, all this info is very helpful and has come at just the right time for me. I also like how your little sample pages look a lot.

Helen@Till We Quilt Again said...

This is so... amazing. I have been following your progression with the these wonderful hexi's. I am a sharer and love seeing when others share as well. My friend and I are going to get together and play ourselves and hope to posting about it soon. Thank You!

Lynda Thompson said...

Great work and documentation. Try keeping some samples exposed to sunlight and gallery style light for testing prolonged exposure to those conditions.

quiltedfabricart said...

So interesting! I admire your organization and keeping track of this kind of thing. I expect that's why your work is so good. You don't have to waste time trying to figure out what to use and how. You can just go look at your samples and pick one. So smart.

As for the "mystery sample" my guess is something to do with texture magic? Maybe you put it on some sort of shiny space age looking fabric? I bought some of that years ago and have yet found a use for it.

Thank you for the ink demo. I also have some inks in my drawer that I have yet to play with. Mostly because I have no idea how to use them. Now I have a clue :-)

Createology said...

I am always amazed with your experiments and detailed record keeping. Love that you will now have your samples in a 3-Ring binder. I think the mystery piece is painted and heated Tyvek. Creative Exploration Bliss...

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