dyed our dining room curtains, I was much braver to attempt some other fabric projects, including tie-dying T-shirts with my daughter, dyeing fabric for baby wraps, and making bleach spray T-shirts.
I've been intrigued by the Batik style of dying, but the whole hot wax thing seemed like a 3rd degree burn waiting to happen. I mean, I can't even be trusted around hot glue guns. Thanks to Pinterest, I found it's possible to do a Batik-style of dyeing fabric using blue school glue and regular fabric paint. This blog post by on The Matchbook on Flour Paste Batik was my inspiration:
As you will see, I followed her technique of swirling and even her color scheme. I didn't trust myself to venture out into my own creative territory until I figured out what the heck I was doing. However, I didn't use flour; I used Elmer's Blue School Glue, a trick I first discovered on Holly Hox. (And by the way, I made a T-shirt for my daughter using that technique, and she loves it!)
How to Make Fabric Wall Art1. Buy cheap white muslin fabric, or reuse old white sheets around the house. Wash first.
2. Dye the muslin briefly in a dye bath (optional).
I used Dylon Permanent Fabric Dye 1.75 Ounce-China Blue
|The muslin is the small piece of fabric on the right. I used Dylon China Blue dye.|
3. Once dry, tack the fabric onto a big piece of cardboard.
|I've already started adding glue swirls in this pic (see next step), but I attached it to the cardboard first.|
4. Swirl Elmer's Blue School Glue in a pattern; let dry.
(You can find it in most big box stores, or here: Elmer's Washable No-Run School Glue Gel, 7.625 oz Bottle, Blue (E363))
I followed the swirly pattern as demonstrated on the flour paste batik blog post because it seemed like a foolproof design. It was! I let the glue dry overnight.
5. Put a little fabric paint in a small spray bottle, water it down, and spray over fabric.
I don't have an exact ratio of water to paint- I just added enough water and swirled it in the bottle until I knew it would easily spray through the nozzle. One of the paints I used is Tulip Soft Fabric Paint 4oz Matte Royal Blue
|I used Tulip fabric paint in 3 different shades of blue. Two were matte paints, but one had a bit of a sparkle to it.|
I didn't let the fabric dry before applying a second layer of glue, and it shows--the glue lines oozed out onto the fabric and didn't leave the crisp lines behind. Oh well, I can pretend that I meant it to look that way!
7. Sponge paint another color of fabric paint.
|I watered down a darker blue paint.|
|I kept the paint dark on the left and lightened as I went across, just to experiment.|
8. Let dry.
I let it dry for 2 or 3 days, as per the fabric paint directions.
9. Rinse in cold water to remove excess paint. Wash and dry per fabric paint directions.
The excess blue paint rinsed right out in the sink, and the glue washed out in the washing machine, leaving behind Batik-style swirls and patterns.
10. Measure fabric for frames.
I initially was going to mount the fabric over canvas, but canvas frames can be expensive. I found three record album frames on clearance at Joann's that worked perfectly for what I wanted to do. I placed the frames on the fabric so that the parts of the pattern I wanted to showcase would be centered--I wanted the darker gradation of paint to be on the outer edges of the outer two pictures with the lighter painted pattern in the middle.
|As you can see, washing the fabric removed the glue and the excess dye, leaving behind a neat design.|
The frames came with clips that held the fabric on the edges, and I used hot glue to secure the excess fabric.
12. Measure for placement on the wall.
I tried the trick of using paper in the size of the frames to mark the spots for the nails ahead of time. There was cardboard inside the frames that worked perfectly to measure out wall placement... and yet I still managed to not get them completely straight. C'est la vie.
|Yeah, that left square is a bit wonky. It remained so even after fixing it.|
|Yep, still wonky on the left. Don't look too closely.|
All told, I probably spend about $20 for all the materials for this project, including fabric, dye, fabric paint, Elmer's blue glue, and the frames. I was able to use the dye for another project and only used a small amount of fabric paint, leaving a lot on hand for a future project.
The great thing is that I can reuse the frames in the future if I decide I'm tired of this wall art. The fabric comes right off the clips in the back, and the hot glue will pop off with a little coaxing.
And as always, remember to wear gloves when working with dye. Unless you like blue fingers.