I come from a long line of sign writers and am happiest with a brush and some paint! Add
paint to fabric and I get really excited!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sun Printing Fabrics

That little side trip to Vermont whetted my appetite for fabric painting, so I squeezed a day of play into my busy retirement schedule. As is my habit, I gathered my supplies and tools needed to work on some prototypes for a larger piece I have in progress. And then I proceeded to set up for sun printing. I do that all the time..decide I am working in one technique and then change midstream and start another. This probably drives others (read: husband and offspring) a bit crazy, but it seems to work for me. I am running one process through my head, all the while getting another process set up.

Well, it turns out I picked an A-1 day for sun printing! The tools are basic and the process is easy and fast. I used PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric, a couple of Setacolor Soleil Paints I had, some wide bristle and sponge brushes, a spray bottle, a piece of foamcore covered and sealed with plastic wrap, some painters tape and a handful of coarse salt.
Then all I needed were objects and materials to print. I collected some leaves, grasses, weeds, some plastic doilies that had been my Grandmother Robertson’s, some buttons, coins and chain.

After cutting my fabric to the size that would fit on the foamcore, I ironed it and taped it in a few strategic spots onto the board so that brushing paint on it  wouldn’t be tedious.

I sprayed my fabric to the extremely technical point of “very wet” and then started brushing paint on. If you don’t have Setacolor Soleil Paints, you can use Setacolor Transparent Paints watered down in a 1:1 ratio. 

If it is really sunny and hot, you need to do these steps fairly fast because your paint will dry quickly. This did happen to me several times and I just gave my fabric a spray of water and I got another effect doing so.

Once you have your paint on, then you pick your items to print, lay them on top of the painted fabric and press them into the fabric. This is also when you can toss the coarse salt over the fabric for added effect.

Then you wait for the paint to dry, which on a beautiful sunny day, doesn’t take any time at all.

Once your painted fabric is dry, remove the objects and materials you used to print, remove the tape and then using a hot dry iron, press your fabric. It’s now heat set, pressed and ready for use! Fun, fun!

Today at Blossom Bake and Create blogger Lynda has a great post with links to even more information about preserving botanicals for use in printing. It is an excellent post and I am anxious more now than ever to get collecting some grasses and leaves to preserve for future surface design sessions.

I am linking to The Needle and Thread Network.


  1. That is soooo cool Jennifer! I love the effects you achieved! Such a talented woman you are!!! You can come visit me for a walk in the woods to collect some extra specimens... LOVE the lace-look!!! Well done!!

  2. such great pieces of fabric you've created! can't wait to see what you do with them

  3. Marjorie HenwoodJuly 16, 2014 at 8:18 AM

    this looks like so much fun!

  4. Very cool-love the fern ones best with the little bits of salt sprinkled on.

  5. Jennifer Scantlebury VienneauJuly 17, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    Thanks, Lorette! I am going to try and get more pieces done..if the sun comes back out again sometime..

  6. Jennifer Scantlebury VienneauJuly 17, 2014 at 11:28 PM

    Thanks! I have a bunch of ideas for new pieces that I hope will complement these.

  7. Jennifer Scantlebury VienneauJuly 17, 2014 at 11:28 PM

    It really is fun, Marjorie! SO easy to do, too!

  8. Jennifer Scantlebury VienneauJuly 17, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    Those are my favorite as well, Jeanette! I can’t wait to make more of these!

  9. Oh my, that looks too much fun to miss out! Well, I certainly need another past-time. ;-)
    Your fabrics look fantastic, can't wait to see what you will make with them.

  10. Jennifer Scantlebury VienneauJuly 23, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    It is so much fun and so easy! You really need to give it a try! And honestly, it takes so little time to do. All you really need is a nice hot sun and about 15 minutes to set it all up.