A brand new Plaid product line recently launched at Hobby Lobby and on plaidonline.com. It's called Fabric Creations and encompasses a variety of intricately designed block stamps, super soft fabric inks and tools such as paint applicators, foam printing mats and cleaning brushes.
Let's first talk about the art of block printing / stamping. Did you know that the art of block-printing goes back over a thousand years and was practiced by traditional artisans of India using intricately hand carved wood blocks? This beautiful art form is still being carried on today! Block printing stamps are a great design tool for creating one-of-a-kind artisan crafted textile projects, however, each block stamp which has been individually hand carved is not only labor intensive, it also requires a great deal of time. Sound in the trumpets !!!!
Plaid has developed a line of molded block stamps that still maintain the quality of the intricately designed details of wood block stamps. These Fabric Creations Block Printing Stamps are available as small and medium sized stamps as well as border stamp designs that can be used to create unique fashions, quilts, textiles, patchwork, scrapbooking projects, card making and even wrapping paper!
Before we begin our project today, let's learn about the Fabric Creations Fabric Inks. This super soft fabric ink is manufactured with the perfect formulation for stamping, stenciling and brushing-on artistic designs onto most close-weave fabrics. These Fabric Inks are waterbase, non-toxic, machine washable once heat set, made in the USA, and come in a wide variety of trend-right colors!
I know you are excited to see this new product line in action ... let's gather our supplies and get started ....
- 14" x 14" Cotton Pillow Cover
- Fabric Creations Fabric Inks - Grapefruit, Lime, Turquoise, Aqua
- Fabric Creations Block Printing Stamps - Small Baroque Floral, Small Fern, Feather Border, Medium Indian Leaf, and Border Feather
- Fabric Creations Tools - Foam Printing Mat, Sponge Cubes and Cleaning Brush
- Miscellaneous Supplies: Foam Plate as palette, Paper Towels, FolkArt Daubers to create polka dots, Ruler (optional)
Now let's get started ... To create the project of the day, I received a little help from our Fabric Creations Brand Manager, Alice Goff, who created this beautiful yet easy-to-accomplish mandala pattern pillow. A mandala is a circular design pattern that is created by using other shapes within the circle such as squares, triangles, etc. Alice invites us all to follow along as she creates a mandala Fabric Creations pillow cover step-by-step!
To start, it's ideal to always prewash your fabric before block printing. Simply wash and dry the fabric in the machine following the fabric manufacturer's instructions without the use of fabric softeners or spray starch products if ironed.
Alice is showing us here that it is key to protecting the backside of the pillow cover, while providing a soft surface to stamp against, is to slide the Foam Printing Mat in the pillow and center it under the area to be stamped.
The next step Alice teaches us is to properly load the Foam Sponge Cubes. You can see here that she poured a small amount of Turquoise Fabric Ink onto a foam plate, and dipped one flat side of the sponge cube into the puddle. TIP: Before loading the block stamp, you will always want to tap the loaded cube on the side in a clean area to: 1) make sure the cube is fully loaded and 2) to "off-load" any excess Fabric Ink.
Using that loaded Foam Sponge Cube, Alice then taps the surface of the block stamp. You can see here that the paint will adhere to the top ridges of the stamp design. Continue tapping the block stamp until all the design lines are covered with paint and you no longer see the white of the design.
Can you see the Foam Printing Mat inside the pillow cover? It is there to act as a soft yet firm cushion for the block stamp to press against; it will also protect your bottom layer from any excess paint bleed through. Position the loaded stamp where you want to begin your design and lightly press in place. TIP: When creating a mandala design as Alice is here, you will find it easier to always begin your design in the center and work outwards.
Alice is beginning her mandala pattern with the Small Baroque Floral block stamp. Once pressed in place, she carefully lifted her stamp straight up rather than at an angle which may spread the fabric ink where it is not desired. Isn't this so cool? TIP: When repeating this same design with the same color, it is important to always reload your stamp with additional Fabric Ink for a consistent color design. Applying equal pressure will achieve the same print transfer every time as well.
However, the beauty in this art form is to NOT have every print transfer matching or equal in color intensity or pattern transfer. You WANT the look of hand crafted and NOT machine manufactured. So, please don't sweat an imperfect stamp transfer.
Now, let's watch Alice build her mandala pattern.... she added Grapefruit Fabric Ink and the Small Fern Block Stamp to her design.
Here is a design TIP: Think about adding to a design using the face of a clock when you want your design elements to be evenly spaced. Here you can see Alice working out her pattern using 12,3, 6, and 9 o'clock as her base.
Alice then continues to build her mandala pattern adding the Medium Indian Leaf loaded with Turquoise Fabric Ink. Notice that she is using two hands to steady her placement of the block stamp because it is larger in size.
Voila! Lift and reveal a fun design is coming to life ...
Again she is using the face of a clock design rule! Go, Alice, go!! We cannot wait to see what is next!
Alice continued adding the Medium Indian Leaf stamp around the central design ... can you see she is building her mandala design?
That is so pretty, Alice! TIP: Remember to move the Foam Printing Mat around inside the pillow cover so that it is always centered under the area you are applying the block stamp to.
To continue building her mandala, Alice loaded the Small Baroque Floral stamp once more, this time with Grapefruit and stamped outside the Medium Indian Leaf.
Alice was happy with her mandala in the center of the pillow cover, yet wanted to create interest and add patterns in the corners as well as create a border. So she began by stamping the Small Fern loaded with Lime Fabric Ink in the four corners.
The next stamp design is a favorite of many crafters, it is a Border Feather design! Adding a touch of Aqua Fabric Ink, the feather border design comes to life by placing the center stamp first ......
..... then adding a stamp to the right and left of the center stamp transfer. See how fun it is to create your own printed block stamp design?
To complete the project and "fill-in" a few areas with additional interest, Alice embellished her block stamped design with a few painted polka dots using a FolkArt Dauber.
Simply load the dauber with Fabric Ink and press in place where desired, lift straight up and voila ... a perfect polka dot!
Here is a quick look at Alice's pillow cover (once block printed before the dauber polka dots) without the pillow insert added. She used a combination of four colors of Fabric Creations Fabric Inks and five Fabric Creations Block Stamps! What do you think?
Once the Fabric Inks have dried 24 hours you will be ready to heat set using a pressing cloth and dry hot heat over each design area for 30 seconds. After being heat set your Fabric Creations project can then be enjoyed and then laundered. As always we suggest the rule of thumb that if your project was hand created, it is best to be hand washed. However, Fabric Creations Fabric Inks are tested to be washing machine safe with mild detergents.
Another TIP: After each stamp's use, carefully clean the stamp to remove any Fabric Ink residue. I like to rinse at the sink under running water while using the hand dandy Fabric Creations Cleaning Brush!
This is the PERFECT craft ... want to know why? Fabric Creations is the PERFECT craft because no two people given the same stamps and same colors will come up with the same design. The possibilities are endless. The block stamps can be stamped in a mandala pattern like Alice just taught us, OR over each other creating a layered effect, (check out the middle section of this pillow I had created .... the Medium Paisley block stamp was applied over the Small Baroque Floral block stamp).
They can be stamped over a basecoated background as shown below in another pillow I had created. This project used five Block Stamps yet only three colors of Fabric Inks! Or they can be stamped using more than one color on the stamp at the same time creating an ombre effect.
The possibilities are endless. Please give our new Fabric Creations a whirl, you will enjoy, I promise! Find the stamps at Hobby Lobby or on our website!