Saturday, November 29, 2008


Where do you get yours?
In this post, I'll be talking about finding ideas for designs for painting Christmas gifts.
With fabric paint, you can personalize just about anything:  Napkins, aprons, jeans, t-shirts, things you can buy inexpensively and spruce up in your own way.  Metallic paints (available at most arts and craft stores) provide the best color saturation and show up on most fabrics.  With such paint brands as Lumiere by Jacquard and Delta Glitter Stuff for fabric, the sky is the limit.  Add Aleene's OK to Wash-It Fabric Bond glue and fake jewels and beads can be added to the mix.  
So now you're staring at your blank canvas and have no idea where to start.  But you can find inspiration for your designs almost everywhere you look.  Here is a photo of one of my house plants.  Leaves and berries are the basis for so many patterns.  I visited a Victorian "castle" this weekend and was overwhelmed by the ornate designs that covered each surface, most with vines and leaves and flowers of some kind.  Pictured to the right is wallpaper that I saw in an art deco hotel.  It has such an interesting take on paisleys and swirls I had to document it.  Below are photos of details of the stone wall surrounding the Bethesda Fountain in New York.  Usually, the fountain gets all my attention but for some reason that day, I really studied the other stone work.  I realized that I have walked past these amazing designs for years without noticing that though the wall is fairly symmetrical and seemingly repetitive, each of these little stone carvings is slightly different, it's own gorgeous ornate design.  

So the best thing to do once you've decided on an inspiration is to find a practice scrap.  I like to paint freehand, but stencils and sketching out your design with a washable pencil is a great option.  Mistakes are difficult to wipe off.  I compare this process with music improvisation, where turning your mistakes into brilliant choices and uniqueness is key.
Finishing requires air drying (read the directions on the bottle for drying time) and then ironing to set.  The end result of a painted design is less time consuming than embroidery and can be more striking or more subtle, depending on your color choices.  

Pictured here are my own projects and experimentation with this design technique:  a jean jacket and jeans.  They have held up to machine washing.  For my Holiday gifts this year, I am considering sewing some napkins (use 100% cotton fabric)(lots of hemming, but pretty easy once you get used to the first one) and then painting the corners in simple designs, each slightly different like the Central Park Wall stone work above.  The thing about cloth napkins, too, is that it cuts down on the amount of paper towels that fill land fills.  I love using them every day.

Have fun!  Let me know where your design inspiration comes from!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a comment
or email Leenya at leenya.rideout.totherescue
with a style or budget dilemma to find out,
What Would Leenya Do?