Fabric Pastel Tips
Draw directly onto most textiles using these oil pastels. Enjoy a quick and immediate way to create dramatic, unique designs.
- Pentel Fabric Fun Dye Sticks (Set of 12) are special crayons to be used on fabrics.
- Broad Cloth or Old Pillow Cases
- Stencils (optional)
Select and Prepare Fabric. White fabric works best. To demonstrate the bright effects of the Dye Sticks choose light-coloured or white fabrics. For subtler or more subdued affects you may use darker fabric. Light-coloured dye stick colours like white, yellow and orange may not show up well on dark blue denim.
- Any natural fabric like cotton, denim, silk and rayon are ideal. Synthetic fabric like polyester may work but test the material first to ensure it will not melt when ironed or you will not be able to heat set your design.
- Clean fabric creates the best results; pre-wash fabric, to remove dirt, sizing and starch.
- Smoother fabrics will allow finer details, blending and mark-making. For beginners, we recommend smooth broadcloth used for napkins, pillowcases, and tablecloths.
- Stiff fabrics such as those used in tote bags, sneakers, ball caps, backpacks, and hats also work well.
- Rough fabrics may also work. Test first. Strong texture may interfere or enhance the art depending on the artist’s preference, style and design.
- T-shirt material is stretchy and may prove tricky for beginners. See below for tips.
Warm up Exercise: Rubbings. A clever technique used to create marks, shapes and textures for adding interest to the simplest of drawings. It is so easy. Just put thin cloth over a textured surface and colour evenly across it.
Flatten and Secure Fabric. Iron if necessary. Tape, pin or staple fabric to hard, smooth surface to help it stay in place during tracing or drawing. Note: If the working surface has imperfections or a wood grain, these will show through as the pastel is applied. We recommend a using smooth mat board or even recycled cardboard, e.g., a cereal box.
Pre-draw a design onto paper using a pencil and marker. When you are happy with the size and composition, the drawing can be slipped under the fabric and traced.
Apply pastels directly onto fabrics.
Fabric Pastels can be applied using any drawing technique such as tracing, stencilling, cross-hatching, mark-making, layering, blending, and rubbing. It is best to work from light colours to dark colours. Like oil pastels, they may be easily smudged with blending stumps and fingers. Colour can be build up in layers to create dramatic results.
Tip: To avoid transferring colour from dirty fingertips to clean fabric or other parts of your drawing, place a clean sheet of paper over a completed area as you continue your work. This will prevent the smudging of finished areas that have not been heat set. It also helps to wash hands often and keep clean tissues handy.
Tip: Corrections are possible. Fabric Fun Pastel Dye Sticks can be washed out as long as they are not heat-fixed; use only with cold to tepid water. Washing the fabric with warm or hot water will fix the colour into the fabric.
Heat-Set by Ironing to Make Colours Permanent
When you are happy with your design and want to make it permanent, take a piece waxed paper and put it over the fabric. Now, iron over your design at the appropriate temperature and your design will be fixed permanently to the fabric.
Hand wash fabric with soap and water to remove oily residue.Pigments will stay soft and malleable on the fabric.
- Fabric Puppet Projects: Manga or anime characters, animals or story books
- Reptile Illustrations for fabric books
- Botanical illustrations for quilters
Kim Fjordbotten (June 2020) As owner of The Paint Spot, Kim Fjordbotten is passionate about helping artists use materials and make art. She is available as a speaker and educator for teachers and art associations. The Paint Spot offers exhibitions, workshops, and beautiful art materials to inspire your creativity.
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