Expand Your Possibilities with Textile Paint and Puff Additive

Way back in the ‘80s I interviewed a woman who decorated sweatshirts with this cool new product called puff paint. Her painted fabric embellishments crossed Jackson Pollock-like technique with candy store colors. The sweatshirts sold like umbrellas at an outdoor graduation during a downpour, especially to the Madonna-wannabe set.

textile paint with and without puff additive by lynn krawczyk
The symbol on the left was printed using Puff Additive.
The same paint was used on the right, with no additive.
Art and photo by Lynn Krawczyk.

Until puff paint caught on with the crafty set and kids, that is. Then it was still fun, but kind of kitschy. Not something a "real" artist would use.

But nothing is off limits to an artist, right? I've been noticing that puff paint has been making a comeback. And that makes sense, as we are always looking to a) play and b) add texture and depth to our work.

Mixed-media textile artist Lynn Krawczyk is right on top of this expanding paint trend. In the September/October 2013 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine, Lynn experiments with Jacquard®'s Puff Additive to see how it works best and where she can take it.

"As a 2-D artist, I'm constantly challenged to make my pieces appear to have more depth," writes Lynn. "Even though the work is flat, I want it to be rich with details and textures. Paint alone can do some pretty nifty things, but once you start adding mediums to it, the sky is the limit!"

Jacquard's Puff Additive is a prime example of how paint can be altered to create really unique effects. As its name implies, this product gives a raised effect to paint when dried and heated.

Lynn played with the ratio of paint to additive, the dry time, and the application using screen-printing, gelatin mono-printing, and layered printing techniques.

screen printed textile paint with puff additive lynn krawczyk
Screen-printed paint with Puff Additive.The text on the
right has been activated with heat to create raised letters.
Art and photo by Lynn Krawczyk

Here are some of Lynn's observations:

  • A screened puff design can be used as an outline for later painting inside the design. The puff outline acts as a barrier.
  • The puff additive works in textile paint as well as in screen printing paint.
  • When only a little puff is desired, apply the paint in a very thin layer with a brush. It will still puff, but not too much.
  • It is possible to use the puff additive with screen-printed text and symbols. Delicate text stood up better than expected. The text that was chunky and had letters close together was harder to read, but the text was still very readable. Not only does the application provide texture, but it's a non-sewing alternative to appliqué letters.

With Lynn's experiments, I am now able to get those '80s sweatshirts out of my head. And after all, if Madonna can make several comebacks, why not puff paint?

Tutorials that focus on mixing textile, paint, and other media are always included in Quilting Arts. With a subscription, you won't miss a single one.


P.S. Does puff paint live in your stash? Tell me how you use it!

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