Fabric art involves all mixed-media art made from fabric, using a wide range of surface design techniques. Starting with fabric, batik, tapestry, and woven materials, you have a myriad of contemporary fiber art techniques to explore: embroidery, stitch, heat transfer, appliqué designs, screen printing techniques, textile paint techniques, embellishing, and more. Come explore the mixed-media side of fabric with us today.
Here is a basic supply list to get you started. You probably already have some of the materials on this list.
Markers and Pens - Pens and markers are very versatile tools for decorating fabric. Consider both permanent markers, such as Sharpies, and pens and markers designed for use on fabric.
Paintbrushes - Use paintbrushes to apply paint and dye and always keep a variety of different sizes on hand.
Paint Roller/Brayer - A paint roller or brayer is a great tool to have on hand, and you'll find that it's useful in a variety of different ways.
Spray Bottles - Spray bottles in a variety of sizes are a must-have in surface design projects. Fill with water, dye, paint, or even bleach, and create a variety of unique techniques and textures on fabric. (Remember to use safety precautions when working with bleach.)
Paints - Acrylic paint is versatile and can be used in a variety of fabric and surface design projects; fabric or textile paints are best if you're creating wearable items and things that will be washed; screen-printing inks can be used with screens, stencils, and masks, or as a substitute for paint. Be sure to look for water-based inks and inks made for use on fabric.
Dye - While paints sit on top of the fibers in a piece of fabric, dyes actually bond with the fibers, so the hand (or feel) of the fabric won't change and the dyed fabric can be washed.
Sewing Machine - A solid model with a basic presser foot for zigzag and straight stitching will take you far, but one that has a darning foot and the option of lowering the feed dog on the machine allows you to stitch in any direction, including circles will give you more options.
Hand- sewing Needles - Use hand stitching to close an opening, attach a decorative element, or add an expressive touch to some projects with embroidery stitches.
Fabric - White cotton broadcloth, muslin, and canvas are good places to start, but commercial fabrics can be used as-is or altered, too. And recyclable materials like paper, plastic bags, and cast-off clothing and vintage textiles are perfect for small projects.
Thread - Thread can be used to draw, write, and add pattern or texture. Cotton or rayon machine sewing threads, as well as a palette of hand sewing threads like perle cotton, will get you started.
Source: Sew Wild: Creating with Stitch and Mixed Media, by Alisa Burke, Interweave, 2011
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