If you're a fabric geek like me you'll appreciate that hand printed fabrics are just about as good as it gets. For my birthday this year my lovely sister in law bought me Lena Corwin's book Printing by Hand proving that a) she's cool, and b) she knows me well.
There are lots of different printing techniques in the book ranging from simple to complicated. Today I tried out a basic stamp print onto cotton unbleached calico fabric using oven bake clay and fabric paint. The book suggests foam or lino and a lino cutter to make the stamps but after playing with clay with the kids over the school holidays I figured it would be easier. You can even attach a blob of clay on the back of your stamp as a holder.
Fabric paint - I bought mine from Spotlight. You need the kind that you iron to fix the colours so that they're washable.
Oven bake clay from a craft store. This is clay that you shape then bake in an oven on a low temperature for it to harden.
Here we go...
I decided on a simple sun stamp so I rolled out my clay and drew the shape I wanted with the tip of a knife. Once I had the basic shape I used a toothpick to carve in details. Anywhere that you carve out won't have paint in your final print. Once I was happy with it I carefully cut around the sun shape. If you work on some baking paper you can pop it straight into the oven without having to pick it up.
Once it's out of the oven and cool brush away any crumbs with a dry paintbrush.
I experimented with different ways to apply the paint. First I used a sponge which I had covered in paint thinking that it would apply the paint evenly if I pressed the stamp into it, but it was too light. In the end I applied the paint to the stamp generously with a soft paintbrush.
Once you have finished your printing you'll need to wait until it's dry before ironing the fabric with a dry (no steam) iron. Wipe your stamp and pop it away for another day.
This is easy enough for kids to have a go and you can make your fabric into just about anything, or leave it whole and use it as a tablecloth or picnic blanket.
I made mine into a simple summer dress for my daughter.