Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Coloring Fabric + a zip pouch

Do you know what this is?  Of course you do.  It's a graphic black and white printed fabric.  Very basic; we've all seen and used this kind of fabric before.

Recently, I attended a local quilt show, put on by a local guild (to which I do not belong).  Pati Fried  was the featured artist.  I was fortunate to catch her in a lull in the show and she waxed eloquent about a fun idea involving color markers and fabric.

In one of her recent blog entries, she posted, " .... I will be playing with color all weekend at the show. My whole shtick has always been to inspire others to try something new. So, that is going to be the theme of the weekend from me. I will be sharing tips and tricks on how to add color to all of those wonderful black and white prints on the market today, and then show a few samples of what to do with them! ... "

She talked about how she uses the graphic black and white *fabrics* as coloring books!  She uses fabric markers and coloring crayons, both heat set, to transform the black and white into technicolor!  The effect was astounding.  What was once merely an attractive and useful graphic was now blazing with custom colored designs.

I couldn't wait to get home to try it!  From my scrapbooking and card making craft supplies, I knew I had markers, pencils and perhaps even crayons.  I knew that I also had some specific *fabric* markers but I was curious to see if any of the other markers would be suitable.  The only problem was that many of my markers are quite old; they could even be dried out, for all I knew.  A purchase of new markers was in order.. but ... just in case I didn't care for the process, I didn't want to buy expensive ones but did want ones that would color nicely.

From my local Aaron Brothers Art Mart, I ended up purchasing a couple of individual (apparently high end) Winsor & Newton markers and at the other end of the scale, some inexpensive, generic children's markers.

Once home, I began coloring in the rectangles and squares of my fabric.  I tried to remember to leave a ring of empty shapes between the markers, as a boundary, so I could know where the different markers had been used.  I had fabric markers, watercolor markers, permanent markers, watercolor pencils (I was curious how these would work) and plain colored pencils.  The watercolor pencils were applied dry and then wet with a damp brush (predictably, the color did spread beyond the graphic lines); all markers were then heat set with a dry iron.  The colored fabric was then tossed into the washing machine with laundry soap and finally dried in the dryer,

I used the following markers:
* Windsor & Newton water color markers
* Art Alternatives marker set (this was the inexpensive children's set ... 36 markers for $10)
* Fabrico by Tsukineko fabric markers
* The Fabric Marker by Marvy (this was one of my old sets, the ink was very dry)
* Crayola watercolor pencils (applied dry, then wet)
* Memory Pencils by EK Success (not watercolor pencils)
* Color Pencils by Color Art (also not watercolor pencils)
* Faber-Castell watercolor pencils (applied dry then wet)
* Zig markers

 This is what I ended up with ...
As was to be expected, the regular pencils were the lightest ... but they still didn't wash out!  Even the watercolor pencils didn't wash out.   The section that looks very pale and washed out (in the middle) is the areas where I used the watercolor pencils and the regular colored pencils.  So, if you wanted a very toned-down, subtle hint of color, you can achieve this effect but simply using pencils.

 The best turned out to be *both* the most *and* least expensive: Winsor & Newton markers AND the  Art Alternatives.  Those colors are vibrant and rich.  The boldly colored areas at the top and bottom of the fabric are the areas where I used these markers.

Since they are markers, if you were a proper artist or had even the least little bit of an artistic bent, you could apply heavier pressure and creating shading.  Not me though ... I'm definitely not a proper artist. :-)

So, now that I had some colored fabric that I knew would withstand laundering, I decided to make a zip pouch.  I love zip pouches ... they are SUCH fun to make.

I cut this colored fabric to use *just* the colored-in areas.  This dictated the size of my zip pouch.  I found some colorful, irregularly striped fabric that I used as the interior lining and a suitably long zipper in a greenish teal shade that I knew I was never going to use any place else.

I have a fairly large collection of instructions/tutorials for making zip pouches of different shapes.  They are all such fun to make!   But, my *all time FAVORITE* tutorial is Anna of Noodlehead's tutorial for her Open Wide Zippered Pouch.  By far, I believe this is the BEST basic zippered pouch EVER.  Why?  Simply because, as it's name says, it's "wide open".  Because Anna leaves a zipper tape tail that extends past the pouch itself, you are able to open the pouch as wide as the fabric will allow.  You have access to the entire interior of the pouch.   Other zipper applications don't allow for the pouch to be fully opened.

See how open the pouch can be?  If the zipper had stopped at the ends of the pouch, you would have had a much *smaller* opening and your access to the inside would be restricted.

I oriented the fabric so the bold, dark colors were at the top and the paler areas were at the bottom.  Because this pouch has boxed corners, which gives you a flat bottom, the pouch can stand up on its own (given proper interfacing).  The boxed corners do take up a fair bit of fabric real estate, i.e. you do lose some of the pattern to being on the bottom, but in this case, it was quite OK with me, since that was where the less interesting, paler colors were.

Digging around in my black  & white stash to see what other graphic prints I might already have.  I discovered several candidates that might work out nicely.  Seven, in fact. 

The hexagons, squares and checkerboard will absolutely work out well.  The zebra stripe might work .. or it might not.  The roller coaster and cat outlines might not.  The text print has circles that could be colored in.

However, these 2 black and white prints won't work at all; there's just nothing to color.

All in all, I'm rather pleased and intrigued by this concept.  It certainly opens more avenues for expression. :-)


  1. those last two fabrics...you could still use the markers and/or pencils..I would cut a shape out of cardstock (use your ScanNCut) and color inside the shape..random patches of color...if it overlaps a bit, that could be interesting too...could also use the cutout part and color around it..so many interesting ideas!!

  2. Very cool!!! I was given some great fabric a year ago but there was on piece that was a black and white check in a thicker fabric not suitable for quilting. Humm...........markers and then make a bag.........ok feel flattered you have set me off on another great project idea!!!!!! That bag does look really nice!