This has been a fun week working with an acrylic painted fabric. For a while now, I haven’t been satisfied with the backgrounds of my work. I felt they were just plain boring. So, I’ve been thinking of ways to kick it up a notch.
I got my opportunity this week when I decided to paint some fabrics to use as my background instead of the solid black background fabric I’ve been using recently. Although I’ve painted fabrics before, this time I wanted to try an acrylic painted fabric, not a dye painted fabric.
I started off with a piece of unprimed canvas that I purchased by the yard from a fabric store. I knew going in that using an unprimed canvas will mean, the canvas will absorb more of the paint. But that’s the look I was going for. Not the look where the paint adheres to the top surface of the acrylic painted fabric.
So I chose the unprimed canvas for this effect. Secondly, I chose it so I’ll have an easy time sewing through my acrylic painted fabric. I knew that if I had the paints sitting on top of a primed canvas, it’ll be difficult to stitch through.
Diluted Acrylic Paints
Furthermore, I aggressively diluted my paint with water to about 50% water and 50% acrylic paint. It created a form of an acrylic wash. This also helped to reduce the “plastic-y” feel of the paint. Thus making it easier for me to stitch through later.
Drying the Acrylic Painted Fabric Between Washes
I used the acrylic wash to paint over the canvas several times. I used different values of blue and gray paint. My final acrylic painted fabric must have been painted at least 10 times. Each time, I let it dry before applying another wash. I used a hair dryer to hasten things along. Letting it dry first before applying another wash ensures that the previous colors get the chance to set.
Then I drew two curves in blue and orange on top of the background. The design I was going for is the cropped version of this design that I created a few weeks ago. Drawing on the painted canvas was very challenging for me. Because I drew shapes freehand on the acrylic painted fabric, I was working so hard to get them perfectly placed.
As much as I try to avoid perfectionism because I know it’s bad for creativity, sometimes I just find myself tangled up in it. When that happens, I have to talk myself out of it to keep moving. Although I managed to make myself move along, I won’t lie to you. I went back a couple of times to try and perfect those two curves. (You’d notice in the video below that I went at it again with thread sketching.)
After I was satisfied with the colors and somewhat satisfied with the curves, I hang my acrylic painted fabric to dry for 48 hours. I don’t think I needed to wait that long. But I wasn’t quite ready to go back to working on it any sooner. So it all worked out great. The paints got a chance to set and I got a chance to work on other things.
Quilting The Acrylic Painted Fabric
Ultimately, I knew, I wanted to add thread sketching to this piece to add texture and to increase its interest. I planned to use thread to draw a few more shapes but I knew I’d have lots of negative spaces on my acrylic painted fabric. Since I wanted to prevent that from causing puckering issues, I decided to first quilt the entire background before thread sketching.
Fabric Collages Fused to Acrylic Painted Fabric
Now to add more elements to this mixed media project, I cut out some curves from fabric and fused it to my now quilted, acrylic painted fabric.
Watch the video to see me adding thread elements to this complex piece.
The Big Reveal
And now, here you have it, drum roll, please…….. “Infinity” – Hand-dyed, acrylic painted fabric, thread sketched and free motion stitched.
Overall Front View
Close Up View of the Front
Overall – Rear View
Close-Up Back View
Perfectionism tried to stop me but I wouldn’t let it.
What do you think about stretching your creativity and trying something new like I did this week? Have you used an acrylic painted fabric in your work before? What challenges did you face? Can’t wait to hear from you.