I’m excited to show you an awesome surface design technique I created with acrylic paints. I’m calling it “Penny-Tucked Fabric Design”. Surface design is a fun way to create a new fabric design. I enjoy creating surface designs because they give me the opportunity to play.
And guess what? Playing is an important component of creativity. Bet you didn’t know that, huh? So whenever I get the chance to create a new fabric design by playing with dyes and paints, I’m all for it.
Let’s admit it, not every part of the creative process is fun all the time. However, fabric design with paints allows you to enjoy the creative process in ways that you can’t do with other aspects of your creative practice.
If you aren’t into fabric designing, man, you should try it. You don’t need to set up a full-scale dyeing studio. You can start small with paintsticks and fabric markers.
I think you’re going to like this fabric design I created. If you’re ready, let’s get right to it.
Supplies Needed for Penny-Tucked Fabric Design
- White Fabric
- Acrylic Paints
- Rubber Bands
- Spray Bottles
- Several Pennies
To start, I randomly tucked each penny under my cloth and tied it with a rubber band. You want to make your tie or knot tight so that paint will not seep through it. For this, you want to use the very small rubber bands. If your rubber bands are too big you’ll need to wind them around the pennies several times before you’ll get a tight tie.
For this, you want to use the very small rubber bands, not the big ones. If your rubber bands are too big you’ll need to wind them around the pennies several times before you’ll get a tight tie.
To create an organic pattern tie several pennies in a random fashion all over your cloth. If you’re interested in creating a specific pattern, say a grid or some other geometric pattern, then mark the places you’d like your penny shapes to be.
Applying Paint to the Penny-Tucked Fabric Design
Next, dilute your acrylic paints with water to get a runny mixture. Fluid acrylics will work well for this. Then dip a wide brush into your paint and apply it to the surface of your cloth.
You’ll be painting on the side of the cloth shown in the photo below, not the other side.
Although I imagine painting on the other side will also yield an interesting fabric design as well.
Next, you want to fill a spray bottle with a different color of your diluted acrylic paints and spray it over your painted cloth.
Here’s how the cloth turned put after I’d overpainted it with the gray paint.
Here’s a look at it nicely folded up.
As you can see in the above close-up photo it has a lot of textures and different values which make it really rich. But it didn’t remain all nicely folded up for long.
I was having so much fun, I decided to experiment a little more. While one part was saying, “be done already”, the other part was saying, “more, more…” So I went for it.
Using the same blue color in a different value (much lighter than I’d used previously), I went on another painting spree.
This time, I used a small paint brush to fill in the little white “holes” left behind by the pennies.
Here’s the fabric with the white holes painted blue.
Here it is all nicely folded up.
The final design was really rich. It had three-dimensional like shapes on the surface of the fabric.
Ideas for Creating Variations of this Design
- Use a different color palette
- Use variations in value of the same color
- Arrange pennies in a geometric pattern
- Paint on the other side of the fabric
- Use a colored fabric to start, not a white fabric
So now, there you have it. A beautiful fabric design created from a play date with acrylic paints.
Do you like this idea? Are you going to try it out? What variations would you try? Let me know in the comments. Chat soon.
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