DIY Fabric Design — Challenge # 2

I’ve got a makeover project in the works for you and I’ve been searching everywhere for the perfect fabric to use. I tracked down some fantastic sources with cases of cool cloth that I’ll share with you in future posts. But I had no luck finding that perfect material, just right for my project. Yah, I can be obsessive.


The solution? Design a fabric myself. I plan to use the freezer paper stencil technique that Lena Corwin uses in her book Printing by Hand, so I need a simple design with shapes I can easily cut out and stencil onto a basic canvas background.

The patterns in our living room are organic and mostly variations of leaves and vines. I wanted to use something different but still with that organic feeling. So I started sketching simple flowers and settled on a coneflower motif. I traced with a Sharpie the shapes I liked best and then scanned them. From there I used a photo-editing software to rotate and multiply my little motifs.

Here’s the original sketch…


…the two motifs…


…and the resulting patterns. Once in a pattern, I decided the straight flower looked too much like a palm tree (great Ahloha fabric though) and that I preferred the curved flower.


I tried a couple colorways; I’m going with the tan and lime one (top of page).


So here’s this week’s challenge: Create a design for simple piece of fabric for your home. First consider where you’ll use it. Don’t think giant; let’s start out simply. Maybe you have a chair seat that needs recovering or a pillow that’s fraying. Or you’d like a snappy new runner for your dining room table.

Next, think about how you’ll apply the design to the surface of the fabric. Will you stencil? Stamp? Paint? Transfer? Use whatever design tools you are comfortable with; you can do draw the whole thing by hand, without use of any software.

The challenge is just the design of the fabric, so like mine your challenge entry can be the finished drawing of the design. Or if you have the inclination, go ahead and put the design onto the fabric in the method of your choice to share with us.

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When you're done, snap a photo and submit your entry. Do so by Wednesday, April 15, 2009 to be included in the Ta-Da! Challenge Results post. We can't wait to see what you do!

DIY Fabric Design -- Challenge # 2

  • Submission Deadline: Wednesday, April 15, 2009
  • Ta-Da! Challenge Results: Thursday, April 16, 2009

Check out all 1 entries:

1. casey in Martinez, CA, USA 

1. From casey in Martinez, CA, USA:

casey's entry

Mermaid Fabric

(First cover your table or floor with a thick layer of newspaper)

1. Using household wax, “batik” white crepe-back satin using an old, small paintbrush. (I used swirly designs to look like water)

2. To batik, melt the wax in a heavy, small pan using medium heat so the wax doesn’t ignite. Dip your brush in every few minutes so the wax is liquid.

3. If it smokes, TURN it DOWN! Be careful, the wax is HOT!

4. When you finish covering your fabric with your wax designs, let it dry. (Replacing the newspapers will help)

5. Crumple up the fabric to crack the wax a little. It makes a cool pattern in the wax.

6. Paint the colors using your choice of watered down acrylic paints. They need to FLOW & BLEND into each other. I used Ceramcoat. (Iridescent paint can be a nice accent too)

7. When you finish covering the fabric with your painted colors, let it dry. (Again, replace the newspapers)

8. To remove the wax, place a THICK pad of newspapers with a layer of paper towels on top on your ironing board. You DON’T want the wax to end up on your ironing board! Then with a medium high setting on your iron, iron from the REVERSE side of the fabric until most of the wax has melted down into the paper. It won’t all come out. But keep trying.

9. Then launder the fabric and dry it as usual. (With each washing it will be softer.)

10. Use your custom fabric in any project that would work well with satin. I backed mine with flannel and made a “Mermaid Blanket for my son, Tanner. He says he loves how silky and cool one side is and the other side is warm.
He likes the colors too. (So do I!)

11. I even painted white fringe with the same paint (no wax) to match!

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4 Comments for “DIY Fabric Design — Challenge # 2”

Great idea! The plastic insert from BACON makes great stencil material and holds up longer than freezer paper. It’s easy to cut with an exacto too..just be sure to WASH it first! Does anyone even EAT bacon anymore? Do it for ART!

Casey, Your fabric is delicious! Any mermaid would be proud to have this as part of her shell’s decor. And thanks for sharing with us all the detailed instructions. I have never tried batik, but your results are fabulous. Nice too that you don’t have to go buy any fancy paint, good old Ceramcoat works.

[…] Challenge # 2: Draw your own design for a small piece of fabric for use in your home. Due Wednesday, April 15. […]

[…] at HomeWorkshop, we’ve worked on our own fabric designs; now let’s use a fabric design as […]

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