For this season’s Pinterest Challenge, I decided to print my own fabric with twine and potato stamps – it was painless compared to my attempt for the Fall challenge!
Pinterest Challenge, hosted by:
- Sherry from Young House Love
- Katie from Bower Power Blog
- Megan from The Remodeled Life
- Michelle from Decor and the Dog
As the rules of the challenge are to take on a project from Pinterest that inspired you, this is the image that got my attention:
This technique originally came from Christine Schmidt’s book, Print Workshop: Hand-Printing Techniques and Truly Original Projects.
I also loved this example of hand-painted and hand-stamped throw pillows.
Since I wanted to use some scrap fabric, and had just enough to make two throw pillows, it was an easy decision…
Twine Stamp Block
I jumped into the block stamp as my first option. My inspiration example uses a solid wooden block and yarn, but I went with a clear jewelry case and kitchen twine (thought it a better choice, since my yarn scraps were fuzzy/thick).
There isn’t much to this:
- Wrap the box with twine in a design you like and tape it tightly to the back of the box.
- For this pattern, the design needs to be square. I also liked it best with a slight separation between the strands.
- Mix 1/2 acrylic craft paint and 1/2 fabric medium (helps the paint to dry less stiff and bond to the fabric).
- Brush a light layer of paint on the stamp.
- Stamp in rows, rotating the stamp 90º each stamp.
- Once dry, cover with scrap fabric and iron to heat-set the paint (don’t slide the iron, work in patches, holding it place 10-20 seconds at a time).
The clear jewelry case I used was nice since I could see exactly where the twine would line up with its neighboring stamp, but being hollow it was harder to get even pressure in the middle of the stamp. I think a solid block would have been better.
This is what it looked like with the entire sheet of fabric covered (it’s about 15″(38cm) square).
And then, because I don’t seem capable of doing just one simple project and leave it at that…I tried potato stamping too. There are tons of potato stamp projects on Pinterest, but no one in particular that stood out as inspiring.
I had in mind to do some kind of a bird pattern, so I went through these sketches.
Oh yeah, and I’m using the scraps leftover from making the origami squares for my last project. (Points for reusing!)
This was my first time trying a potato stamp, and I didn’t realize until I had my sketch ready that I didn’t have a plan for transferring my drawing to the potato.
I just stuck it on there, and then realized wet paper was a bad idea…
Cutting through or scoring the paper was impossible. So, I poked some pin holes at reference points (like the tips of the wings, tops of curves, etc.), and then free-handed the rest with a pen. It was tricky to draw the shape without etching the potato, but I tried to only leave ink and not pen impressions.
Then I cut out the shape in chunks with an X-acto.
You have to go slowly with this step and be especially careful to cut straight down, at a 90º angle, and not undercut the lines. Especially at the finer parts of the shape, you need the potato under the stamping surface to support the shape when stamping. For the finest parts (like the tips of the wings), I tried to angle the cuts outward to give them a little more stability (think about a pyramid shape underneath the stamping surface to support it).
Here’s the cut stamp.
The stamping part is very easy.
Using a small paint brush, cover the stamp with a thin layer of paint (mixed with fabric medium like above), and start stamping. I didn’t have to worry much about wiggling or rocking the stamp for even coverage; I just stamped it straight down on the fabric.
One thing I found with the potato stamp is that it’s not the best for stamping a grid pattern. Since it’s lumpy – and well, a potato – you probably won’t find a good reference point for lining the stamps up with each other. I was lucky my spud had a flat spot and an eye at the top, so I used those to judge my placement, but as you can see my grid is listing…
I don’t know if it’s because of the color I chose or what? But I can’t get out of my head that they look more like goldfish or taxidermied moose heads than sparrows…either acceptable alternatives, really.
Hand-Printed Fabric Throw Pillows
I wanted to use these pieces of fabric as throw pillows, but I also wanted to see a mockup before sewing them. So I put them together with a basting stitch (loose, temporary) and pinned them shut. Here they are, mocked up, in situ:
I think they look pretty good!
How about some close-ups?
I may add a few more birds on the potato stamp pillow before sewing (if my potato doesn’t rot!) I’d stopped short of the number I wanted when I started losing my grid pattern…but now seeing it all together, I think it needs a few more birds.
I haven’t decided if I’ll do the backs of the pillows in the same patterns or switch is up and make a different design for a reversible pillow. Either way would work, though it may be fun to try out another technique on the pillow backs…