Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The Printed Fabric Bee: Architecture

Hey! It's my turn to be the "queen bee" in the Printed Fabric Bee. That just means I picked the theme, size and color palette. Plus, I'll be coordinating the give-away of a collection of 6x6 inch printed fabrics.

I chose Architecture. Each of the other members of The Printed Fabric Bee will be sending me a 12x12 inch piece of original fabric with this theme using the color blue... any blues at all.

Since I recently visited a Frank Lloyd Wright house in NY, I chose his iconic Tree of Life window as my inspiration. I decided to do a faux batik technique using Elmer's Gel Glue. Here are my supplies.

I sketched the lines using a air-disappearing pen. (This piece ended up with too much detail, I had make it more simple.)

Here's you can see the wet glue and the partially disappearing lines.

Here is the 12x12 square after it dried over night.

I used watered down acrylic paint to add the color. It was important to mix the paint and water really well. I wanted a pretty smooth color coverage, no specks or blobs.

Here I've begun filling in the spaces and the paint stayed within the glue lines quite well.

Even though I picked "blues" as my palette, that just really didn't make sense for this design. I had to add something else!

Here is the 6x6 square (for the give-away) and the 12x12 square after the painting was complete. I let the paint dry overnight.

The next day, I filled a bucket with water...

and spent some time swishing and soaking.

There are some other fabrics in the bucket with the Wright windows. You'll see those next month. Hint.

Each fabric really had to be rubbed and massaged so all the glue was off of the fabric. Then I set the pieces on a towel to dry before ironing.

I am thrilled with the results! Here is the 6x6 square.

And here is the 12x12 square.

A detail. Those glue lines came out surprisingly crisp.

Obviously, you can't get super straight edges or pointy corners, but that's not what I was going for.

Would you like to win the collection of 6x6 pieces? Go to The Printed Fabric Bee blog and leave a comment. All the commenters will be entered in a drawing for the collection on September 15.

As usual, here are my thoughts about what worked and what didn't work this month.


  • It's just a great technique. The masking worked great. It was easy to apply. The glue is cheap and easily available.
  • The air disappearing ink was just the right tool, too.
  • Carefully mixing the paint worked well. I'm very pleased with the smooth coverage. The colors are surprisingly deep. I expected more fade and wash out.
  • I'm pleased with the design... even though it's not really my own. But it's fun to do work clearly inspired by other artists.
  • Color palette works. I especially like the light blue, which really does kinda look like the clear glass that was in some of the sections of Wright's windows.
Less Than Successful:
  • My hand was so sore after applying all that glue! (I did more than just the ones I've shown here.)
  • This technique lends itself to more flowy paint and combining colors, which wasn't appropriate here, but is a bit of a missed opportunity. 
  • The dark blue was a bit too dark in some areas. Not a big deal.
  • If we want to get technical, this isn't really a "print" which is the idea behind The Printed Fabric Bee. 
  • Also The Printed Fabric Bee theoretically requires two layers of printing. There is really only one layer of design here. 
Check out the other artists' architecture pieces on The Printed Fabric Bee blog! And comment to be entered in the give-away.


mumbird3 said...

Wow - lovely!!!!

Ellen Shipley said...

This is fantastic!

Carol Morrissey said...

Very nice!

Dody said...

I like it. Thank you for sharing!

MJKasz said...

I love the glue technique you used and the freezer paper stencils Lynda used.

Barbara Thater said...

Wow I love the architecture theme and your block is really nice.

Sue said...

Great piece of art :)

Anonymous said...

Stunning! It really inspires me to give this a try! Sarah: crjandsbj(at)netzero(dot)com

Sarah said...

It is so interesting to read about the process you went through making this fabric! Thanks for sharing! sarah@forrussia.org

Pamela said...

Thanks for the great post! I loved learning this technique, and your results are gorgeous.

Sharon Leahy said...

I've heard of the glue technique, but this is the first I've "seen it in action." I do like the slightly wavey edges to the lines it gives, softer and more appealing that way. I was surprised you said your hand was tired from applying the glue, and not from all the washing you had to do to get the glue out! I imagine that glue removal was quite a task. Thank you for the demo -- love FLW's windows and architecture ... great that you got to visit one. smiles from the edge of the earth in Oregon.