Stamping on to fabric produces a really great effect and is a great way of adding a personal touch and a bit of detail to something that might otherwise seem plain. It’s also a lot of fun to do.
But what sort of things can you make? The possibilities are endless but here’s a few ideas:
Tableware – you could brighten up a table cloth, linen placemats, napkins or even make some napkin rings. (At for Christmas you could even make reuseable crackers!)
Wrapping paper – inspired by the Japanese Furoshiki, reuseable fabric wrapping paper is becoming increasingly popular.
Summer bunting or fabric banners – a great way to use up any scrap fabric you may have, or even just Fat quarters you’ve bought at a craft shop. Use a range of colours with your stamp, get in there with your fingers too, and you could make a great string of bunting or a banner to hang up.
So, with all that in mind (and knowing some parents may be looking for relatively easy activities for over the Easter holidays too), here are some tips to help you out.
Clockwise L-R: Felt, Cotton Twill, Calico, Cotton Jersey (Knit fabric), Hessian
1 – Pick your fabric carefully.
This may seem obvious but there’s a lot to consider. The thickness of fabric will determine how much the ink/paint/colour you choose will be absorbed. Also make sure you think about the weave of the fabric too – an open weave fabric may mean a stamp isn’t too clear and something too detailed may not show up as well. A knitted fabric which has a lot of stretch may stretch too much and distort what you’re printing on too.
For more simple crafts I’d recommend a basic cotton without much stretch to it. It takes printing well, dries relatively quickly and can be picked up in craft shops easily too. Just remember to put something underneath the layer your printing on to as the colour will still sink through and you don’t want marks left on the table/other side of the fabric.
2 – Ink or fabric paint or pens?!
As a rule the more detailed the stamp the lighter-weight the ink/paint should be. If your colour is too thick then it’s more likely to get caught in the gaps in the stamp than rest where you want it to. A small roller, like a printing roller, is a tool I can’t recommend highly enough for helping to get your colour evenly spread across your stamp. Not to mention it’s speedy too. A sponge can also work as long as you're careful.
Also, do remember that not all inks are suitable for printing on to fabric. If you’re printing on something that may need washing then you absolutely need something that will either come with a fixer, or needs heat curing (usually a quick iron) before use. These can be easily found, double checked and bought online, and I have a few in the shop too which I've linked to at the end.
Finally don’t forget that you can also use fabric pens and colour in the stamp before use too – in fact it’s a great way of getting different colours stamped at the same time and for small projects is a great way to get variety. For larger projects this approach may take a bit longer but is certainly still possible.
3 – Mark out your pattern before you start, and you can mask areas too!
I’m not saying know exactly what you’re going to do from the outset – it’s good to be spontaneous and have fun as you’re going. But you might find marking out sections helps you ensure your stamping is even across the fabric, and doesn’t go places it isn’t needed. Masking tape can be great not only to help hold down any fabric you’re using, but you can mark out spaces on the fabric too. And, even better, you can use it to mask areas too to get crisp edges if that’s an effect you’re after.
4 – Mix it up and use more than one sort of stamp for interest.
There’s obviously ‘proper’ stamps you can use to stamp on fabric, and we’re all aware of potato printing like we did when we were kids. But what other things can you use? Sponges can come in brilliantly useful for adding simple shapes to make your designs a bit more complex, and the little rubbers on the end of pencils (make sure it’s a clean one) are fantastic for adding little poker dots too. If you’re after some texture dry paint brushes can also work brilliantly, and don’t forget nature either – painted leaves can provide gorgeous shapes and textures as well.
I hope you have a fantastic time stamping on to fabric - do tag me on social media @mintmakerstudio and let me have a look if you give it a go as I'd love to see your wonderful creations!
Finally, I did say I had some products in the shop you might want to use: