When it comes to my quilting fabric, I am one very picky lady. I always have this idea of how I want something to look and then I go searching out the fabrics. Lately my ideas aren’t fitting very well with the fabric available, so I decided to go the next step and just make my own designs! I’ve already tried this method a few times and love the outcome.
My niece’s birthday is coming up soon and her party is rock n’ roll themed and her nursery is decked out in dinosaurs. I wanted to make her a cute little doll with a matching doll quilt as a gift. Finding CUTE rock n’ roll dinosaur fabric was impossible, so I used my proven technique of fabric printing to make myself some.
- Quilting Weight Fabric. (I recommend a high quality since you will be painting it. You dont want the ink to seep through too much.)
- Silhouette Stencil Vinyl
- Silhouette Fabric Ink. (I used one color, but you could very easily use more!)
- A Sponge Brush/Stencil Brush
- Masking Tape
I started by opening up Silhouette Studio and setting up an artboard that was 9″x18″ and set my cutting mat to “None”. This gave me an idea of the space I had to work with. I chose 9″ width because that the size of the Silhouette Brand Stencil Vinyl, and I chose 18″ as the length because thats the normal height of a quilting fat quarter (a quarter chunk of a yard of fabric). You may want a different size depending on what you will be making, or if you are super brave and want to tile the stencil!
Next I opened up all the files I was interested in using and set them aside next to my artboard.
I then started duplicating them. There are a few methods for doing this, but this time I just right clicked (I’m using a Windows OS) and clicked on duplicate a few times. This way is just comfortable to me, but you could also use the Replicate Window if that’s your thing.
After I had a few duplicates, I started to place the designs on the board. I would turn and resize them to make the design “flow” nicely. This part is completely up to you. I wanted what is called a “non directional” design, which means theres no up or down and you can turn the fabric anyway you want and it still looks good. I like fabric like this because I don’t have to be so fussy about the cuts I make when I start the patchwork.
Once I have filled up half of the artboard, I then go and select everything I’ve placed and duplicate it. Then I go to the Object Menu in the top left and click on Mirror and then Flip Horizontally. Which will flip the entire duplicated mass.
I then place the mirrored designs on the rest of the art board and fill in any empty spots.
Ta-Da! If you are trying this out too, you’ve just made your first fabric design! Wasn’t that easy? Now it’s time to cut it all out…
If you have a Portrait, ignore this next step.
If you have a CAMEO make sure to set your right white guide to the left so it can grab onto the 9″ wide Stencil Vinyl.
Next choose the Vinyl setting in Silhouette Studio, load everything up and cut away!
The Stencil Vinyl is very curly, no matter what you do. So I like to use masking tape and tape it down to a flat surface before working with it. This helps when there are a bunch of little designs you need to remove. The Hook Tool is perfect for this job.
Once you have finished weeding out all of the stencil pieces, use the included transfer tape and a Scraper to transfer the stencil form the white backing onto your fabric. As with the stencil, I like to secure my fabric to a flat surface so it doesn’t move around too much. You can see above some of the masking tape from the first step transferred over. That is completely fine and it won’t mess with anything.
After you have lightly positioned the stencil where you want it, use the scraper again to secure the stencil vinyl to the fabric. This step normally takes me about 5 minutes because I don’t want any loose pieces. Loose pieces lead to ink bleeding under the stencil. No one wants that!
Once you feel like the everything is secure, start in one corner and slowly peel off the transfer tape. Make sure to go slow and keep an eye on any pieces that may try to escape. After this step is finished I like to remove the masking tape around the fabric, flip it over and using the Scraper again I press firmly in all directions.
Now it’s time for the fun part, the paint! I use a little bowl and squeeze a bunch of the fabric ink in. This way I can just dip the sponge brush in and keep on working.
I’ve tried many methods when it comes to the Fabric Ink and I found that dabbing on a first layer, waiting a minute and then use brush strokes to clean it up a bit works best. The first paint dabs help seal in the sides of the stencil so you can fill it all in a little less careful the second time around. if you start with brush strokes, you can very easily pull up the stencil. So be careful.
I continue this method for the entire piece once over, and then I come back and do a second and sometimes third layer. That third layer is purely because I like the look of it. It ends up looking thick and screenprinted, and I’m a sucker for screenprinted anything.
I let everything dry for about 10 minutes before I go and peel off the stencil. I notice if I wait too long the ink adheres to the stencil, if I don’t wait long enough it smears all over the place and you end up with a huge sticky mess.
After the stencil is removed I wait another hour to iron it all, and help set the ink. Depending on the weather where you live, you may have to wait longer. So your best bet is checking if the ink is sticky anymore. Oh and I also only iron with the fabric facing down at first.
I was a rebel and went ahead and started sewing with the fabric after two hours, I didn’t have any issues, but if you are weary go ahead and wait a day before cutting into your NEW CUSTOM FABRIC!
This is a great way to make a custom gift for family or a bundle of fabric for your quilting friends!