Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fabric Stamp Tutorial

A few people have asked how I make my fabric stamps...  so here is a quick tutorial.  As you will come to find out, these stamps are SUPER cheap to make, but they have their limitations.  These stamps are cut with an exact-o knife, so the design you print should be fairly simple.  It would be really hard to achieve fine details using this method and there is a pretty large margin for irregularity with the print.  (side note: if you are looking to print a design that does have a lot of detail and a print that will offer more uniformity, then I would suggest getting a silk screen made and screen printing them).

The pic below shows some of the 1 color prints that I have made with this method.  In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to take it one step further and make a 2 color print (a fill color and an outline.)

Step 1: Gather your supplies and choose your design.  The image in the tutorial is an alien that my oldest son drew and it is perfect for a fabric stamp.  A quick list of supplies:
Exact-o knife
Tracing Paper
Craft Foam with Adhesive on one side.
An Acrylic Block (that is at least as big as your design, if not, get one that is bigger)
A Foam Paint Brush 
Fabric Paint
(Note: You can find Craft Foam at JoAnn Fabrics, Michael's, Hobby Lobby or any major craft store.  This will be located in the children's craft section. Craft Foam is made in every color under the rainbow and I recommend that you get one that is light in color and one that isn't the same color as the paint that you are using.  Make sure you get the craft foam with the adhesive back such as these, they will be displayed together so it is very easy to pick up the un-adhesive craft foam by accident.  You can find the acrylic block in the scrapbooking section of the craft store, they are used with acrylic stamps.)

 Step 2: you are going to want to trace the basic shape on to a piece of tracing paper.  The first stamp is going to be made for the fill color, so I am going to only trace the places that will be filled in.

 Step 3:  I cut out my image so that I could just trace around it.  (if your image has more detail then you can use graphite transfer paper...  e-mail me if you would like directions on how to make your own graphite paper)
Step 4: You will need to transfer the shape onto the back of the craft foam.  The white "paper" shown in the pic below is the back side of the adhesive foam.  You will want to draw the image onto the paper on the back of the foam in the same way that you will want it to print.  For instance, if you were to be making a stamp with text, the text would be drawn onto the backing of the foam in the way that you would read it.  If you have ever made a wood block for printing or anything similar you know that you have to transfer the text and image in the reverse because you are carving on the printable side of the stamp.  But because we are drawing on the back side of the stamp, you will want to draw it on as you want it to appear on your fabric.  (Not sure how to make that less confusing)  :-)

 Step 5: Cut out the craft foam image using your exact-o knife.  The image above shows the acrylic block on the left, my cut out image from the craft foam (which is orange) on the right, and underneath those 2 items, you can see the backing on the foam with the image cut out on the top.

Step 6: Remove the backing from the craft foam (like you would a sticker).

Step 7: Stick the image with the sticky side down. onto the acrylic block.

 Step 8: Prepare your fabric by ironing it well, so that there aren't any creases or wrinkles.  You also want to lay out your fabric onto a piece of cardboard or something to help catch any paint that bleeds through.  Prepare your paint by pouring some out into dish, and have your foam paint brush ready.
 Step 9:  With your foam brush, paint your stamp (the foam that is stuck to the acrylic block) with paint.  Then you will want to stamp it where you want it onto the fabric... you will need to apply a fair amount of pressure.  This takes a little finesse, so you might want to test this out on some scrap fabric before printing on your chosen fabric.  You don't want to apply too much paint to the stamp, because it will then squish out of the sides of the stamp when you print, and you don't want to apply too little because you won't have a solid color.  Note:  In paint (including fabric paint) colors like red and yellow are fairly transparent so you might need to over-stamp the image several times or you can fill in later with a small paint brush.  *** I would also like to point out that I specifically use an acrylic block so that I can see exactly where I am printing.  You could use a block of wood (much like a standard stamp) but you wouldn't be able to see exactly where you are printing and making an over-print almost impossible to match up.
 If you are doing a 1 color image, then you are done.  Set the fabric aside to dry and follow any further directions that the fabric paint suggests (like heat setting the paint and the fabric paint should also have suggestions listed on how long to let the paint dry.)

If you are going to do a multi-color print then you will need to follow the following instructions for every additional color that you are going to print.

Step 10: After the 1st color is dry you will want to follow Steps 2-7 to make another stamp.  The stamp below is the outline from the original drawing that my son made.  When you are getting into details like these, you are not going to be able to get an exact match.   For example, I made the outline a little thicker and placed the "dots" in the vicinity of the dots that were on the drawing. 
 Step 11: Using the stamp that you just made, follow step 9 to print the image on top of the images that you printed 1st.  I like the look of the slightly off-set outline so I purposely off-set it some to give it that effect.

If you are doing a multi-color print then when you are done printing all of the colors, you can follow the drying and setting instructions for the fabric paint that you are using.  (note: when you are done printing your stamp, wash it off with soap and water.  The sticky foam will peel off and if there is any adhesive or foam left on the acrylic block, [this can happen if you leave the foam stuck on there for a long time] then you can clean it off with rubbing alcohol.)
I hope that was clear!  If you have any questions,  feel free to e-mail me.  Happy Printing!


Erin Myone said...

Very nice tutorial.

Boo Hazard said...

love this!! i want to try something like this with pillows maybe?? reminds me in a way of my stencil curtains but u kicked it up a notch!

Creative Wings Boutique said...

Oh my im on ur peep list....
How fabulous is that tutorial. ok girl you sooo have to come over and teach me to knit. im sad to say i buy the books and cant make heads or tales out of them...
holla at me now that u have my digits...