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M a t e ria l s • Cotton sheeting • Daler-Rowney® FW Acrylic Artists’ Inks™ (These are packaged in 1-oz. glass bottles; they have an eye dropper in the screw-on top. If you like metallic colors, check out the FW Pearlescent Inks.) • Paintbrushes • Iron • Press cloth • Water

brighter options with acrylic inks


sn’t it wonderful when you find a product that not only works, but also solves problems inherent with other products?

For textile artists, when it comes to painting on fabric, the best alternative has always been to use textile paint specifically formulated to keep fabric soft and pliable. However, one of the downsides of textile paint is the viscosity of the paint—use too much water and it bleeds, use too little water and the brushstrokes are not smooth. It is also difficult to create transparent washes or glaze colors when using


By Judy Coates Perez

textile paint without also using a clear base or paint extender.

but I had never opened them, so I immediately sat down to try them out.

I recently tried using Daler-Rowney FW Acrylic Artists’ Inks after a blog reader sent me a note asking if I had tried them. She explained that an illustrator she was working with used FW Artists’ Inks all the time and really liked them, and that she had been very happy with the results when trying them out on fabric. I had purchased a couple of bottles over the summer,

Up to this point, I had been using textile paint exclusively for my work, avoiding acrylic paint at all costs as it can make fabric stiff and plastic-like, which is not optimal for quilting or hand stitching. However, I was both surprised and impressed by the results I achieved when working with FW Artists’ Ink on fabric.

a p ri l / may 2 0 1 1 | Q U I LT I N G A RT S maga z in e ® Reprinted by permission by Quilting Arts Magazine.

tip Directions

2. Dilute the inks with water to create

Getting started

3. Continue adding water to the ink

Note: FW Artists’ Ink colors are saturated and vibrant full strength out of the bottle and are easily diluted with water to create lighter, more transparent colors. 1. Using the acrylic inks, randomly

paint brushstrokes onto a piece of cotton sheeting. When I did this, I was amazed that the ink did not bleed. Usually a paint medium with such a thin consistency soaks into the fibers and spreads quickly, giving little definition to a brushstroke.

more transparent colors. to see how light the color will get before it bleeds on the fabric. When I did this, I was amazed: it didn’t bleed!

Create watercolor effects It is so easy to create the look of watercolor painting with these inks. I love the way the brushstroke keeps its definition even when it’s diluted with water. 1. Using yellow ink, paint

brushstrokes to make a flower; add

If you plan to wash your textiles, you should always test products first for colorfastness.

a touch of red at the base. Notice how the red bleeds where the fabric is wet (on the yellow) and does not bleed outside onto the white fabric. 2. Continue to experiment by

painting a sphere. Keep adding brushstrokes of darker ink to give dimension to the shape, making the fabric very wet. When it dries, it will have a beautiful mottled texture with just the tiniest amount of bleeding on the side where the fabric became saturated.

a p ri l / may 2 0 1 1 | Q U I LT I N G A RT S maga z in e ® Reprinted by permission by Quilting Arts Magazine.


Stamping Another nice feature of these inks is that they work great for stamping. You can buy empty stamp pads to use with the ink, or just use a paintbrush to apply the ink directly to hand-carved stamps.

Heat setting I recommend heat setting all painted fabric with a hot iron when you’re finished painting. Be sure to cover the fabric with a clean press cloth before ironing it.

The results After painting an entire quilt with FW Artists’ Inks (I did use white and black textile paint for a little additional opacity), I am pleased to report the best part—unlike regular acrylic paint, FW Artists’ Inks don’t make the fabric stiff! When the ink is painted full strength (and layered up), the fabric is no stiffer than when painted with transparent-based textile paints. (And transparent-based textile paints leave your fabric with the best hand of all the different types of textile paint.) 14

Photos by Judy Coates Perez. I love the saturated color and painterly look I was able to achieve with these inks, without the stiffness often associated with painting fabric. I will definitely be using them on more projects in the future.

Resources Daler-Rowney FW Acrylic Artists’ Inks •

a p ri l / may 2 0 1 1 | Q U I LT I N G A RT S maga z in e ® Reprinted by permission by Quilting Arts Magazine.


M At e R I A l S By Judy Coates Perez but also solves problems inherent with other products? textile paint without also using a clear base o...

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