My turn on the Playful Fabric Printing bloghop tour!

Melanie Testa and Carol Soderlund have written an amazing resource book!

There’s nothing like it on the market, and I want to share with you the samples I made in a special Playful Fabric Printing playdate that I had with the masters themselves at Pokey’s barn in Napa.

This was really fun, because I haven’t worked with dyes for about 10 years. I stopped working with fiber reactive dye mostly because I didn’t have a place to easily work with them after moving away from Austin, where I had a basement that I used as a wet studio.

Many of the printing techniques in the book can also be used with acrylic inks and screen printing inks, so if you are not a dyer, don’t let this stop you from buying the book.

It is loaded with ideas for creating different ways to make tools to be used for printing patterns, like this great tutorial for making a repeat pattern that could then be used to make a stamp or stencil.

This is a hefty book that covers; design, dyes, printing techniques, and color, lots of color.

I would have loved to have a book like this when I was working with dye on a regular basis.

Look at these color charts!!!

Oh and just in case you didn’t know, my daughter Indigo shot the majority of the big gorgeous colorful photos in the book.


To start our day we sat down and made foam stamps to use for printing with sticky back foam and acetate.

One of the cool things that I had never thought of was that Melly does, was to make a stamp that prints the background as well as the image. I’ve used the positive and negative of the cut foam before, but usually just for making an outline stamp, like the one above. I love Melly’s idea to PRINT a background, brilliant! right?

I used the same simple leaf pattern to make 4 different stamps. For the green one I used zigzag craft scissors to make a pinked outline.

I also made some X’s with a background stamp. Because they fit together best in one direction, I used a sharpie to mark an arrow on the acetate on both stamps.

This is one of the color pyramids that Carol developed for color mixing recipes. We chose the yellow-orange, the red on the left in the row second from the bottom, the blue in the bottom corner, and a black that has a strong purple hue as our mixing colors for the day. Once the colors were mixed in their strongest concentrates (dark values), they were mixed with print paste to thicken them. The light and medium values were made by mixing the concentrate color with different ratios of print paste to lighten them.

The fabric we used for printing had been pre-soaked in soda ash and dried.

Melly then showed us how she rolls out the thickened dye with a hard brayer on a vinyl palette on the table.

You can see how she loads the brayer with a pretty thick goopy layer of thickened dye and then rolls this onto the foam stamp.





Next you place the stamp on the fabric and press very firmly.

The nice thing about foam stamps is you can pull up a corner to check and see if you have pressed hard enough every where before you lift the stamp.

After printing the background blue square, I mixed an olive green color using the dark yellow and medium blue and printed the leaf.

after printing the other leaves and green background block, I used the black to print the borders on the leaf designs.

Next I used the dark yellow-orange to print a honey comb pattern with a hexi stamp and followed up printing black bees.

I also printed a couple samples with X’s. I think next time I would use a heavier layer of dye on some of my stamps to get more coverage. 

These are all my finished samples before being washed out.

And this is a piece of fabric that I used to roll my brayer on when I was done with a color, or to print excess dye off my stamp to ease with clean up. I always like using a scrap of fabric for cleaning up drips, wiping brushes or stamps on to when I work. Sometimes you get some really cool stuff when you’re not thinking about creating something intentional.

I kept my samples in a plastic bag with paper towels between the layers for a couple days until I had a chance to wash them out.

I started with a quick cold soaking rinse, agitating the fabric in the water for several minutes one by one, before then dropping them in a large bucket of cold icy water for about 20 minutes. After that I put them in the washer with hot water and a bit of detergent.

On the sample on the right I used the remains of red and blue dye stamped in two layers on top of each other to make the mottled red violet color.

And last but not least, my clean up rag.

There are so many great ways to create personalized fabric, I think Playful Fabric Printing is a must have book if you’ve ever wanted to create your own printed fabric and/or want to learn Carol’s fool-proof steps to perfect color matching with fiber reactive dyes.

I’ll be out of town all next week teaching, so I’ll pick a winner on my return and announce it here on my blog on February 4th.

Please leave a comment below, for a chance to win a copy of this fantastic book! and check out these other blogs participating in the hop.

Jan 23:Melanie Testa check out Melly’s excellent book hack!
Jan 24: Carol Soderlund
Jan 25: Lisa Chin
Jan 26: Julie Fei-Fan Balzer
Jan 27: Me
Jan 28: Carrie Bloomston
Jan 28 Chris Dodsley
Jan 29: Lynn Krawcyzk
Jan 30: Leslie Tucker Jenison
Jan 31: Pokey Bolton


Keep creating, Judy

IMG_5538Judy is an artist, explorer, image wrangler, knowledge seeker, instructor, speaker, creative alchemist, and purveyor of inspiration, helping others channel creativity on a daily basis.

80 Responses to “My turn on the Playful Fabric Printing bloghop tour!”

  1. Marjorie says:

    Hi Judy..thanks for the most informative blog…it really makes me want to try my hand at dyeing fabrics. Crossing my inky fingers that I might win the wonderful book. I wish you lived nearer so I could attend your amazing workshops!

  2. carol sloan says:

    (waving hand in air) Pick Me! Pick me! I can’t wait to try the thickened paste ideas.

  3. Chris says:

    I really like yours the best so far. Sparks my interest a lot. Thank-you.

  4. quirksltd says:

    I’ve been following this blog hop and now I’m sure that this is a book I want. Can’t wait to try out EVERYTHING!!!

  5. Gabriele says:

    This way of dyeing looks so incredibly fun! Great bold designs!

  6. Jan says:

    Following this blog hop too and loving all the great ideas.

  7. Jo Vanderemy says:

    I thought I had covered every way you could stamp with my small art group. This book is defintely one I need to get to add to my collection of techniques!

  8. Rita Wesney says:

    Get so excited when I see your examples. Then I get scared to try. I promise when the weather breaks I will hit my deck and play, play, play.

  9. I love the dyes they use and the pieces look awesome! You guys are great!!! A few friends have been getting together to try different techniques. We definitely need this book!,,

  10. Sylvia says:

    Love that background stamping idea, you showed how well it could work! I also love to have a “mop up” rag for leftover dyes. Thanks for a chance to win this wonderful book!

  11. Laura says:

    Thanks for showing the way you used the stamps you created. Lovely photos with lots of detail.

  12. Love the bees and the hexi stamp – so interesting how you do all your stamps! Thank you for sharing! I also appreciate all your recent Facebook postings – you are keeping me current!!! 🙂

  13. Ellen KR says:

    Yes – I think I could do this! And it looks like awesome fun!

  14. Kathy Hunt says:

    Judy, your stamps and printed samples were great! It looks very doable. Thanks

  15. Gill says:

    What fun!
    I especially like the hexagons.

  16. Margret says:

    The bees and honeycomb are wonderful

  17. Kevin Womack says:

    Thanks for the in-depth look at your process. Beautiful work!

  18. BJ Kennedy says:

    This new book, loaded w techniques is I think, perfect for someone likw myself who doesn’t what to after making a block!!! Great article n pix are great. Creative hugs, bj

  19. elle says:

    Wow! This looks like a great book. Lots of inspiration here.

  20. GAIL TERRELL says:

    Oh BOY! You are coming to see us in Mobile next week! Can’t wait to see and learn more!

  21. Sue Siefkin says:

    Great post, Judy. I am not sure what you mean when you say Melly prints her background- can you elaborate?

    • Sure Sue, if you look at the first photo of me stamping, the square foam stamp with the cut out of the leaf becomes the background (printed in blue). Then I printed the foreground – leaf motif in green.

      Usually when printing with stamps, I have focussed on printing the design element, in this case the leaf motif onto a piece of fabric that has been covered with color from a previous step where I make what I call the base fabric. You can see examples of that process in my previous post ‘Paint & Print-a-palooza at Craft Napa’.

      So using two stamps to create a positive and negative, to print foreground and back ground in this way on fabric is very intriguing to me.

  22. Looks like a fabulous book! Love the hexies and bees.

  23. jeannievh says:

    Isn’t this the best book? I thought had all the things I needed to learn and then this book arrived. Please, please tell Indigo that her photography really added a lot to the book. I have spent hours just looking at the photos. Good photography is usually the deciding factor if I am deciding to purchase a book and this one had me hooked in the first chapter. Indigo captured so much detail and up close, too. (I have a copy so no need to add my name to the drawing. I just want Indigo to know how much I loved her photography.)

  24. Cindi Moosey says:

    Loved your outline. Reminds me the 4 ways to cut a stencil do not just apply to stencils. Thanks, your work was inspirational. If I win choice again I bought enough copies to be able to share.

  25. Karon says:

    Thanks for sharing your creative ideas and thoughts.

  26. Linda B says:

    Love your bees & hexes. Such good ideas !

  27. debi kibbee says:

    Looks like you guys had a blast playing! love the honeycomb & bees, now I’m kicking myself for not getting the book while I was there, I’ll have to go over to Dori’s & have a play day with her.

  28. Margaret says:

    I love your posts. They are so full of exciting things to do with painting and stamping fabrics. Yoir talent is amazing and I can’t wait to meet you when you come to NZ later this year for our Quilt Symposium.

  29. stephanie says:

    looks like a great book!

  30. What great ideas to extend and develop the stamping process. Thank you for reviewing this book for us. It looks amazing!

  31. Debra Bentley says:

    I love to print my own fabric. This looks like a great book! Thanks for the peak inside.

  32. Marti Meadows says:

    Looks like a great book!

  33. Jennifer says:

    What a great book review! Thanks for sharing your step by step of this process. Your enthusiasm is inspiring and I can see that this book is a must have for my library.

  34. Kathy Bricker says:

    This has been a really informative and engaging blog hop. I’m looking forward to exploring a copy of the book and applying Molly’s hack to it and several others.

  35. Thank you Judy ! Great book review, it makes me want to play! It looks like this book has it all, I love all the color charts. Maybe you’ll pick me

  36. Robin Parton says:

    I would love to own this book, it looks like an excellent resource.

  37. Hi i came across the BlogHop on Julie FeiFan Belzer’s blog and am so happy to be introduced to women who are more obsessed with fibre and colour than me…. Just when I was feeling alone.
    I would love to win this book.It looks great.

  38. Libby Williamson says:

    Brilliant blog, Judy! I love the book. I have my
    copy so if I happen the win the drawing, pull another name. HappyHappyHappy!

  39. Rachl says:

    As always, your post is informative and amazing.

  40. Barbara Fox says:

    I love the fabric printing you did with Melanie and Carol. This book looks wonderful! Really hoping to win it.

  41. Sara Mika says:

    Wow-eee! This post has me even more excited than ever to get a copy and get printing! 2017 is my year to fear less! I can’t wait to play with these techniques!!!

  42. I hear so many good comments about this book! This is a very inspiring post.

  43. Laurie Lasala-Tuttle says:

    With every new post I read about this book, the more excited I am to have it. Very informative & beautiful. Thank you!

  44. Donna says:

    Love the printing you did, Judy!

  45. Val Jackson says:

    This book looks brilliant. Thanks Judy. Great illustrations.

  46. lindastokes11 says:

    I like how you’ve extended a print technique with the reverse & outline images – look forward to trying it, the book looks fantastic!

  47. Ozge Basagac says:

    Your printed samples look gorgeous and playful. Thank you for the give away.

  48. This book looks absolutely amazing. I dye my own fabrics and can see how these techniques would take my work to another level. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy,Judy!

  49. Robin Shilman says:

    This book looks amazing and I would love to own it.

  50. shellie says:

    I haven’t tried to use thickened dyes yet, so this would be a perfect way to start!

  51. What a great post! It has given me lots of new idea and it would be fun to win the book!

  52. spierssusan says:

    What great ideas and tips! Love your bees and honeycomb fabric! Thank you, Susan

  53. Holly McLean says:

    I love to make my own stamps and print fabric but I never use dye. I’d like to try it.

  54. Diana Guenther says:

    I’m loving the blog hop! I’m glad it led me to your blog and art. I try not to go down the internet rabbit hole, but the temptation was too great tonight. Craft Napa looks awesome… Lol! I’ve taken a bunch of Carol Soderlund’s classes and love playing with stamps, thickened dyes and thermofaxes. Can’t wait to get my hands on the book. I’m so glad Carol’s found her inner author…and a talented co-author to boot. I hope they already have their next book in the works….

  55. nmcreatrix says:

    What fun! Must try.

  56. mckittycat says:

    What a great technique with the foam stamps and doing background and motif. This book will certainly be on my buy list.

  57. Thanks for showing all the photos of the process. Looks like a great book!

  58. mjkasz says:

    Thanks for sharing the idea of stamps from foam I want to try this today on a gray rainy day here in FL. We don’t get many of these

  59. Beth says:

    This book looks fabulous–just what I need. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

  60. Emily C says:

    I love the bees and honeycomb print.

  61. tracee says:

    That looks like an incredible amount of work – but with beautiful results. The bees are my favorite.

  62. Pam S says:

    This looks like such fun! Thanks for the great post!

  63. Nancy says:

    I so love your prayer flags, especially right now.
    Fascinated by your “4 way” stamps! TY

  64. Jane Hartfielf says:

    Great results from seemingly simple techniques!

  65. Nancy says:

    I love your bright fabrics and the use of overlays on them. Exciting!

  66. AmyScrapSpot says:

    I would love to win this! I have been wanting to learn fabric printing and this would be a awesome start!

  67. Ellee says:

    For sure I’m looking forward to learning the techniques in this book.

  68. Marilyn Hagopian says:

    Looks like a fun book! I have done a bit of fabric dyeing and printing. This book would be a great reference to have in my library.

  69. Diane Ostdiek says:

    Brought back memories of your workshop. The book would be an excellent next step for me. I just finished using some of the fabrics I painted in your class. I used them in an art quilt.

  70. bkisrael says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your foam stamp ideas. I have made stamps from foam and love them. Thanks also for a chance to win the book. I’m sure it would give me a lot of inspiration.

  71. LynneP says:

    Looks like there is much to explore in this book. Thanks for the chance to win it!

  72. KARA PETERSON says:

    You packed a ton of inspiring and helpful info into this blog! Thank you!

  73. Diane Beavers says:

    Judy….how amazing!
    And simple! Fabric printing is always something I’ve been itching to try…love your daughter’s photography. (WHat a cool color name she has:)
    Thank you.

  74. sunmoongal says:

    Love your demo. So cool. I really like that you mention paint can be used.

  75. GAW says:

    Great set of examples

  76. Susan Hartl says:

    Love, love you examples!!!! I have been inspired to get back to the fiber soul in me!!!!!

  77. Pat T. says:

    Yes yes yes!!!
    The more I see, the more I can’t wait to get started and play/create!!
    *Wonderful* pictures!!… Thank you!!
    Pat T.

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