Saturday, January 25, 2014

Fun with fabric inks

The marbling process.
There is nothing like a live demonstration—bloopers and all—to liven up a quilt guild meeting. At the January guild meeting, the Choo Choo Quilters enjoyed a demonstration of several techniques using Tsukineko fabric inks to add color and pattern to fabric.

This surface design adventure began when three of our guild members, Cristy, Veronica and Vista, attended the AQS quilt show in Paducah last spring. Intrigued by the samples (and the sales pitch) in one of the booths at the vendor mall, they each purchased a starter kit of the fabric inks, an instruction booklet and sundry tools to introduce themselves to fabric ink possibilities. A day of experimentation produced several samples which were displayed at the guild meeting. The demonstration provided an overview of the techniques they tested.

First up, was how these water-based inks could be used to print marbled patterns on fabric. 
Ink was dropped onto a bed of shaving cream (left).
Swirling the inks in the cream created a marbling pattern (right).
The fabric is placed on top and pressed into the inks and shaving cream.
The marbled pattern is transferred to the fabric.
The next technique was silk screening with fabric inks. Watch the [unedited] demonstration here as it happened live at the meeting. 

OK, let's try this again with a darker color of ink…

With a little experimentation and some "play time," you can see that it's quite simple to do and there are myriad possibilities for adding designs, pattern and color to fabrics or other porous substrates using these fabric inks. Finally, here are three examples of how fabric inks were used with stencils.
Create an over-all texture or pattern with a stencil.
Layering images with multiple colors of ink.
Upcycle a knit top.


  1. In my mind, my voice is more Lauren Bacall than this. But despite the obvious glitch in the audio that makes me sound like a hillbilly, thanks for posting this!

  2. The demonstration on all the techniques was great!