Thursday, 11 September 2008

'Tech' update


Sometimes when you're printing tiny blocks (to make buttons, for instance) it's quicker to ink the blocks with a stamp pad rather than a foam brush or roller. I haven't been able to find any instructions for a home-made stamp pad to use with fabric paint, only commercial ones. So here's what I did:

Supplies - stamp; a flat plastic container, like a cd jewel case; fabric paint or silkscreen ink; spoon or knife; felt cut to fit into plastic container; table salt.


Put a dollop of ink into the plastic container.


Add a few grains of ordinary table salt to the ink. This will 'melt' the ink, making it runnier and able to soak into the felt. Proceed with caution; rather add salt a few times than too much at once. You can see in the picture how little I added. Wait a few moments for the salt to start working.

(This is a trick I learned years ago when painting tablecloths with silkscreen ink. I haven't been able to find any reference to it online, and I don't know the chemistry of it. The colour density of the ink doesn't seem to be affected, though if you're printing rather than painting you'll get a thinner coat of ink on your block. The fastness of the colour isn't affected either - the tablecloths have withstood years of washing. It seems to work with most makes of fabric paint or ink.)


Mix it around a bit to get all the ink melted. Clean the knife thoroughly, so as to not contaminate your other ink.


See? Drippy, but not too drippy.


Put the felt on top, and let the ink soak through. (I tried this with a thin piece of foam, too, pouring the ink on and letting it soak in, but the coverage on the block wasn't as even as with felt.)


Stamp pad!

Dab the block gently onto the felt a few times.


Check that your block is properly inked, and print. (Sorry about the blurriness here, I was holding the block to reflect the light, and that one-handed camera thing is beyond me.)


It does take a little bit of practice to get a feel for how much ink you need on the block, so have some scrap fabric handy for test prints. Rinse the leftover paint out of the felt and let it dry for another day, and set the print as usual.

And another useful thing I figured out today (sheesh, what a day!) ...


To line up prints for repeats printed left to right and top to bottom, place the block for the first print, then fold the bottom edge of the fabric up as a guide for the rest of the row.

73 comments:

sakurasnow said...

Your stamp pad invention is pure genius! And the printed badges are beautiful.

Cicada Studio said...

Ah ha! Great tips. Thanks for sharing.

Heather Moore said...

Clever tips, beautifully shot, and gorgeous buttons as a result!

High Desert Diva said...

This is just what I needed...thanks

painted fish studio said...

the stamp pad idea is wonderful! i have a rubber stamp that i want to used on book cloth, but haven't been able to find fabric stamp pads (well, i haven't looked hard). now i can make one myself, without leaving the house!

karen barbé said...

You smart girl, thanks for these great tips. And the printed buttons are lovely!

flowerpress said...

Great tips and photos and beautiful buttons, thanks for sharing this Jesse :-)

lori said...

This is a brilliant idea!!! Thank you for sharing.

daisy janie : scoutie girl said...

Excellent post!

Natasha said...

Great tips - I am definitely going to try to add salt. I have tried making pads with foam but with mixed success. I didn't think about using felt.

Ballee said...

thanks for the words and pictures! Your stamp solution is great!
Groeten uit Rotterdam
Puk

kat said...

I love that close up snap of the gorgeous red ink/paint. Luscious!

mayaluna said...

Such fantastic tips...thank you so, so much!!!

Krissi's Stitchery said...

This really IS genius! Rock on!

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

This is SUCH a great idea! I'll be linking to this! Genius really!

Mal said...

Amazing tip!! thanks!

amy said...

SUCH a fabulous idea! i've tried using a brayer and using a paintbrush, but i've never been able to get a nicely consistent thin coat - i always have spots missing, or just way too much paint! this is perfect!

Leanne Graeff said...

You are a true craftin' genius!

Thanks so much!

Melissa H said...

LOVE the salt trick--thanks!

Regina said...

very cool! Thanks

raven said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
trollop said...

This seems like a good idea for small lino block prints as well! Thanks!

cartolina said...

Great tutorial - what a clever and generous thing to offer your readers. I am your newest fan!

Loz and Dinny said...

Thanks so much for this tutorial - very serendipitios really - I bought some stuff to try my own stamps for fabric the other day ... you must have known...

Cindy said...

Great tutorial on making stamp pads out of fabric paint! I love it and can't wait to try it myself. Thanks again.

K said...

Hi, great invention, I tried using a sponge for a T-shirt renewal this summer and the print gets uneven, you're right! (It wasn't a big deal since it was only a T-shirt)
(Found you via Craft, btw)

RattleandBark said...

Love your tutorial posts! I'm new to printing and very interested in other people's processes and techniques. I've been having trouble printing on fabric - the screenprinting ink slides off my rubber brayer and doesn't seem to stick to the linoleum easy cut block I use. Any advice?

Thanks!
Dana

jackie said...

A belated thank you for this tutorial and to say I have just put a link to you on my blog.

Art said...

What a great tutorial! Thanks so much for sharing it.

Fifties Twist said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial.

EMR said...

This is such a useful as well as cost-saving tip. You know as well as I do what craft products cost here in SA, and any way that we can cut costs is good. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Great tip-was looking for a way to stamp with gel food color on cookies but couldn't find a stamp pad that didn't have "undesirable" components. This method with good clean felt will do just the trick! Thanks-

Deborah Younglao, Silk Painter said...

Thank you for this! it works great for stamping on silk with thickened dyes.

Katie said...

This is brilliant!! Must try it out! Thanks for sharing :)

marieohmarie.com said...

what a fantastic idea! so much easier than painting onto the stamp itself.

Euodia Roets said...

You are indeed a genius! Thanks so much for sharing your brilliant idea. I wonder if there's a way of saving the left over paint, like a normal store bought ink pad.. I guess the paint would dry in the felt as it's fabric paint.

Susan Carroll said...

Thanks so much. We're doing a Peace Flag project with the kids at church, and this is just the ticket! I'm also using craft foam to create a peace symbol stamp. Going to try pressing some plastic stainglassed window things my kids had into the foam, to create an imprint. Found the technique for scribing into the foam on clothpaperscissors http://www.clothpaperscissors.com/blogs/clothpaperscissorstoday/archive/2012/05/02/how-to-make-a-stamp-quick-easy-and-cheap.aspx

Beth said...

This person stamped with pen ink:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AovBaNJqpA4

It's a bit long, the relevant bit is at the end.

Susan Turner said...

Such a clever yet simple idea and will now solve a crafting problem. Have book marked your page. Thank you!

Shilpi said...

Awesome!!!!...
really love ur idea of making this stamp pad,n i guess this will work with paper crafts too with out any mess as fabric paint r the printing pigments r permanent....

where salt is concern,it's brilliant....
In India we use salt to make a fabric colors permanent,like if i had bought a new garment which is very colorful ,i'll soak the garment in a half a bucket of water n add 2 table spoon of normal salt for 3-4 hrs,n it will do the trick......it's a common practice here....

Thank you so much for sharing ur tech.....it's really very very good....now i can use any color of my choice for my stamping....

Thanks...
Shilpi

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