Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How to create your own color swatches with fabric paint

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Colours play an important role in our daily lives, especially in our attire. Almost every day, we plan our outfit of the day based on colour and how it makes us feel.

I reconnected back with my love for colours not long ago. In my previous experience in learning about colours, I had two amazing teachers who taught me how to appreciate colours in depth. When I was training to be a certified fabric painting teacher & artist, teacher no.1 made me realized that I had poor colour combination skills, nonetheless, she patiently helped me to unlearn and learn colours from scratch. My appreciation for colours was more of knowledge-based. Although I finally learned how to match colours well, I still lack the connection for it.

Finally, a couple of years later, when I was training to be a certified creative life coach, I met teacher no. 2 whom taught me what I needed to know about connecting with colours spiritually. This profound experience taught me that by connecting with colours, I was also connecting with my inner self.

If I were to combine my lessons learned from teacher no.1 and 2, I would say that both experiences helped me discover my own way of appreciating colours spiritually and skillfully. I began to understand why teacher no. 1 used to encourage me to practice colour combination by creating my own colour swatches and mood boards.

Moodboards and swatches can come in handy for almost everything you need. This unique post is specifically about making Colour Swatches using Fabric paint as it will be useful for you in future fabric painting projects or fabric crafts related.
I personally think that it would help textile artists and fabric painting artists much more because unlike painting on wooden/paper surfaces where you can paint white to cover your mistakes, painting on textile/fabric requires precision. Once you’ve painted on the fabric, you can’t go back on it anymore. But if you really made a mistake already, then the only way is to waste the fabric and start painting on a new one.

What you need to Get Started
To make your own colour swatches, there are few things you need to gather first to get started. First and foremost, basic stationary items like:

Scissors, PVA glue, marker pens and sketch book / drawing block: These are basic necessities (like your toothbrush) when you explore art.

A Ring-Folder: Any size would do, it is up to you. For me, I like cute and small so I used an A5 size ring-folder Optional: You can also opt for sketchbook instead, but I reckon ring folder for convenience.

An Off-white / plain white fabric remnants and fabric paints.  Not to forget, brushes too! Tip: Go to Fabric stores or Ikea and look for their discount-bin. There will be a lot of CHEAP remnants for sale!

Unwanted fashion magazines or any other type. Among all, this is the most important item to start with.

What sort of Fabric Paints to use
There are various types in the market; but I strongly recommend Pebeo SETACOLOR fabric paints. It comes in various collections ranging from their basic fabric paints- Opaque and Transparent, Seta Soleil for Tie & Dye, and Fabric markers too, including other special range such as Seta Silk for Silk Painting.

You might ask:
Why must it be fabric paints? Why can’t I use acrylic paints on fabric/paper instead to make swatches?
My answer:
There’s a big difference in the result of fabric paints on fabric compared to acrylic on fabric/paper. The colour result of fabric paints is vivid, not paste-like like acrylic. When you paint on fabric using fabric paints, the colours blends in with the fabric material. It has an almost silk-screen print-like result. And if your fabric paints comes in opaque or transparent base, there would definitely be a much more obvious outcome when painted on the fabric.Almost similar to watercolour or postercolours, where both have different result on paper. So, when you create swatches with fabric paints on fabric, you will be able to see how the colours blend together on a piece of fabric.

Creating Your Own Set of Colour Swatches
There are many ways to do this; but as for me, I always like to make use of things that I already have lying around. Perhaps there might be a need to spend a little bit of money such as paints, etc. but if possible, try to save by upcycling unwanted stationaries.

For starters:
  1. Based on the size of your ring folder, prepare the base paper using your sketchbook or drawing block.
  2. To prepare a base-paper, cut the drawing paper according to the size, but if you are using a sketchbook, just find one according to your size.
  3. Punch holes on the base-paper so that you can file it up in the ring-folder
Making swatches:
  1. Cut your fabric pieces in small-medium or smaller square pieces.
  2. Then, cut out pictures based on your choice of colour combinations or colour themes.
  3. Spot the colours, and then start painting the colour combinations on your square pieces.
  4. Arrange your painted swatches on the base-paper and glue it. Then, glue your cut out magazine reference at the side of your swatch to support your research. You can even write notes at the side.
  5. Put it in the ring-folder
So, the next time you come up with another inspiring colour or spot one in the magazine, you can create another one and file it up.

Ideas! Ideas!
It is very easy to create a collection for your reference. But before you start, here’s a BIG TIP!In my opinion, Colour combinations usually comes in 3, 4 or maximum 5 hues at the most. And they usually complement one another. 

Here’s what you can do with Colour Swatches:

Colour combinations
Cut out pictures from magazines based on the colours and combine them together.

Autumn Colours, Grunge Colours, Gothic Colours, Vampire Colours, Asian Colours, Party Theme and more

If you are a textile artist or a decorative artist with a client base, you can bring it along with you to propose colour combinations to your customers.

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