Creative Inspirations

Painting fabric in the sand

Painting has always been a sensual pleasure for me my entire life.  My first experience using it was when my father taught me how paint woodwork, cutting in carefully at the edges, a straight line between one hue and another, then smoothing that buttery medium along the grain of the wood.  Instant gratification.  Years later when I combined that with my love of color and my passion for fabric, a complete form of artistic expression emerged.

Here is my latest experiment with paint on fabric.  Done at the beach on the firm, moist, recently-touched-by-tide sand, the painting takes on a slightly marbled, water-color effect.  The grains of sand and the salt from the ocean separate the pigments and I love the effect.

Here is how to do it step by step.

1.  Wet white 100% cotton fabric with ocean water – PFD (prepared for dying) fabric or it even works on commercial fabric treated with sizing as I used here.  Spread it out onto wet firm sand.

2.  Squirt some fabric paint into a container then thin a bit with ocean water.  Most of the time I also smeared wet sand on the top of the fabric.  Apply the paint OVER the sand and onto the exposed parts of the fabric.  I forgot to bring brushes from home so picked a white yarrow flower from the side of the sandy path to use as an applicator.  I sort of brushed and scattered the paint in a swishy motion.

3.  Let the fabric dry.  Rub the fabric to remove most all of the sand then heat set the paint by ironing the fabric.  Most all manufacturers of fabric paint recommend the same method; hot iron for 20 seconds or so makes it permanent.  Then wash it by hand to remove the rest of the sand then dry.  The interesting part is that some of the sand will remain embedded in the paint adding texture to the finished project.

Here are some befores and afters:


BEFORE STEP ONE: squirted paint then rinsed in ocean.

BEFORE STEP TWO; swished more paint over the painted and rinsed fabric:





My go-to paint is Jacquard Textile Color that I keep in squirt bottles for ease.

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