Attending a fiber arts exposition this weekend, I watched a short demonstration on embellishing fabric with designs using Shiva Paintstiks.
Artists create on just about any surface, and creating textile art is just the start for a fiber artist.
The resulting fabric can be used as a wall hanging.
It can also be transformed into garments, quilts, home décor or accessories like tote bags or scarves.
If you’re into textiles, creating your own custom fabric designs may be a great new addition to your artistic bag of tricks.
What Are Shiva Paintstiks?
Shiva Paintstiks are oil paints that are compressed into a crayon. They are compatible with regular oil paint and can be used on canvas, just as one uses tube oil paint. However, these paint sticks are perfect to use on fabric. They can be heat-set after drying completely, and they are washable and bleed-proof.
The sticks are available in standard colors, as well as iridescent and metallic colors. There is also a colorless blender, and all Shiva Paintstiks are non-toxic and hypoallergenic.
How Do Shiva Paintstiks Work?
The Paintstiks come in crayon-like cylinders that are wrapped in a protective paper. The surface of the stick exposed to air forms a skin to preserve the paint, so each time you use it, you must first scrape or rub off the protective coating to expose fresh pigment.
The pigment is applied to a support in several different methods, which we’ll discuss later. The paint dries in three to five days. Once the paint is dry, it can be heat-set with an iron to make it permanent.
The oil in the sticks does not migrate or bleed on the fabric, so your design remains in place and there is no staining from oil leaching into the fabric fibers.
What Methods Are Used To Apply Shiva Paintstiks?
You can use the crayons freehand and sketch or draw directly on your fabric. This is called direct application. You can blend the colors by overlapping and use the clear stick for further blending. This method assumes you have a design or composition planned.
Another method is to use a rubbing plate beneath the fabric. This rubbing plate has a rigid raised design and by gently stroking the crayon across the surface, you imprint the design on the fabric. There are hundred of commercial rubbing plates available, or you can create your own with found objects.
Stenciling is another natural for Shiva Paintstiks. Whether you choose from the seemingly limitless commercial stencils available, or create your own with freezer paper, card stock or Mylar, stenciling makes good use of the qualities of the Paintstik.
How Do I Use Shiva Paintstiks?
In the quick demonstration I watched, the artist used both rubbing plates and stencils. You can use either method alone, or use both methods in conjunction.
Setting Up Your Fabric
It’s important that the fabric remain firmly in place as you apply the paint. If it shifts, you’ll mar the design. You can tape the edges to your work surface or use a Grip n’ Grip work mat. This synthetic sheet has a tacky surface to grip fabric, paper or anything else that may slide around.
Another option is to spray the back of your fabric with temporary spray adhesive. This product is water-soluble and washes out completely.
Using A Rubbing Plate
When you use a rubbing plate, the fabric needs to remain taut as you stroke the crayon across the surface. If you use a gripping mat, lay the plate beneath the fabric and gently press the perimeter of the fabric to the mat. When using tape, tape the corners of the fabric in place. If you wish to move the plate to a new location, remove one or two corners of tape, shift the plate and replace the tape.
If you use the spray adhesive method, apply the adhesive to the back of the fabric, position the plate and gently press the fabric to the plate. It now is secured in place. If you want to reposition the design, just peel the fabric from the plate, reposition and press.
Once your plate is secure, use either the tip or the side of the Paintstik to apply the paint. As you draw the crayon across the surface, the paint comes in contact with the fabric at the ridges of the plate. Your design appears. You can use as many or as few colors as you choose, and repeated strokes will add to the depth of color.
Using A Stencil
When you’re stenciling fabric, the surface should be flat and secure. You’ll use tape, spray adhesive or the gripping mat to make sure your fabric doesn’t shift while you’re stenciling.
You’ll also use the standard techniques you’ve learned for stencil application. You’re doing the same thing. You’re just using a different medium.
When you use a Stencil, it’s very important to use as little paint as possible. This is true whether you’re using liquid paint or a Paintstik. When you use Shiva Paintstiks with a stencil, you’re not going to apply the paint directly. You’ll use a stenciling brush, just as you would with a liquid paint.
The beauty of this product for stenciling is you’re in no danger of paint seeping beneath the stencil and bleeding out onto the fabric. However, if you use the Paintstik directly, you’ll end up with globs of paint around the edge of the stencil. It’s wasteful, and your image will eventually be blurred from the paint build-up if it’s used multiple times.
Tap your stencil brush bristles on the Paintstik to gather up some pigment. Apply the paint as you normally would on a stencil with a tapping motion. Repeated tamping with a small amount of paint is more effective than trying to use a large amount quickly. You’ll have better control by building up the depth of color slowly with repetition.
Your Personal Fabric Creation
Just a few colors, repetitions of designs and an interesting composition can yield beautiful, dramatic fiber art that stands alone as an art piece or utilized in a fabric project.
You can continue the process by adding other free-hand painting with fabric paint, dies or inks. Adding additional layers of texture and color can take your work from simplistic to complex, as your composition becomes more refined.
Small designs can be cut out and applied as an appliqué. The fabric piece can be added as a shape to a quilt or piece of a garment. A strip of decorated fabric can embellish the edge of a home décor item or it can be incorporated into a larger sewn item.
Using Shiva Paintstiks can be quick or complex, but it’s always easy. This no-fail method of embellishing fabric produces great results and doesn’t require a lot of materials or time. Give Shiva Paintstiks a try. You’ll impress yourself and everyone who sees your creation.