Friday, April 10, 2015

Flag Friday

Text and imagery are a large part of any prayer flag.  There are many ways to add text to your flag and this week we'll talk about stamping and writing on flags.

Some people enjoy printing text directly onto their flag while others will put the text on paper or fabric and stitch it to the flag later.  No matter which method you enjoy, testing your products out first is always a good idea.  I have lined up different types of fabrics to show how each method of stamping and writing looks. 
Starting from left to right we have:  PFD (prepared for dyeing fabric), commercial solid, hand dye, commercial print, three hand dyes and another commercial solid.
Not all stamp pads are waterproof on fabric. Craft Test Dummies has a wonderful comparison of various stamp pads on fabric and their washability.  I like using Memento Luxe from Tsukineko.  The ink is made specifically for Mixed media work and works well on fabric.  This is the ink I will be using on my samples.

Rubber stamps are readily available at craft, scrapbook, major fabric stores, some big box stores, and always online. The first row of Joy in the photo below was stamped using individual letter stamps I picked up from my local craft shop. They are affordable (especially with a coupon!) and versatile. The letters in this set are about 1" tall.

One of the hardest things about stamping onto fabric is remembering that you don't need to push the stamp into the paper like the ink will run away!  Doing so will often give a ghost image of the edges of the stamp (as you can see on all my letters below!)  If you like that look then stamp with all your might!

The large letter A's that are stamped at the bottom of the black fabric were created using acrylic paint.  Paints can easily be pounced or brushed onto stamps and provide a nice image. Just make sure you wash the paint off quickly so that it doesn't gum up your stamps!
"Love" is a stamp I carved from my own handwriting and an eraser.  I left the stamp rough (little bits not carved away) so that the stamp didn't look manufactured.

Here are a few links on how to carve your own stamp:
Hand Carved Stamps (blog tutorial)

If you want to add your own hand writing directly to the fabric there are many wonderful pens and markers on the market.  I have demonstrated a few in these photos:
Silver, White, Gold and Copper Zig Fabricolor pens flow nicely across the fabric.  Zig also makes other colors but I only have the metallic and white.  The white often needs to be applied a few times on dark fabric to get a nice opaque white but it still makes a nice line.  The markers say they are a fine tip but they are thicker than I would have imagined.  I used the white marker with my letter stamps to create the word Love at the bottom of the black fabric below.
The next line of joy's were written with a Sharpie Grip Pen in purple. They are surprisingly smooth to write with on fabric and I think would be ideal for writing out an entire poem, song lyric or prayer onto a flag.  The line if very fine.

The next line of joy's were written using the Sharpie Fine Point Pen.  The pen is a bit thicker than the Grip Pen by Sharpie but still writes smoothly across the fabric.

The next line of Joy's were made using a Pigma Micron Pen, size 005.  Micron's have been a staple for writing on fabric for many years, and while it is my favorite for drawing with on paper, I don't enjoy using it on fabric.  The pen doesn't glide across the fabric but sticks and stutters making writing difficult.

Finally at the bottom right on the white PFD fabric is the Pentel Gel Roller for Fabric.  This pen glides across fabric like butter!  It is so nice to write with, however each pen does not contain much ink and so it has lost favor with me.  The pen I was using for the sample above is on it's last leg and so I'm afraid the sample doesn't give you a good indication of just how beautiful it writes when new.

*Tip - Iron a piece of freezer paper onto the back of your fabric before writing with any pens or markers.  This will keep your fabric tight and flat and much easier to write on!

Do you have a favorite pen or marker for writing on fabric that I did not cover?
Next Friday there we will have a guest blogger, Belinda Spiwak, showing how to make a gelli print prayer flag.  

*NOTE - The links in this post are NOT sponsored but are given for your benefit only.