Saturday, 21 July 2012

Experiments with fabric paints - Part I: Batman and me

Never mind the current cinematic love affair with superheroes, life with an almost four year old boy means that a good 60% of my brain activity is focused on 'Supes. OK, who am I kidding... Having an almost four year old boy gives me the perfect excuse to be into superheroes, when it was probably me who instigated his obsession in the first place! Superheroes are cool, and that's just the bottom line.

Only a matter of time then before superheroes and sewing started to occupy the same space in my brain...

These days I've been having the most amount of fun playing around with fabric paints since having been sent a bunch by the lovely folks over at Bamber Sew for me to try out. Infinite possibilities, my friends, inspiration overload... Expect a flurry of fabric paint related posts and tutorials here and over at the By Hand Blog over the next couple of weeks.

Being non-toxic and only permanent once ironed, the opaque fabric paints are perfect for young kids to begin experimenting with textiles. When my son saw me stencilling a fluorescent Aztec design onto some scrap fabric the other day, he immediately wanted a go. Instead of just giving him some paint, a paintbrush and some fabric, which would have surely resulted in mess and him getting bored after five minutes, I wanted to give him the tools to be able to create something he'd thought through himself, something he'd be proud of, that he could wear right away. Getting flashbacks of nursery school Arts & Crafts, I got out a potato and asked the boy what image he'd most like to cover his t-shirt in. His response: Batman! But of course.

I must admit, carving the batmotif out of that little potato was a lot more challenging than the standard squares and triangles we used to potato-print at school, but not impossible. With a sharp pencil I outlined the image into the flesh of a potato cut in half, then went over the line with a scalpel (Stanley knife would also do). Still using the scalpel, I carefully sliced away the potato's edge, revealing the batmotif in relief.

We had such fun doing this together and best of all my little boy was able to take complete control of his project. Nothing quite like seeing his sweet little face full of concentration and satisfaction as he made his dream t-shirt a reality! In fact, I'm almost tempted to let him loose on some white cotton and use it to make me a dress with what he comes up with!

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