Listen with Your Eyes


The blog of designer-maker Laura Thompson who specializes in fibre art, including art dolls, bowls, art journals and artful clothing.  Creativity, kindness, understanding and patience. 



DIY Stamps for Fabric - Part I

Natalie Chanin's gorgeous line of  Alabama Chanin clothing is a one of my favorites. The slow sewing movement it promotes and the focus on high quality craftsmanship speak to my heart. I've made several pieces inspired by her beautifully hand-crafted designs with their signature look of richly textured, hand appliquéd fabrics. 

Natalie Chanin gladly shares all of her techniques in both her books and on-line tutorials. She begins by making individual pieces destined for appliqué with a stencil and airbrush. I have a more free form approach. I don't use intricate stencils or an airbrush, preferring instead to use simple handmade stamps. Today I will show you how I make one of my stamps and next week I'll show you how I use the pieces to adorn a top. 


I like to reuse and recycle things as often as I can and when it makes sense. Because I'm not going to make dozens of garments, I'm too pragmatic to buy an airbrush or spend hours cutting an acrylic stencil. A few small stamps will provide me with enough pieces to appliqué.

For this top I wanted a simple floral design so I drew three flower shapes (small, medium and large) on paper, then traced them onto a sheet of craft foam. Because I wanted only the edges of the flower to transfer paint,  I cut out the outline so it was more or less 1/4" wide. Then, I glued the outline to a solid piece of craft foam and cut out around the perimeter.

The craft foam stamp was mounted on an old plastic cutting mat from my studio. It was covered with several layers of dry paint. I peeled off everything that was loose and easily removed and glued the craft foam into place. Once it was dry I cut out around the edge and voila . . . . they were done . . . . easy peasy!

As old lino block served as a paint pad. For this particular garment I used and iridescent Golden Acrylic paint and stamped away on a  piece of taupe knit fabric. I purposely aimed to apply the paint unevenly around the edges of the stamp. I prefer the uneven look rather than a solid, pristine line.

Here's a look at the newly-stamped fabric and  dozens of flowers (in all sizes) after they've been cut out.