This blog is a place to archive project processes and techniques from Painted Threads with descriptions of how work was produced. I am including comments that contain questions and answers pertaining to the work from many of the original blog posts.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Felted Wool Soap

Did you notice the recent Anthropologie catalog had felted soaps for $14 each? Felted soaps are like a bar of soap with a built in washcloth and are great for a bath or shower.

If you want to make some of your own for gifts, here is what you do:

You'll need a bar of soap, I like glycerin soap for these but other kinds of soap work well too, wool roving and pantyhose. I cut a pantyhose into 6-8" sections or use knee highs.

Start out by making a layered roving blanket just like you do for making felted balls. Unwind a length of roving, while holding it in one hand, grasp the end portion with the other hand and gently pull off "tufts" roughly 5-6 inches in length. Spread the fibers into a thin flat layer with all the strands going in one direction.

Pull off another tuft of roving and layer it on top of the first, at a 90 degree angle. Repeat this process several more times, criss-crossing 4-6 thin layers.

When lifting the blanket of roving there should not be thin spots or holes. Changing the colors of yarn in the layers will create a heathered multicolored wool.

Take the soap, wrap it with the roving blanket and slip it into a panty hose and loosely knot it.

Run the pantyhose and roving wrapped soap under some warm water, saturating it, turn off the water and begin rubbing the wrapped soap as though you are washing your hands.

It will begin to lather, continue rubbing it, working all the sides. What is happening is the wool fibers are beginning to knot and tangle with each other creating the felt. Keep rubbing the soap until you see little fibers coming through the outside of the pantyhose, this will take several minutes.

When this happens you carefully remove the felted soap from the panty hose and smooth it between your hands

and set it on a towel to dry.

The soap suds on the outside will dry and disappear leaving you with a lovely little felted soap.

If you are doing a lot of soaps you might consider wearing gloves, I got some pretty chapped hands one year when I made them for everyone in the family. 

If you are making these for yourself or for gifts, let the person know not to bother putting them at the sink for a quick hand wash, which is so tempting because they are beautiful, because it takes a couple minutes to work up a nice lather. These are great in the shower or bath since they have a nice gentle scrub, like a built in washcloth.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tsukineko Inks with Ink Potion No. 9 Tutorial

I just bought a relatively new product from Tsukineko Inks called Ink Potion no. 9 to find out how it works with the All Purpose Inks. One purpose of the solution is to help blend ink colors. From my estimation this could be a good alternative to working with aloe vera gel to lighten and blend colors.

I began this painting by lightly tracing the outline of a goldfish from a copyright free image onto white cotton fabric and gave the fabric a light spritz of Ink Potion.
Using the Lemon Yellow ink and the brush tip Fantastix pen tool, I painted in all the light and dark areas of the fish.
Next I used the Tangerine ink in the areas that are to be the darkest and used a very light touch to blend it with the Lemon Yellow in the lighter areas.
Using the yellow ink again, I painted over the image to blend the colors and to deepen the golden hue.
Next I used the color Autumn Leaf to deepen the darkest areas and help create more dimension by pushing up the contrast.

I used the Tangerine ink again to blend with the Autumn Leaf, making a smoother gradation and used a black fabric pen to add black to the eyes. At this point I heat set the fish with an iron set on cotton with a press cloth on top.
For the water I used Tropical Lagoon, sprayed some Ink potion onto a tray and dipped the fantastix pen tool into the ink and then into solution on the tray. I noticed that this had the effect of lightening the ink color the more solution was mixed in and also making the ink cover a larger area of fabric with less stroke marks.
I lightly spritzed the white fabric where I was applying the blue ink to help the color cover the area smoothly.
I was working quickly and not too carefully and it ended up a little streaky, but I don't mind because it does look a little like there is movement in the water.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Birds & Bees copper book

I decided to make a change to the books by backing the copper covers with painted grungeboard for extra stability.
I used a strong adhesive, putting it on the grungeboard and the back of the copper cover.I pinched the copper to the grungeboard all around the edges to make a good bond.
To finish the covers, I used a paper stump to wrap any extending metal edges around the grungeboard and also to help make a strong bond between the copper and the grungeboard.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Little Metal and Canvas Mixed Media Books

I am working on making a couple small canvas books with copper metal covers. I am using 4 inch square copper metal, it is a heavier weight metal than the aluminum I use for Fiesta Ornaments.

I have drawn several designs to use for front and back covers for two books, one titled Flora, the other Birds & Bees.
I begin by taping the metal to a foam mat and then taping the drawing in place over the metal. I transfer my image to the metal by tracing over my pencil lines with an embossing tool. I remove the paper and use the embossing tool to deepen the lines on the metal and add details by working on the front and the back side of the metal, creating dimension. On this piece of copper I made a small outline around my whole design and filled in the background with stippling by tapping the point of the tool repeatedly over the surface of the metal. This helps the main design stand out from the background.I found the best product to color metal is Adirondack Alcohol Inks. You can apply inks using a felt pad or paint brush. I wanted to paint color in specific areas so I used a brush to apply the ink. You don't need much when working with the inks, just drop a few drops of ink onto a paint tray and use a paint brush to apply the ink to the metal. The ink goes on very bright. If you decide that you want less color, dip your brush in a little bit of the Alcohol Ink Blending Solution and go back over the area previously painted and the color becomes lighter as it removes the ink. Or you can add the blending solution to the ink on the tray and lighten it before painting it on the metal.

The inks dry very quickly and can be reconstituted in the tray by adding a little blending solution. To rinse my brush between colors I dipped it in the alcohol blending solution and wiped it on a paper towel.On the copper design with the waterlilies I lightened the ink to make a soft pastel tint on the metal and I painted the ornate floral design brightly to look more like the metal ornaments you see in Mexico. Two very different looks easily achieved using the same inks.

This is the bee panel partially done. In this photo I have gone over all my lines on the front side of the metal with the pointed stylus and have begun adding some stippling with the tiny ball stylus to the background on the left side. This helps the image to pop up and be defined.In the next photo, the metal design is finished. The raised areas of the design are worked from the back side of the metal. On the bees wings and the leaves, I used a large ball shaped stylus to give extra dimension.
The tool kit from Walnut Hollow has a lot of different metal working tools to add texture and shaping to the metal. I have only used a few of the tools so far as I figure out how each one can be used. It is an awesome little kit with a ruler, scissors, two tool handles with multiple tips that screw into both ends and a couple plastic embossed border shape plates that metal can be burnished over with a paper stump. I like to make my own designs , so I haven't used those, but they are nice patterns. All in all it is everything you would need to do some serious metal work.

This is a design I made on a piece of copper metal using the Alcohol Inks, the felt pad tool and the blending solution. Here is a great little video with Tim Holtz demonstrating alcohol inks. This is the method I used to apply the ink here.

Making the canvas book

I began by tearing canvas into 4" x 8 " pieces and painting both sides with gesso. I think if I were to start again I would tear them into 4 " x 8 1/2" pieces to allow for the bulk of paint and collage. When the pages were folded in half the book got fairly fat and the pages were a little short in width.
I painted the pages with fluid acrylic washes.
These are the semi finished pages for two books, the blue on the left will be Birds & Bees the yellow on the right is Flora.
There are images that are drawn, painted and transfered onto tea bags, pieces of rice paper, printed tissue paper, wrapping paper, pieces of painted fabric, scraps from other projects, transfers on fabric, painted canvas and a sewing pattern. All adhered with gel medium and machine stitching.

I folded the canvas pages in half and clamped them to help set the fold.
I tore 4" x 2" strips of canvas to use on the binding. Since the canvas was not painted I did some zigzag stitching around the edge, then positioned it over the center of the stack of pages, taping it in place to secure it for stitching.
I stitched through the four layers on my Bernina sewing machine (my Janome would not sew through the bulk).
I clamped the stitched book again to help it hold the fold.
Walnut Hollow sells a very strong double sided tape to adhere the metal to other surfaces. I found that it will even stick to canvas. I attached the tape and burnished it well to the canvas and then peeled away the paper backing to stick it to the metal, burnishing it to make a good bond with the metal.

I finished the binding by adding some cloth book binding tape.

The Finished Book

I will give a brief description of the materials used on each page.

On the first page there are leaves cut and painted from a phone book page with a leaf cut from a leftover of my mixed media quilt Illustrated Document No. 1.
The sprout was painted with textile paint on cotton fabric and machine stitched to the canvas. On the next page black and white tissue paper collaged with gel medium and left overs from a mixed media vessel stitched on top.
Collaged, painted paper overlapped by painted flower on the canvas.
The center page is rust dyed silk organza from Jane LaFazio that I drew floral images on with a permanent marker.
Dark tea stained tea bag drawn on with permanent marker.
A few more leaves from the vessel stitched over black and white tissue paper. Opposite: flower and leaves cut from colored art papers and collaged with gel medium.
Tea bag drawn on with a red marker collaged over a paper image. I used the stitching from leaves on the other side of the page as an outline to paint leaves and I added a strange bug I created in Photoshop printed on paper with some washes of acrylic paint.
Old engravings printed on paper and painted with fluid acrylics, the leaves were cut from painted fabric leftovers.

I keep a bag with all my scraps from leftover paintings and mixed media work, to use on new mixed media work.
The end.
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