Transferring Text

OK, time for an art catch-up.  The last time I mentioned this work in progress, I’d finished painting the back of ‘Forest of Dreams’ and was going to figure out how to transfer my poem onto the surface.

Hand lettering it was not an option.  My handwriting (and printing) is a bit, shall we say, illegible to most other people.

Some of the ways I’ve put text onto fabric in the past are by stitching, printing directly onto fabric with a printer, using a lightbox, screen printing or stenciling.  None of these methods would work, although I did think of ordering some thermofax screens, but because the quilting was already done, I didn’t have a flat surface and it mayn’t have come out well.

I have a fearless, very creative part of me which dates back to my childhood.  I remembered doing something with crayons wherein I colored a piece of paper with many different colored crayons, then colored over that with a black crayon.  Then I got a paperclip and drew on the black, which revealed the multi-colored background.  That felt like a good starting place.

I had researched dress maker’s carbon paper and decided to make my own.  First, I chose my font and size, then printed my poem onto a few sheets of A4 paper.

I coloured the back with a white fabric pastel and used a mechanical pencil tip to transfer the text.  The problem was that the tip cut through the paper and I couldn’t see how it was transferring.  I have some white organdy leftover from my Suncast Shadows quilt, so used that instead.   I can pin it, see through it and because it’s fabric, I can give it some welly when I’m tracing and not worry about tearing it.

First, I traced my poem onto the fabric with a Sharpie pen.

I transferred only 1 -2 lines at a time.  I decided to stagger the poem to the left and I justified them as I wrote each line.  I coloured one line of text at a time, on the reverse, using  a white pastel.  The fabric pastel was too light, both in colour and in substance, so I used an oil pastel.

I pinned the fabric, pastel side down where I wanted it.  Since it is semi-sheer, I could get the placement just right and I traced over the words with a mechanical pencil.

Removed my organdy

Oil pastel transfer

Then I got my fabric paints and mixed some white and silver together, got my finest brush and painted over the words.

It was slightly laborious and I could only do about 2 – 3 lines at a time before I lost my fine hand coordination and concentration levels, so I took about a week to transfer the entire poem.

Nearly finished

Now that the poem is complete, I’m going to mix up some brown and blue fabric paint and fill in some of the spots I missed, mainly in the stitching channels that I hadn’t noticed previously.  Then I’ll get to work transferring the poem onto the valance, which will be very easy as it’ll be traced.


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