Testing them Out
The box I purchased had a set of 15 color sticks in it. Yesterday, I did a little experimenting with them on a piece of quilting weight pfd cotton. I always like to to a little low pressure experimenting with new art supplies before including them in a project!
- I colored one solid blue.
- I blended two colors in one circle, to test how well they blending.
- I tried to see how fine I could draw lines in the orange circle.
- I shaded a bunch of colors around the fourth circle.
- I blended from the inside out in the orange to yellow circle.
- Last, I cut out a dark piece of fabric and tested how well the light colors showed up with both shading and lines.
While doing this, I learned that these dye sticks are a lot like oil pastels or oil paintsticks. They shade and blend really well. I was able to use my finger or a bit of cloth to blend them nicely. But, I couldn’t get crisp lines. Instead, it was similar to drawing with crayons. These are definitely better for adding background color or a bit of shading to an image.
Next, I wanted to test how dark and solid of a color I could get. I found that by warming the fabric with an iron before shading, I was able to get more color on the fabric than when the fabric was cool.
What can you do other than shading and blending?
I placed some rick rack underneath my fabric and rubbed the dye stick over the whole surface. It left an interesting pattern on the fabric, reminded me a lot of doing leaf rubbings with kids. You could use this technique with plants, paperclips, designs drawn out with hot glue on cardboard, or really anything with low relief texture.
Masking Tape Stripes and Plaid
With masking tape, I taped off stripes on the fabric. After applying the pastel to the fabric, I removed the tape and was left with a fairly crisp stripe. By taping and coloring in the opposite direction, I made a plaid design on the fabric. I liked how the edges of the stripes remained pretty clean when I used the tape.
Blending off the Edge
This last techniques is probably my favorite. I ripped a piece of paper and colored hard with the pastel along the edge. Using my thumb, I blended the pastel from the paper onto the fabric. It left a really interesting line on the fabric, one side crisp like the edge of the paper the other soft and blended! This technique can also be done with shapes cut from paper, like I did with the rectangle.
After I finished experimenting on my test fabric, I heat set the pastels by ironing them under a piece of paper. As you can see, the paper was important because a bit of the pastel transferred to the paper. But most of the color remained on the fabric. I gave it a burst of steam, as well, to make sure everything was completely heat set.
After ironing, any waxiness to the pastels disappeared. The fabric had a very soft hand. You barely even feel the pastels, even where I applied them heavy.
The last step to test these guys out was to wash the fabric. I hand washed my sample in the sink with some laundry detergent. After drying, you can see that the color held up very well. The only difference between my before and after picture is the last of water soluble marker on the circles.
So, these were fun to play around with. Colorfast, easy to use. I am sure these will come in handy with my art quilting (especially shading or darkening an image) and I will probably use them in a project with my kids sometime soon. Definitely worth giving them a try!