Friday, June 22, 2012

Herringbone Fabric Printing Tutorial

I'm bringing a few of my tutorials home. Today I'm sharing the technique I used for printing the fabric for my "boy" look during Project Run and Play season 3. Printing fabric is fun and opens up so many creative possibilities, especially if like me, there is a certain look you are going for, but can't find the exact fabric you want.  This method could be tweaked in so many ways! 

I hope this gets your printing juices flowing! 



I am excited to share with you how I created the herringbone print on my shawl-collar pullover. I hope this will open up creative possibilities for you if you've never tried printing your own fabric before.

You'll need:

Speedball Linoleum Cutter

These are used to carve linoleum blocks traditionally used in paper printing.

E-Z Cut Printing Blocks
(softer than linoleum blocks)

This is traditionally used to print on paper but worked well for this application of fabric printing. I found these and my cutter at an art store but they might carry them at craft stores too?

Delta Textile Medium + Acrylic Paint

Basically, you mix this fabric medium 2:1 with any acrylic paint to make washable fabric paint. It makes the paint softer, and helps it penetrate the fabric so its not just stiffly sitting on top. It also helps make it more durable in the wash. There are lots of different fabric inks and paints that would work to do this, but I like this method because fabric ink colors can be limited or hard to find, but this way you can use any color acrylic paint you can get your hands on, so there are more options.

Start by cutting your block to the desired size (I started with a 4x6" block and cut it to 2x6"). To make my herringbone pattern, I then cut a very shallow score line all the way down the center of my block. Don't cut too deep or your block might break.

This will help the lines we carve later on to end sharply and uniformly in the middle.

Next, decide what angle you'd like your lines to be at, and cut off the top corners accordingly.

Then mark several guidelines down the length of your block that are parallel to your top angles.

Now, switching to a v-shaped carving blade, start making grooves along the guidelines . You can eyeball it and stagger the spacing and width of these slightly, for a more irregular look.

You'll do the same thing on the other side. I staggered my lines so they mostly didn't meet in the middle because that is the look I was going for. Obviously you can do it how you like.

When you get to the bottom of your block, cut out a triangle so that you'll be able to seamlessly repeat your pattern. Make sure that if you are staggering your pattern, you don't leave both bottom and top edges raised, but rather carve one edge down, so your printing will be seamless when you repeat the stamp.

Apply paint lightly with a sponge brush (or you could use a brayer which is actually the tool designed to do this). Be careful not to get paint in the grooves or it may leak onto your design. I found that painting the whole surface of the block and letting it dry first, helped the paint go on more evenly. It helps the paint stick to the block in an even coat and gives you more control over the application.

(this was my test printing)

Finally, lay your block onto your (pre-washed and dried) fabric by setting it straight down and lifting carefully off. You might want to practice a few times on test fabric to get the hang of spacing and pressure etc. but I found it pretty forgiving. Its not meant to look perfect anyway so just go for it! (FYI I used a knit fabric and it worked great, but I'm sure a woven would be even easier to print on).

Once the paint is dry, set it with your iron according to the directions on the textile medium.

And that's it! You're ready to get sewing!


  1. This was such a clever one. I'm getting ready to make my own stamp...hope it turns out as cute as yours.

  2. Very very cool. I'm impressed that you managed to make the print so neatly! It looks fantastic.

  3. Love it! Glad it's found its way back to its proper home.

  4. love this sweater! and the little sweater model!

  5. Very cute! i love the texture the printing makes! Thanks for sharing!

  6. I had no idea this was DIY fabric. (Really fantastic!) Thank you for the tute.

  7. My jaw literally dropped when I saw this. I have two boys and I MUST use this technique to make something for them now! Thanks for the tutorial!

  8. I just want to say thanks for your wonderful post, it is contain a lot of knowledge and information that i needed right now. Thanks! ,


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...