This tutorial on DIY Fabric Stamping is designed to help you make one-of-a-kind hand stamped fabric pieces that can be transformed into a wide variety of household items, decor and clothing. While it takes some time, the result is truly stunning.
DIY Fabric Stamping Materials
- A stamp or lino cut – large, simple shapes will work best
- One or two yards of light coloured fabric – cotton, linen, or wool
- Water-based fabric ink
- Brayers – one soft for rolling ink and one hard for pressing the stamp. (If you don’t have a brayer you can use a paint brush or foam brush to apply the ink to the stamp)
- A piece of glass for rolling out the ink – I used the glass from an old picture frame
- Painter’s tape
- Scrap paper or drop cloth to protect your work surface
I decided to create a simple, linear repeating pattern using a Moose linocut I made a few years ago. The first step is to lay out a strip of painter’s tape on the fabric. Place the stamp face down on the fabric, lining up the bottom edge of the stamp with the top edge of the tape. Make a pencil mark on both the stamp and tape. These are known as registration marks.
Now you can decide how far apart you will place each stamped image. I chose to separate each stamp by 6 inches. Measuring from the first pencil mark on the tape put a registration mark at 6 inch intervals all the way across. You should also now decide how far apart the stamped rows will be. To keep things simple I measured 6 inches above the first piece of tape, placed a second one, and then continued to lay out rows of tape 6 inches apart on the remaining fabric. To create a staggered pattern the registration marks on rows 2, 4, 6, etc should be centered between the marks on rows 1, 3, 5, etc.
Scoop a small amount of ink onto the piece of glass. A little goes a long way, so don’t use too much! Roll the soft brayer into the ink then draw it back towards the bottom of the glass and then back up towards the top. Rolling the brayer back and forth will spread the ink in an even layer across its surface. You can also turn the brayer 90 degrees and roll it a few times across the ink area to help get an even spread. Listen for a sticky “squelch” sound – that’s the indicator that you have the right amount of ink on the brayer! (If you don’t hear the squelch you may have too much ink on the brayer)
Gently roll the inked brayer across the stamp. Roll several times in the same direction rather than back and forth. (Rolling back and forth can actually remove the ink you just applied) Carefully lift the inked stamp and place it face down on the fabric, lining up the registration marks. Don’t attempt to reposition the stamp once it is placed on the fabric. Hold the stamp in place with one hand while applying even pressure by rolling the hard brayer across its surface. Try not to roll the brayer right off the edge of the stamp as this can cause some image distortion!
Continue to stamp your image, re-inking each time, until the entire piece of fabric is stamped. Allow the ink to dry before ironing the wrong side of the fabric to help “heat set” the ink. Now you can start to plan all the wonderful things to make with this fabric!
Kate Carder-Thompson is an artist, designer, and embroidery enthusiast. She is currently working on a series of art making experiments in which iconic patterns from disparate cultures, geographic areas, and time periods are forcibly intersected and stitched together. Kate blogs at Haliblurtin and lives in a small cottage in Haliburton, Ontario with her husband and their menagerie of pets.