Friday, August 22, 2014

Some Do's and Don'ts with Ink Effects

I have a quick little do's and don't list for you. A while back I won a giveaway from DecoArt, and got these super neat Ink Effects things in 4 colors plus the base coat. They have been waiting for just the right project.
I've had several ideas and finally got around to using them.

I had some fabric left over from the body pillow pillowcase I made, and am still swooning over the color, and we've been needing a bigger summer-weight swaddle bag for 'Baby Ty' (as his big brother calls him). It's so very different this time around not having a preemie. 5 lb 11 oz at birth and slow to grow/gain weight (staying in about the 1st percentile for weight until probably a year old) compared to 9 lb 1 oz at birth and in the 99th percentile for height and 75th percentile for weight this time around... SO different.

We borrowed some summer swaddlers from my sister, but big boy was getting too broad shouldered and too long for them. I decided to make one using the same pattern I'd used for our fleece lined one, except lining it with a regular woven cotton this time.
Here is where I got the awesome free swaddler pattern. I did lengthen it about 2 1/2 inches.
To lengthen yours, after your print and piece together the pattern, find the spot that's the least tapered. If you need help I'd be happy to help you- just holler at me!

And so on with the Ink Effects.
I just read the packaging and followed the directions. Pretty straightforward (mostly. I'll explain in a minute). Paint on paper, and iron onto fabric. Easy Peasy!


The ink went on beautifully and washes up really well. It has a soft texture, unlike fabric paint or iron-on transfers. It's even softer than silk-screen printing. It's like it becomes a part of the fabric. I just love it.

I did, however, have a bit of confusion with the base coat. One instruction said to use it before transfer if the fabric contained more than 60% cotton, and another place it said to use it with 30% or more. Mine was in the middle, with 35% cotton.

Hm. Now what?

I decided that since this item was going to be washed a lot, and probably on hot, that I ought to go ahead and use it. I wish I hadn't.

Since my fabric was a delicious teal (and not white) it showed up a lot. If you're going to use it on your fabric, you probably ought to saturate the whole piece- just because it will show splattery spots otherwise. It doesn't wash out- I tried.

The piece air-drying after its third unsuccessful washing
It goes on looking like watered down glue, (oh, use it in a ventilated area. It's stinky!) and so I figured it'd dry clear. It didn't. I didn't try washing it out before ironing, so if you have better luck with that, please let me know. Unfortunately I didn't think of that before I ironed it. I think washing it may have helped a little, and on mine it's not terribly obvious, because it's in the baby bed, wrapped around an adorable baby- so I went ahead and proceeded. If it were on a garment, though, it'd be basically ruined in my opinion. Just heads up. Test in a small area first.

The first ink transfer I had done (the words) on the piece of fabric before I'd sewn anything together just in case it messed up. I finished the swaddler and, feeling comfortable enough with the ink effects I decided to add a second ink transfer (the mountains) on the completed product.

I did.

Now, in the process of doodling the mountains I used at the top, my two-year-old decided to color with me. I just loved it! Unfortunately (yes, I know, too many 'unfortunately's in this story for my liking!) the mountains I ended up being the happiest with had colored pencil scribbles under them.
I did not realize this until too late.

Incidentally, colored pencil also heat-transfers to fabric. While this is useful information, it about made me cry. Yesterday (the day I was finally finishing the swaddler. I'd worked on it bit by bit over the last week. Toddler mom, you know) was a Terrible Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. (If you've never read the children's book, you should. Whether or not you have children.)

And that was the icing on the proverbial awful cake.
I ended up having to rip out everything to do with the piece that got colored pencil on it, cutting a new one, and sewing it all back together.

But I am happy with it now, and my boy didn't wake up sweaty from being in a too-hot swaddler.
Why are boys so sweaty?

So I'll sum up my short list of Do's/Don'ts for the awesome ink effects and basecoat.

DO: Test a patch of fabric first before using the basecoat.
        Use a light colored material.
        Remember to put your design in a mirror image.
        Use a CLEAN piece of paper for your transfer
DON'T: Use for the first time on something that you can't replace/do over.
              Use the basecoat unless you absolutely have to. It does change the texture of your fabric a little
              Use a paper that has colored pencil scribbles on it

That's all I can think of at the moment. It was really fun! I hope my experience helps you rather than scares you. Without the basecoat, the process was easy and fun and I couldn't be more pleased! I'm going to put a design on our fleece-lined swaddler once I think of what design I want to use.
Let me know what projects you're thinking of using them for!

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