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Painting on Fabric

Roundabout 2.0, an evening event held during Road@Home, was an updated, online version of the popular Roundabout held during Road to California’s in-person quilt show.

During Roundabout, several of Road’s teachers gave mini-workshops on a technique they have perfected. Attendees choose which teachers to attend, moving from table to table. For Road@Home’s online version, attendees stayed put in front of their computer screens as each of the 19 presenters took their place in the spotlight. It was a great way to learn lots of techniques by experts in the quilting world, in a short amount of time.

One of the presenters at Roundabout 2.0 was Nancy Roelfsema. Her 20-minute lecture was on Creative Painting on Fabric.

Painting on Fabric

Meet Nancy Roelfsema

Nancy has been sewing since a young age. She made her first quilt at 11 years old. Her family had just moved to a farm in Gregory, Michigan from the Detroit area. Her mother was very excited to attend farm auctions and found a rustic quilting frame. They put two sheets together and hand quilted the two layers with batting between. Nancy still has that “quilt” in her possession today.

The first sewing class she ever taught was to young girls, teaching them “how to hand piece and quilt a quilt for their American Girl dolls.” Nancy thought that teaching kids was as far as she would ever go; she never “imagined I would start teaching quilting classes for adults.”

Today, she hosts her own YouTube Channel, OnPoint TV, sharing methods she has perfected in making quilts, including painting on fabric.

Painting on fabric

Why would you want to try painting on fabric?

If you can’t find what you want at the fabric store.

If you want to create a one-of-a-kind design.

If you want to add some original pieces to an art quilt.

Products are the Key

With her painting on fabric, Nancy uses Mono Printing Techniques. Nancy says that “it captures more detail and texture than other painting methods.” The best paint she has found to adhere to all fabric types is the Gel Press® brand.  

A 4-Step Painting on Fabric Process

Step 1: Apply paint to a Gel Press® Plate

Step 2: Spread the paint out evenly on the Plate

Step 3: Create original designs using stencils and stamps. Nancy added that are everyday products that can also be used to add dimension to the fabric. Things like tulle from the bridal shop; sponges; netting from wine bottles; even bubble wrap will make great impressions. As Nancy offered, “The options are endless for painting on fabric.”  Generally, Nancy uses 2-4 different techniques on her fabrics. She says, “The fabric will tell me when it’s done.”

Painting on fabric

Step 4: Finishing. Heat set with an iron after the painted fabric is dry if the fabric will be used right away. Otherwise, fabric can just be stored. After 48
hours, the paint will be permanent.

To learn more details about this painting on fabric technique, please visit Nancy’s website.

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