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Friday, 17 April 2015

Acrilpen on Fabric

I recently came across a product I had never seen before – an acrylic pen, claiming to be filled with acrylic ink intended for writing on fabrics. I wondered how well they worked and if they kept their colour, and if you could use it with other acrylics on paper and … What to do? Buy a few and bring them home to put them to the test, of course! So I did. And I loved them. The name of the pens? Acrilpen.

When I bought them they were all standing on their back ends and I was told it was so the paint would not run out. They were in the shopping bag for a few hours before I arrived home to unpack them. When I did, I noticed that though the paint had not run out, the tips were very loaded and so I stored them the way the shop did, standing on their back ends. I finally had a chance to test them a few days later and had to stand them upside down for a minute or two before I could use them, but then they worked very well.

I drew a quick butterfly on a piece of tabling cloth with a high cotton content. I wish I could let you feel for yourselves how smoothly the pen worked. If you look at the butterfly you will note that it has a lot of long flowing lines. Do you note the absence of staccato lines? You only get that when your ink or paint glides on. I give the pens a high score here.

I then used a second colour to fill in the butterfly. Beautiful! I noticed that it would be possible to achieve darker shades by applying thicker layers (or going over it a second or third time). This is important when you want to create dimensionality.

I added a third colour in yellow. The purple was coloured by drawing lines, starting in the middle and moving out. The yellow was coloured much the same way we coloured when we were chidren. The pens handled both techniques equally well. 

The butterfly was not supposed to turn into a keepsake, but was merely meant to be a test subject. I now found myself liking it so much that I wished I'd put it on a bigger piece of fabric so that I could create something with it. Still, not a huge problem, I’d just need to use more initiative. So I added a flower to the composition and turned the test markings in the bottom left corner into little bees.

 Here is the range of colours I used in the project.

I then decided that I found it daunting to think I had to colour the whole background with a pen. I would rather fall back on fabric paint. This would have the added benefit of seeing how well the products worked together.

 I covered the background in blue, using an angled brush, because it allowed me to work into the narrow spaces, as well as giving me a broad side to cover the large areas quickly.

I made a mistake by using some of my older bottles of fabric paint for the background, that was becoming clumpy and had to be mixed with water. As a result I had this area in my painting where the blue had leaked into the flower. I was quite disgusted by it, but felt confident that I would be able to rescue it once the background was dry.

 This is what the project look like when I put it aside to dry.

I did not have more time to devote to this on the day and came back the next day. I went over all the outlines with the pens again, so as to create a smooth line where it met the paint. I then used the pen, to create depth on the flower and to mask the area where the paint had run into the flower. In the process I discovered that fabric paint and Acrilpen compliment each other wonderfully.

In a follow-up blog I will show you how I turned this project into a scatter cushion.

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Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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