I came upon a happy crafting accident recently with my new set of Derwent Inktense pencils. I bought them to sketch with, but learned that they work quite well on fabric! They dissolve with liquid, like watercolor pencils, but these become permanent once they’ve been wetted. The colors are intense and vibrant and they mix and blend well, so they make beautiful drawings. When it comes to fabric, they need to be treated just a bit differently though. Using water will cause the color to bleed. I heard that wetting the pencil pigments with pure aloe vera gel, (not lotion), solves that problem so I experimented with it on my own hand drawn fabric and was impressed with the results.
For my experiment, I chose 100% cotton muslin, which I pre-washed and ironed before cutting. I knew I wanted to create a box bag with my fabric, so I cut the fabric to size before I began my artwork.
Drawing on the fabric was so much fun! The pencils are creamy enough to work quite well on fabric, but you should experiment on a piece of scrap fabric before choosing the colors for your design because they become much more intense when wet and in some cases, the color is different than you might expect by looking at the end of the pencil. I very lightly outlined my design with the Derwent outliner, colored it in with the pencils, then brushed the pure aloe vera gel over the top, soaking the fabric as much as possible. I used nylon brushes which are on the stiff side. When I was done with a section, I turned it over and applied the gel to the backside too to make sure the gel went all the way through the fabric, activating the pigments fully.
Once the design was complete, I heat set it by ironing, then putting it in the dryer for a cycle.
The resulting picture was just as vibrant and pretty as I’d hoped! I hand washed in cold water and dried/ironed the fabric one last time before creating my bag with this fun tutorial from Pink Stitches. I made mine a bit taller and skinnier by cutting out larger darts.
I’d love to get my Grandkids together and have them make Grandma some one of a kind fabric for fun sewing projects!