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Thread: Coloring With Crayons, Transfer Crayons, And Watercolor Pencils

  1. #1
    Super Member M.I.Late's Avatar
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    Coloring With Crayons, Transfer Crayons, And Watercolor Pencils

    Remember when we were children how much we enjoyed a new box of crayons and a new coloring book. We can have just as much fun now with a box of crayons and 100% cotton fabric. When we are finished coloring we can use our fabric artwork in a quilt. This is also a great quilt for children to participate in.

    For coloring on fabric with crayons, you will need:

    -- 100 % cotton fabric -- white or cream
    -- Fine line permanent marking pen suitable for fabric
    -- Freezer paper
    -- Paper towels
    -- Iron
    -- Crayola crayons -- most instructions for crayons to fabric recommend the Crayola brand of crayons. They are readily available and inexpensive. Buy the largest box you can find so you have lots of color choices. Most crayons that are a dollar for a large box do not have enough pigment in them to leave enough color on the fabric after heat treating. For this purpose buy the brand name crayons.

    Choose white or cream 100% cotton fabric. You may use any color fabric you wish but color from the crayons will show up better on a lighter colored background fabric. Be sure to pre-wash your fabric to remove all chemicals and sizing. Do not use fabric softener. Washing your fabric is important. If you don't wash your fabric until after coloring and heat setting the pigments in the crayons will wash out with the sizing.

    Cut fabric into squares or rectangles an inch larger than the finished size of your block. Iron the shiny side of freezer paper to the wrong side of fabric. Using a light box and a fine permanent pen suitable for marking fabric, trace outline of the picture you wish to color.

    Children's coloring books will make excellent sources of pictures. Coloring pages are also available online. You may draw your own outline or have your children draw their own. Simply color your fabric pictures with the crayons as usual. Because the fabric is backed with freezer paper it won't creep or move and is fairly simple to color.

    The darker you color the fabric the darker your finished picture will be. You may wish to do a trial picture simply to see how the crayon colors on the fabric and also heat set so you will see how dark you need to color. As the fabric is heat set the lighter colored areas will appear lighter and the darker colored areas will appear darker. If you wish a pastel effect you will want to color lightly.

    To heat set your fabric

    Set your iron to a "cotton" setting. Cover your ironing surface with protective paper such as a brown paper grocery bag or similar paper. Leave freezer paper on your fabric picture. Place a clean paper towel on the ironing board. Place your fabric pictures face down on the paper towel. Press allowing the heat to melt the wax in the crayon. The color will remain in the fabric and the wax will come out into the paper towel. Place a fresh paper towel on the ironing board and place your fabric picture face down on the paper towel. Press again. Repeat -- replacing paper toweling until wax no longer continues to be absorbed into the paper towel. Remove freezer paper and press again.

    If you see that your picture doesn't have enough color, you may color it again with more crayons. If you wish to color more your freezer paper may be reapplied to the back. Remember every time you add crayon you will need to heat set that portion again.

    You may color and heat set as many times as you like until the depth of color on your fabric pictures is as dark as you wish. Trim fabric squares to 1/2" larger than finished block size.

    Fabric transfer crayons

    Fabric transfer crayons are available in the fabric store or craft department of a superstore. They come in a package of eight colors. Transfer crayons are colored onto copy or typing paper and then are ironed unto fabric. The fabric recommended for this procedure is usually a polyester cotton blend as the pigments in these crayons will adhere better to the blended fabric. You will need to read and follow the instructions that came with your specific brand of crayons. Different brands of fabric transfer crayons have slightly different instructions.

    For crayon transfers you will need:
    -- Fabric transfer crayons
    -- Copy paper
    -- Polyester Cotton blend fabric in white or cream
    -- Iron

    Because this is a transfer system the image on the fabric will be in reverse of the original colored picture. Words will need to be printed backwards on the paper to be transferred to the fabric in the correct direction. This could be easily done using a light box. Print your words on a piece of scrap paper and turn it over. Place it on the light box and trace the reversed words to your fabric crayon drawing. When the drawing is ironed onto the fabric it will be in the correct orientation.

    The disadvantages of this method are you need to transfer the drawing and it will be reversed and the sets of fabric transfer crayons have a limited number of colors. The advantage, especially with children, is that the original drawing is on paper so if they wish to make more than one drawing and choose the best, they are not wasting fabric.
    Watercolor Pencils

    Watercolor pencils are available at office supply stores, craft super stores, and art supply stores. They look like ordinary colored pencils but the pigment inside the wood casing will react to water and blend similar to watercolor paints.

    Sets usually include 12, 24, or 36 colors with some brands having a set of 72. The price of a set will run pproximately a dollar a pencil. They may be less expensive at a discount store. It might be best to start with a small set and buy a larger set if you like working with this art medium.

    To do watercolor pencil quilt squares you will need:

    -- 100 % cotton fabric -- white or cream
    -- Watercolor pencils -- not just regular colored pencils.
    -- Freezer paper
    -- Paper towels
    -- Iron

    Choose white or cream 100% cotton fabric. You may use any color fabric you wish but color from the watercolor pencils will show up better on lighter colored fabric.
    Be sure to pre-wash your fabric to remove all chemicals and sizing. Do not use fabric softener. Washing your fabric is important. If you don't wash your fabric until after coloring and heat setting the pigments in the watercolor pencils will wash out with the sizing.

    Cut fabric into squares or rectangles an inch larger than finished size. Iron freezer paper to the wrong side of fabric to stabilize the fabric for ease of drawing with watercolor pencils.

    Drawing on dry fabric

    Use watercolor pencils for a wash art technique that will fill the drawing with areas of transparent color. Draw with the point of the pencil or the side. Then brush clean water over the drawing creating a watercolor wash effect.

    Drawing on damp fabric

    Lightly spray the fabric with plain water using a plant mister type spray bottle. Draw on the damp fabric for color that spreads and blends easily. Again you may draw with the point or the side of the pencil tip.

    Wet pencils

    Dip a pencil into water and draw to create dots or strokes of color. A larger area of texture can be obtained with the side of the dipped pencil.

    Add details with dry or dampened pencils to dry or dampened fabric. Each quilter will want to experiment on a sample to see which style of artwork suits your particular need.

    As always when you are finished with your watercolor pencil artwork you will need to heat set your fabric. Use hot iron set on "cotton". After heat setting, trim your fabric square to 1/2" larger than desired finished block size.
    You don't have to just do coloring book pages or children's drawings. You might want to experiment with using crayons or watercolor pencils to highlight flower petals or leaf veins in your appliqué. Crayons, transfer crayons, or watercolor pencils are a fun and inexpensive to add color and artwork to your quilt squares. There is a world of creativity waiting for you with this wonderful art medium.

    If anyone has more information or even conflicting information, I hope you'll add it to this post. We want to know more. Who has used this technique?

  2. #2
    Senior Member coloradosky's Avatar
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    Gayle, thanks for the excellent tutorials. I want to try the crayola version with my DGD this summer. Appreciate it.

  3. #3
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the info! :)

  4. #4
    Super Member Crlyn's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing!

  5. #5
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    Thanks

  6. #6
    Super Member teacherbailey's Avatar
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    Wow....thanks! I've always read that the watercolor pencils have to be finished off with more than just an iron; I think somewhere I saw that they needed to be gone over with some kind of gel medium to really be permanent? Can anybody comment? Have you used these in a quilt that was washed a few times, and did they stay bright?

  7. #7
    Senior Member janeknapp's Avatar
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    My quilter friend who is also an art teacher told me that gel medium will make it permanent.

  8. #8
    Senior Member willis.debra's Avatar
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    I have a quilt my Grandmother made 60 years ago that my Mother and her sisters colored the fruit in the fruit basket with crayons. Mom says to set the crayon she ironed it with white vinegar.

  9. #9
    Senior Member sharone's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for sharing this info. I can't wait to try it.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the directions. Will try it with the nursery/k children this fall. :D

  11. #11
    Super Member cherrio's Avatar
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    thanks so much! I have a 3 yr old grandson who loves to color and do crafts. I see a new project in our near future.

  12. #12
    Super Member cherrio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janeknapp
    My quilter friend who is also an art teacher told me that gel medium will make it permanent.
    the gel medium . . . is that spread/brushed over the block or carefully "painted" over the artwork? thanks!

  13. #13
    munchkinmama's Avatar
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    Thank you for the excellent tutorial. I do plan to try this soon.

  14. #14
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    I took a class once and want to do an Elmo for Isabella. I bought a coloring book at Michael's that had big pictures and am going to get this done before Christmas.....don't know what year but hopefully this one

  15. #15
    Super Member Baloonatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cherrio
    Quote Originally Posted by janeknapp
    My quilter friend who is also an art teacher told me that gel medium will make it permanent.
    the gel medium . . . is that spread/brushed over the block or carefully "painted" over the artwork? thanks!
    Funny, I just read about this the other day! Inktense and Derwent were the colored pencils recommended. The gel is regular ol' clear Aloe Vera gel (NOT lotion) available anywhere.

    Brush on the clear Aloe Vera Gel, let dry and wash out.

  16. #16
    Super Member greaterexp's Avatar
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    I wish I could draw! This sounds wonderful, and I'm grateful for your tutorial. Someday, I'll get up the nerve to try it!

  17. #17
    Junior Member Jagsd3's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing!!

  18. #18
    Super Member merry's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great tute. Sounds fun :)

  19. #19
    Super Member meanmom's Avatar
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    I haven't tried any of these techniques. I was told that the Derwents Inktense pencils are permanent after you wet them. Someone on the board suggested using aloe vera gel instead of water because it is easier to control. I was always told that to make other pencils permanent you need to apply a paint medium I can't remember the name. Like I said I have never tried this. I guess I would try making a couple of samples and running them thru the washing machine several times before I did a big project.

  20. #20
    Senior Member neeng's Avatar
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    Thank you!

  21. #21
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    Thank you for the additional information.

    My very first quilt 8 years ago when I first retired was with my granddaughter when she was 12. I had purchased some fabric blocks that you color and than heat set them. She and her girlfriend colored all the blocks using crayola crayons and I set them by pressing the color side to white paper towels. Since I had never made a quilt before, we just sewed the blocks together with strips of fabric that she picked out. I than purchased a light weight blanket and washed it. We than put the "sandwich" together and tied it together with yarn. I than just folded the backing over to the front to finish it off. Needless to say I would do it different today, but she still has the quilt and loves it. She loves to lay around the house with it when she is home on the weekends from college. What wonderful memories.

  22. #22
    Senior Member bobbie1's Avatar
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    Great tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

  23. #23
    Super Member grandjan's Avatar
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    Great, clear instructions. I'm entertaining two grandchildren this summer and I think I may use this for a "project" for them. Thanks!

  24. #24
    Super Member SewExtremeSeams's Avatar
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    Thank you for your tutorial. Such clear directions. :-D

  25. #25
    Super Member Val in IN's Avatar
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    Thank you for the GREAT tutorial! Bookmarked and will be using this one :-)

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