Monday, April 22, 2013

Dot Ikat Flip Flop: An experiment in Reverse Fabric Painting.

I recently scored this vintage wire 'sofa' for a song on Craigslist, but it didn't come with any cushions. so I scouted around my house, rearranged some stuff and came up with a cushion for the seat. I always have extra throw pillows around, so that was no problem, but now I needed to make a slipcover for the seat cushion.

I didn't want to spend any money on this project, so I used what I already had on hand. And what I had was a bolt of a beautiful, purple, linen-cotton-poly blend, heavy weight fabric I scored at Hancock for around $3 a yard on a major, major clearance sale. I love the shot of color here, but it just looked too plain to me, somehow. It seemed like some kind of pattern was necessary. Well I have approx. 12 yards of this fabric, so decided I could spare some for an experiment.

You've all seen the reverse 'dye' technique of using bleach on dark colored fabric to remove the color....kind of like reverse tie-dyeing...I thought it might look kind of cool here, so I tested a piece to see how the color would 'lift' from this fabric. If you are thinking of doing this, I definitely recommend doing a test swatch first. Many fabrics, especially black and navy blue and most dark colors have really unexpected 'lift' results. I half expected this purple to lift to very orange, but was pleasantly surprised when it turned a really pretty pinky pale purply hue....say that three times fast!

I decided on a pattern and just started painting. 

A little while later.....
A fun, playful pattern!  I was happy with the result, but since the cushion is two sided, why not try something else on the other side, right? Having 12 yards of this fabric gave me the confidence of knowing if I messed up, I would have plenty left to start over.

I've been loving all the Ikat prints that are so popular right now, so decided to try simulating one.

Really easy to do, just back and forth brush strokes of varying widths. I found quick, loose strokes worked best for the look I was going for.

I really love how this turned out, too!! Problem is, now I can't decide which one I like better! I think for that room, the Ikat one works better with the other patterns that are in there, but then I like the softness the circular print adds to all the angles....but then.....hahaha! I just can't decide! Good thing I don't have to. Since it's two sided, I can flip the cushion whenever I feel like it!




What I learned:
Definitely do a test swatch to see if your fabric 'lifts' to a desirable color.

Use natural bristle brushes to paint on the bleach...synthetic bristles will get ruined by the bleach. I learned the hard way after ruining two really good brushes!

Make sure to wash your fabric after bleach painting. Let the bleach stay on the fabric for at least 45 minutes to get the max lift, then run it through a wash cycle to remove all traces of the bleach from your fabric.

So tell me, which one do YOU like better? Let me know! 

As always, thanks for stopping by today! See you next time.

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