Fabric Tinting Tutorial

Thursday, August 27, 2009
Finally! I have found some made some time to sit and write this post. I know some of you have been waiting on pins and needles or not fro this post. I will now reveal the secret to tinting my peacock quilt.

*dramatic pause*
Yeah I know, I just gotta milk it for what it's worth! And the super secret weapon is...

Colored Pencils!!!

Yup you read that right! Colored Pencils. That's it. oh yeah and one more tiny little detail : acrylic textile medium (don't forget this or it won't work.)

So how does one achieve this awesomely easy look?
You will need:
Colored Pencils (more on that soon)
Textile Medium (found with the acrylic craft paints)
Brushes in different sizes (love these, $3 at Walmart)
Cup o noodles er water
Paper towel
Scrap piece of fabric or muslin
Your iron

There are 2 ways to go about this. Tinting before quilting or tinting after quilting. It's up to you so experiment with it. The Peacock quilt was tinted once all the quilting was done. The Birdie block was tinted before any quilting (see below.)

For this tutorial I will be outlining the steps with the Birdie Block (which will someday be turned into something - but you wanted a tutorial right? Beggars can't be choosers!)

sorry for the poor lighting, again you want the tutorial or not?

You can get your very own bird pattern over on Cinderberry Stitches (this is one of the birds found on the Tail Feathers block of the month quilt pattern-block 5) Her stuff is gorgeous and if I wasn't so awful ... umm lazy ... umm awfully lazy at hand stitching I would be making The Tail Feathers quilt.

So anywhoo do as follows:

1) tape down your pattern so it doesn't move as you are coloring
2) tape down your fabric on top of your pattern (use some painters tape)
3) start outlining and coloring in your pattern as desired.
4) you may choose to color it all in or work in sections (up to you)
5) when you are done with the coloring/section take a brush and dip it in some textile medium and go over each area (wash and dry off brush between colors)
6) Take your piece over to your ironing board and lay your scrap piece of fabric over your item. press to set the colors. Some colored pencils have more pigment and will stain your scrap piece of fabric. It's better to get that excess color stuck to a scrap of fabric rather than your iron. I didn't exactly check, but I would imagine that the color that got transferred to your scrap muslin might get transferred to other fabric so be sure you are pressing on a clean area every time!! You don't want to end up with color transfers where you don't want them!
7) Follow the instructions on the bottle of textile medium for the amount of curing time before washing your fabric. Some suggest 24hrs, others suggest a whole week!

That's it!

You can see my work in progress and see my pattern taped underneath the fabric.

A word about colored pencils:
I tried this out with cheapo pencils and premo pencils. They both worked but gave very different results.

The Birdie block was dome using $0.97 Rose Art Pencils. Regular colored pencils have a hard lead and are referred to as hard lead pencils. They didn't blend as well and a lot of crosshatching is required to build up depth.

The Peacock Quilt was done with premo Prisma Color Premier pencils. I forget the actual price since I got mine in College 7 years ago sheesh has it been that long? The come in boxes of 12, 24, 36, 48, 72, and 120! They are much softer and are referred to as soft lead pencils. The Prisma Colors trump the Rose Art on pigment quality and content. They are also way more expensive ($12-$80+), but use a Michaels or Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon on a set of these and you are ready to go.

The Prisma Color pencils went on like buttah. I was able to blend colors together before and after I added the textile medium. Once the textile medium was added the pigments acted almost like paint, mixing and blending wonderfully. You can't even see the pencil marks on the peacock quilt. You can't even compare the richness of the colors! The Prisma Colors are so rich and deep just gorgeous! Hands down I prefer the Prisma Colors, but I can see myself also using the cheapo pencils as well.

Just so you know there are other brands of artist grade soft lead colored pencils.


Lynne said...

I appreciate the tinting tips. Thank you for the giveaway!

lynne at fairpoint dot net

Allie said...

That is so cool! I am in love with your peacock quilt! I'll put this on my list of things to try. Thanks for the tutorial.

nanotchka said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial..I've been waiting to see how you did your amazing peacock! Can't wait to try your technique. Nice of you to do a give away!

Melody said...

Great info, Thanks! I may have to try my hand at tinting.

Me aka Supermom said...

I spy some awesome Christmas presents with these tips!! BTW...would love to win your giveaway :-)

Dena said...

Thank you for the tutorial. I can see me using it on future projects. I love the effect of the echo quilting on your Peacock. Beautiful!

Dena said...

I've posted a link to your give-away on my blog:

Carla said...

I'm going to have to try this. Thanks! Please enter me in your giveaway.

Rebecca said...

What a great tutortial! Thanks for doing this! And thanks for doing the giveaway too.

Sue said...

Please enter me in the giveaway. I can't wait to try this.

luv2quilt2 said...

Thanks for the tutorial on fabric tinting. There are so many ways that this can be used

SewCalGal said...

You are clearly very talented and inspirational. I found your tutorial very helpful and can't wait to give it a try. Thanks for sharing.

Your giveaway is also exciting. I wrote about it on my blogsite to share insights on contests (

I'll be looking forward to reading more insights on your blogsite in the future. Thank you for blogging and sharing your insights!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for letting us know how to do it too. Great giveaway too! I love contests.
Sharon said...

This is so awesome..thank you for the tutorial. My grandaughter loves to draw and use colored pencils....this is something she and I will do together for sure, have been wondering how to preserve some of her drawings...I see a quilt coming of her work...thanks again
Sonya in VA

Karol said...

Neat Idea! I've done similar with crayolas. Will have to try pencils

Rosa Robichaud said...

Hi there!

I LOVE tole painting!!! and quilting, too!!!

Unfortunately, I live in Canada, to be eligible for this contest - or is Canada okay to ship this stuff, to, eh? *s*


Rosa Robichaud
Saint John, New Brunswick

Fiesta said...

Dena this is very interesting. Please count me in the giveaway.

Anita in Florida said...

This is a technique I'd like to try. Thanks for the tutorial.

Kris said...

Thanks for the tutorial and I hope I win so I can give it a go myself!

pat_kichinko said...

WOW!! I can so see myself doing this to some costumes to really WOW!! the audience. Thanks! Can I just study with you, Mastah, to learn your skills??

Your Grasshoppah, Pat

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tutorial and I am looking forward to trying this technique very soon. Lots and lots of possiblities.
desi@ gt. rr. com

Anonymous said...

I love this idea! I have an embroidery machine and will try just outlines then color! I love to color!

Aimee said...

thanks for the tutorial! I love the peacock you made, and I'm hoping it gets mailed to me!! : )

MichelleB said...

This is a great tutorial. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

What a fun way to pep up a project. I can see doing a redwork design on my embroidery machine and then coloring in.
I think my ASG group would enjoy this technique as well. Would you allow me to copy the information and use for a class? Thanks in advance, and thanks for the giveaway.

Nancy in DFW

Caron said...

I've been wondering how people do that! Now I know. Thanks for the great tutorial. I'd love to be included in yur giveaway!

Caron in Michigan
caron mosey at gmail dot com

Vicki said...

I have been wanting to do this with pencils for ages and this would be the perfect way to start if I won :) Please enter me in your giveaway :)

Joyce said...

This is something I've never tried. Thanks for entering me in your giveaway

Pam~Off The Cuff ~ said...

TOO COOL ! Can't wait to try this!
Thanks for the tutorial, and please enter me in the drawing :)


OffTheCuffStyle (at)

Carolyn said...

This technique is wonderful. I can't wait to try it out.

Renee G said...

This looks like fun. I'd love to try this.

betsyb said...

oooh ... i would love to own these and work this technique ... many darling grandchildren who will benefit from your *gifts* ... LOL ... oh, yea, ps ... i love your quote on the banner and the clip ... we have much in common!

Patricia said...

What a delight your blog is!!
Came here to learn about your pencil painting on fabric (*love* the peacock quilt!!)... which is just what I need for a project with some children I work with!!...
*Thank you!*
But, then I spent the morning reading your past blogs, and have found it all SO inspiring!... so many creative ideas leaping out at me!
*Thank you*, too, for the info on the photography lessons!! I will be following along with those, as well,.. although school is starting now, and my time is very limited...
I am SO happy to have found you, and look forward to reading more!
(BTW, I *love* that Happy Apple, too!! My children also had it when little, and when my grandsons were born I looked all over trying to find it for them!! It is a wonderful keepsake/toy!)

Desi said...

ACK, Am I too late to enter. I read part of the entry this morning when I got home form work but not all the way to bottom :P Now that I have I wanted to try and sneak in. I think I am too late though it is 609 pm my time :S However I enjoyed the tut and I have been meaning to try this method, so hopefully I will get too soon!

Shayla Sharp said...

Cool! Thanks for the tutorial--I'll definitely be trying this (I've colored with crayons, but not colored pencils). I think I even remember where I stashed mine!

Claire said...

Thanks for the tutorial! Prisma Colored Pencils are the only pencils I use, but it's been a long time I used them...I too bought mine a long time ago, I think I was a junior or senior in high school. I still remember the day I bought mom took me to Office Depot and they all they had was the 48 count sitting in the 12 count spot...we had the clerk price check it for us and they rang up around $10.00...needless to say we checked out right out away before anyone noticed the mistake, because they should have been about $60.00....and I've treasured them ever since...I think I've replaced 1 or 2, which some special art stores sell each pencil desperately.
For those who don't want to spend the money on Prisma Colored Pencils there is a cheaper option called Scholar Prisma, which is about 1 or 2 steps down in quality, but made by the same company.

Tora´s Vintage Dream said...

Not sure how I found you LOL but I´m sure glad I did :) this tutorial is AWESOME and I´m so going to try this. Thank you for sharing this with us.

N. Maria said...

Googled prisma colored pencils with textile medium....and there you were!
I now understand how to do this for Esther Aliu's new QAL! Thank you!

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