Friday 13 October 2017

Hare Tote Bag

Happy Friday 13th! wishing you a lovely day.

 I'd like to share a little project for decorating your own tote bag. We all need a good strong bag for shopping and especially as we start to think about those extra Christmas shopping trips, so why not personalise your own. And with the amazing products from Colourcraft its never been so easy to print on fabric! 

This method uses a transfer process by painting transfer dyes onto paper, and heating to impress the dye from the paper onto a fabric surface. 

Any plain fabric bag will work with this method thanks to the brilliant 'Transfix' solution and transfer dyes kit from Colourcraft.


Firstly prepare the fabric of the bag by applying Transfix solution as directed on the bottle. I wear gloves to protect my hands (these are provided in the kit) and I placed a piece of cardboard inside the bag to protect the back and inside.  I used a brush to spread the liquid evenly all over the front side of the bag.  This can then be left to dry.

I have chosen a Wintery Hare as my design theme. I produced a few sketches based on photographs from a book and then simplified the outline shape to make it more stylised. Once happy with my ideas I drew my chosen design onto thick smooth (hot pressed) watercolour paper.

Make sure that your design fits the size of the tote bag you intend to print on and remember your design will come out in reverse so it may be worthwhile checking in a mirror to make sure it is as you desire.

Whilst the transfix on the bag was drying I started to prepare the dyes. (make sure you wear gloves to protect your skin) 
The colours in the Fabric transfer complete kit are really vivid and bold but give lots of options for mixing secondary colours, darks and muted shades. I wanted a cooler more muted colour scheme for my winter feel. Often picking primary colours and mixing them together is a good way of developing your own colour scheme like this.
 So I used the Vivid Blue, Wine Red and Golden Yellow and mixed them together to get purple shades, greens and browns and mixed them according to the manufacturers instructions in small quantities.

 I also used the thickener 'Manutex' to give the dye a bit more solidity for ease of painting. This helps with capturing smaller details. I prepared the Manutex using the instructions on the packet for ratios of product and water.

the first colours I mixed were shades of brown = blue + red + yellow and I began painting in the hare with small brushstrokes that built up to look like fur.

I used the same mixture to paint in twigs and stems and the wine red for berries. Just a simple stamp with a round brush should give you a distinctive shape. Play around with the shapes that differnt brushes make before you apply it to your image.

I continued to build up the dye on the paper to make it more intricate.

I also added a background shade which was Vivid blue and Wine red mixed together.


One application will be fine, but you can build up layers of colour to increase the strength of transfer onto the fabric. I added 2 layers into the Hare.

Leave to dry.

The transfer process requires heat of some kind. I used an iron without steam. Layer some sort of padding such as a towel or fabric pieces to act as a cushioning and lay a sheet of baking parchment on the top. Then place your tote bag and the paper design face down with a little bit of tape to secure in place. I leave one corner without tape so that I can lift it up to check the progress of the transfer. Another sheet of baking parchment on the top and then apply the iron heat. I press and do not use rubbing or ironing movements to make sure the design transfers evenly.

Keep checking periodically as some colours require more heating time than others but 1 to 2 minutes should be enough.

Then Voila your design will be transferred onto your bag.

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