Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Epic Glue Batik Calligraphy Pillow

Glue Batik Calligraphy Pillow

When I was a kid, we said, "Hey, that's neat!" or "Super cool!" to express our appreciation for the finer things in life. Around here, I hear, "That's so epic!" from my daughter.

"Epic" is apparently better than just "awesome," which so trumps "cool."

My challenge this week was to make something using the book Modern Mark Making. But I didn't just want to make a cool mark, I wanted to make an epic mark! Author Lisa Engelbrecht includes an inspiring chapter on mixed media calligraphy. Epic.

As I mentioned in this post, I have taken a calligraphy class, and I am familiar with the standard hands. So, I've added only loose instructions on how I combined glue batik and calligraphy with fabric. Your mileage may vary.

Washable blue school glue (It must be the blue gel.)
Light-colored fabric
Acrylic paint
Wide flat paint brush
Narrow flat paint brush (for the brush lettering—I used size 6)
Container for water and glue mix
Container for paint wash

I used the leftover legs from a pair of my husband's khakis as my fabric. I wanted to match the greens in my daughter's room, so I randomly dabbed the fabric with pale yellow–green acrylic paints to get a camo–effect base color.

  • Draw your guidelines in chalk. I chose the Italic hand for my lettering, which is covered in the book. Chalk out the word.
  • Mix the blue glue drop by drop with water, stirring until no globs of gel remain. The gel will drag on the brush otherwise and cause ridges of glue.
  • Letter over the chalked word with the small flat brush and the thinned blue glue. Let dry.
  • Mix a wash of your top acrylic color and paint it over the dried glue. I used a metallic blue topaz acrylic paint. Let the wash layer dry.

Beginning the wash of thinned metallic blue topaz acrylic paint.

On the back of the fabric, you can see that the glue did resist the acrylic wash.

  • When the wash layer is dry, place the fabric in a sink of warm water for a minute or so. Gently begin to rub at the glue letters with your fingertips. The glue layer will dissolve easily, taking the top layer of paint with it. Let dry.
The letters magically appear!

Since I chose colors that blend together, I decided to embellish my letters with an ultra fine Sharpie just to help them stand out more.

By the time I got that far, I thought I'd better go ahead and make the whole pillow.

Oh yeah, epic!

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