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Upcycle fabric by printing on it

Turning out my stash of fabrics recently, I found several old ones which I know I'll never use but was loathed to throw away.

I decided to overprint and transform them and maybe give them a new life.

This is what I did.

First of all choose your fabrics with care - you need to be able to see your printing after all! I chose a beigy/brown patterned cotton.

Make yourself a temporary print table. You need to have a surface with a bit of give in it to get a good print. I used a double layer of polyester wadding over a drop cloth (which is always on my table to protect it) You don't need a drop cloth if you're not messy.

Put your ironed fabric over the top of the wadding.

These are the 3 print blocks I'm using. I get mine direct from India, but any block you like will do. If you don't have a block, you could try using a lino cut, a carved rubber, or even an old pizza tray which you've impressed with a pattern (use a biro - it cuts to a suitable depth and is fine enough for an intricate pattern).

I'm using acrylic paint - any kind - squirted onto a tray. You could use an old plate, palette paper etc.

You will need a sponge. This is to dab the paint onto the block. It gives a more reliable print than using a brayer. My bit of sponge is a children's paint applicator without it's handle! If you buy a large sponge from a chemists, you could cut it into chunks and use each chunk for a different colour to save washing in between applications.

Dab the sponge into the paint a couple of times to get a covering on the sponge - you don't want huge dollops but an even covering.

Then dab the sponge onto the block so it is entirely covered with paint. You need to be firm but gentle and not rub.

Place your block on the cloth and press. One good firm press should be enough and try not to move the block whilst your pressing.

And you have a print! This one isn't that square to the fabric edge so it's something to consider if you're planning on a large cloth.

Here's the print en masse.

Here's another small block and an edging block to use up the paint.

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