Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Block Printing Sheep

I've been block printing sheep among other things today.  My son Wes and I are working together to make tote bags for the current Craft Hope Project.

No, your eyes are not deceiving you.  That's actually an 11-year-old boy at a sewing machine!  How about that?  First, we made our tote bags using plain black t-shirts for fabric.  We used the body of the shirts to make our 12 x 15 inch bags.  There was enough extra fabric on the sides to create our handles.  I also thought it would be really cute to use the ribbed neckline to make a pocket, but I decided against it for this project.  This was my son's first time at the sewing machine, so I wanted to keep things pretty basic.  

Once our tote bags were complete, it was time to decorate.  We decided to block print designs on the fabric.  Using foam board and adhesive backed felt, we cut our shapes.  We wanted things that would appeal to both boys and girls.  My son supplied the Pokéball and the Clamperl as well as the tulip.  I had to make a sheep because who doesn't like sheep?

Happy with our block collection, we set out to make our prints.  We painted our blocks with Soft Scrub with Bleach.  (It wouldn't be a bad idea to wear a face mask for this part.)  This cleanser is thick and makes for easy painting.  When we had our felt evenly covered with the Soft Scrub, we pressed it onto the fabric.  The sheep pictured here is what it looks like before washing out the excess bleach.

After letting the bleach prints sit on the fabric for 3 to five minutes, we rinsed them well with water and set them out in the sun to dry.  (I used bleach stop on our first few prints, but soon decided that it wasn't really necessary.)  Ours turned a warm rust color, but you never know with black fabric.  Sometimes you'll see more reds and other times you see blues and greens.  That's part of the fun.   

We hope the kids will like their block printed tote bags.  Wes and I enjoyed making them!

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