by guest blogger Rita Wetzel
Coloring is fun for all ages - young, old, and in between. It’s one of the first creative outlets we have as young children. More importantly, we can enjoy it well into our sunset years.
Because Sweet Pea has a wide variety of designs that lend themselves to coloring, I’ve started to explore the world of coloring on embroidered fabric. I’ve learned a few things along the way about what works and, in some cases, what doesn’t. I also know there is a lot more to learn.
Fabric and Preparation
Use 100% white or cream cotton fabric. Wash and dry your fabric without any softener. Press. Embroider your design following the design instructions.
I’ve learned the hard way that it is always a good idea to have a test sandwich (stabilizer, batting, fabric) by my side. I use it to test out colors/color combinations. It is also helpful to see how the coloring medium will interact with the fabric — how quickly does the color spread, does the fabric absorb the pigment a lot or a little, etc. For example, reds tend to run quicker than other colors — and remember that browns contain red pigment.
Different fabrics react differently with the same technique — colors will run more quickly on a loose weave fabric than on a tighter weave. Each coloring technique reacts with fabric differently so its always good to test first before starting on your design.
Color directly onto the fabric with crayons and then heat set.
For kids, this is my favorite technique for a permanent finished design.
Coloring with watercolor pencils is by far my personal favorite. Shading is easily achievable by overlaying a lighter color with a darker one. You can use the sharp points of the pencil for smaller areas or fine details. Color with the side of the pencil for larger areas and the background.
I prefer to spritz my design lightly with water and then color away. You can also color first and then use a wet brush to go over the colors. Or you can even dip the watercolor pencil into water and then draw. Experiment with all 3 techniques on your test sandwich to figure out what works best for you.
Heat set your finished design when it is completely dry.
There are a wide variety of fabric markers on the market. You'll need to decide on the tip size and on the number of colors. Read the package instructions on whether or not to heat set. The set of markers I purchased resulted in very bold colors. They weren’t conducive to shading and combining.
On the plus side, I experienced less color running than other techniques.
Reusable Markers and Crayons
Reusable markers or crayons are great for kids to color on embroidered designs. Once a piece is colored, simply throw it in the washer/dryer and you’ll be able to color it again. Do not heat set unless you want the colored design to be permanent. I also do not use batting in designs that I’m going to use with reusable markers because some colors, especially reds, may not completely wash out of the batting.
I prefer the reusable markers over reusable crayons as you can find a wide variety of colors, as well as, tip sizes. The colors are also brighter and bolder than the crayons. The little ones in my life love to color this way. It’s a great rainy day activity.
Colored pencils can also be used to color in Sweet Pea's designs. Heat set. You will notice that the colors will be lighter once the design is heat set. If you want the colors darker be sure to press harder when coloring — do a color and a heat set on your test sandwich beforehand.
How to Heat Set
To heat set, use a cotton setting on your iron. Do not use steam. Protect your ironing surface with a piece of scrap fabric. Lay a clean paper towel down. Put your design colored side down on the paper towel. Press. You will notice color and/or wax on the paper towel. Change out the paper towel and press again. Repeat until there is no more color or wax on the paper towels.
Sweet Pea's Coloring Designs
Sweet Pea has a wide variety of designs especially made for coloring. You will find designs for purses and pouches, table runners and placemats, mug rugs and coasters, wall hangings, and pen wraps. Themes range from fairies to flowers to fish to cupcakes to dinosaurs to owls and more. All are just waiting to be stitched out and colored! You can find all of them here
Great Color In designs