Art lesson ideas: printing on fabric

Posted under Drawing and Painting


 Art lesson ideas: how to stamp on calico fabric

using all kinds of ‘stamps’

art lesson ideasLast Saturday, it was my friend Cindi and my turn to host our next Crafternoon. I love these crafternoons because they are a gentle push to come up with something new. But this time I didn’t have to think at all. Cindi’s daughter’s class parents had recently been asked to help print a whole lot of calico bags and teatowels for their class fundraiser.  It was such fun that Cindi simply borrowed the stamps and paint, and we bought a bunch of calico bags for our friends to print too. Printing on fabric offers so many opportunities for art lesson ideas too, from what to print (teatowels, ceramics, curtains, bags, socks, aprons, and different fabrics with their own qualities-silk, cotton, hemp…) to what to print with (stamps, hand-carved stamps, vegetables, fruits, metal, plants, leaves, flowers…)

You can do it too.

Our first task was to ask our friends to embroider on their calico bag. The size of the bag we offered was about 20cm by 30cm and many people suggested they could be used for toiletry bags, bags to keep your ‘smalls’ in when travelling, and one friend decided to make her daughter a ‘self care’ bag to pop her toothbrush and toothpaste into. Some people simply did a pretty line of straight stitching along the top, I embroidered love hearts, while others did fancy pants stitches or the outline of a word or two.


Cindi and Felicity prepared some fruit stamps.  Lemons, strawberries, apples, oranges slices and segments, and shapes cut into baby potatoes such as stars, love hearts, and circles for spots.  Cindi showed us how to paint on the fruit, to make sure we got even coverage and to practise on the rough-copy material before printing onto our own. Her hot tips?  To cut the fruit perfectly in half if you can.  The stamps need a straight edge to work properly. Be sure to paint the stems of the fruit too, and press it the whole piece down firmly and evenly.  Seeds can be painted in afterwards with a cotton tip or fine brush. We used permaset colours, about $10-$12 for a 300 ml jar.


I’m having a bit of a spotty dotty love affair at the moment, so I painted my bag full of rainbow spots.  LOVE.



This crafternoon task really was such fun!  I can’t wait to print some more fabric again. And of course, the company was truly fabulous too!


2 Responses to “Art lesson ideas: printing on fabric”

  1. Diana

    A handy tip for cutting stars etc out of potatoes…once you have your flat surface, you can use a cookie cutter to press in and cut the outline of your shape, then you just have to carefully cut away the excess. :-) Your bags look great! We did something similar for our craft activity stall at the school fair last year.

  2. Amber

    Oh that is so much better than trying to hand carve them out perfectly…although I wasn’t on that task thankfully! but Felicity did a great job :) Next time though, cookie cutters all the way! Ta!

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