18 January 2013

Making marks with wax and dye.

My Annual Amaryllis

Yesterday (Dec 29th) Judith and I had a mark making playdate. I wanted to do a massive show and tell of all I have been doing regarding mark making, who I am reading and what I plan to do. Took a while. We first started out (this was all planned in advance) with taking a few dyes in mid-value and using tools to color some cloth. 

I had pre-treated white cotton and I used brushes and the four dyes we made (lemon and golden yellow, basic blue and turquoise). Judith will blog about her own work. . We wrapped the wet cloth in plastic, put hot rice bags on them and let them batch an hour. These were still wet so we went upstairs to my studio, hung the wet dyed fabric up to air dry with a ceiling fan and two other fans blowing on them. While we waited for this to dry we watched a DVD I just bought about Festival of Quilts 2007 and ate lunch.

When the fabric was dry we went back to my kitchen (wet studio) and used a brush and hot wax (soy) to partially cover what we had done.

When the fabric was covered the way we wanted it, we did another piece. 
I used a clean-up rag from a silk screening workshop I held at my Surface Design
Studio (The Art Greenhouse) this past summer.

I used a notched 2" foam brush in hot wax to create these marks on the fabric

When both of these pieces were waxed, I used navy blue thickened dye and a credit card to scrape on color - the waxed marks being the resist.

To batch these, I rolled them in plastic bin bags and I left them on the floor until the next day.

Judith had an idea that we should try mark making in reverse by waxing fabric then discharging it. We applied the wax, then Decolorant, then put them under the ceiling fan upstairs to dry before discharging.

 right side of fabric (above) wrong side (below)

Lesson learned: Wipe the discharge paste off the waxed marks before ironing off the wax/setting the discharge paste into motion. It seems the discharge paste ON the WAX started to discharge the marks we thought were protected by wax. So next time...

We still had a hour or so before Judith planned to go so we took some snow and snow dyed some fabric with the medium value dyes we had left over. We even added a few drops of dye to the prints pastes we used and poured them on top as well.

I micro-waved mine covered for 10 minutes on 50% power and left it sitiing over night.

This morning I used my kitchen sink sprayer with ice cold water to "rinse" the waxed and dye pasted pieces followed by two rinses in a bowl with Ivory Dish washing liquid and boiling water to disperse the soy wax. I put everything in the washer and dryer and this is how my experiment turned out.

 entire piece

 cracks from the waxed fabric being rolled (note to self, do this again)

entire piece

 The aftermath - looked terrible but it was super clean in20 minutes

I slept well

** Jan 14th. I found these two LARGE notebooks with the how-to details of every Quilting Arts TV show from series 100- 400. Lots of good info. If you want them leave a comment.

 both books probably 100 pages each (at least)
 Opened to this page
Opened to this page


  1. Wow! I definitely love your wax/discharge piece! I have a notched brush similar to the one you used, but have not tried doing an all over pattern. How did your snow dyes come out?
    As for the notebooks, they look very interesting, and since I rarely have time to view QATV videos, it would be nice to have the 'how to' books to refer to! Thanks for all your inspiration...

  2. Wow! You've ended up with some fabulous pieces of fabric - what fun!
    I wish I had space to dye at home but I have to work outside (when it's warm enough!!)
    The QA books look really interesting but I expect they will be too heavy to post to me! are they online somewhere???

  3. Hi, Beth. Great post, exciting results. I'm really enjoying your "marking" adventures!
    best, nadia

  4. Hi, Beth. Great post, exciting results. I'm really enjoying your "marking" adventures!
    best, nadia

  5. Love your waxed fabric. Those books look very interesting :-)

  6. I just knew I was going to love the navy on top piece. I especially like where your marks made circles. Note to self--make notched foam brush!

  7. I like your various experiments. Days like this are pure delight! - and to the discharge: if you use wax, than the best discharge method is bleach, because that doesn't need heat. I learned it also by trying out and failing to reach the aimed effect.

  8. Thanks Beata. I have a problem being around bleach. I may try again outdoors this summer.

  9. I like your experiments with wax...very interesting!


I love hearing your comments. Thanks for visiting

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.