Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wednesdays Blog Spot is Kat from BeadsbyKat.

Kat Newman of Beadsbykat tells us about her play session with sharpie pens and textiles.

It was a site that I found via Stumbleupon, a blog post where the blogger had put together lots of examples of craft uses with sharpies that had me so excited I had to go out and buy some to try! Boy they're not cheap though. I bought a multipack of lots of colours but made a wee mistake of getting all 'fine' tipped - great for edging and drawing, but makes colouring in a little tedious!

The blog suggested that the pens would work on ceramics, glass, material etc and the piece that caught my eye was the tea towels where people had traced on children's drawings as mementos for grannies etc. Cute!

The instructions suggested getting some cotton tea towels which I investigated, none of the local shops had anything suitable and the only plain white towels were terry which aren't practical for drawing on, so I went back to trusty old Ebay. I found a pack of 10 linen/cotton 'Teatowels/napkins' and they worked out around £1.50 per towel so I wasn't expecting top quality but was surprised at how thin they were when they arrived. They were large, but quite thin - much more appropriate as napkins to be fair - but I wanted to play, so play I did!

I'd originally intended this as a Mother's day present, but they weren't delivered in time. I still thought it would be good to do one for my mother and I'd had a great idea so I did it anyway. I'd been taken to church as a kid on Mother's day and we were all asked to come up and say what we loved most about our mothers. I spoke clearly and earnestly into the microphone the vicar held for me and announced to the congregation that my Mummy was the best 'cooker' in the world - to my embarrassment and confusion the congregation erupted into fits of laughter! Traumatic at that age but now a treasured memory for mum which I planned to represent in her Tea towel.

I had two thick nibbed black ones already, so I got started with the lettering. The pen did run a bit, but it was easy to tidy up the feathering with the thinner nib, which also made me realise that the thinner nib was better for drawing, so then I used that for all the drawings. The thick pen also goes through this thin material, so make a note if you're trying it, to pop some paper underneath!

The instructions suggested that the ink could be 'set' like any other dye, with a hot iron, so I then ironed the print inbetween two pieces of paper. Some ink did come through into the paper so I was hopeful it was setting ok.

Next test, a quick-wash setting to see if the design had set. On the whole, it had! There was some bleeding, and with the two other towels I did, I also discovered that if you use the lighter colours you need to put plenty of it on, as that doesn't really survive the wash.

I had to do one for me too:

All in all, I was very happy with my efforts despite the colour running a bit - they've not really been put to the test in earnest, but they're probably too thin to be of much use to be fair! I haven't given mum her teatowel yet either, I might save it for next year's mother's day as that's when it's most relevant. I'm on the lookout for proper teatowels now to play with, I will cut and re-hem the rest of my teatowels into napkins.

And for my next trick, sharpie tye-dye! I have an old hoodie earmarked for the job that I wear for lampworking in the summer, so a little splash of colour to revitalise it will be just the ticket!

I hope this has inspired some people to have a go, do come back and show us some results if you do!



  1. Nice article :) Any chance of a link back to the original one so that we can see the other projects (as well as credit the author?). Thanks!