Book Blog Hop: How to Print Fabric by Zeena Shah

Printed harem pants

I met Zeena 5 years ago in London at a summer craft fair and was immediately smitten with her clear, bold and playful print designs on fabric. I am indeed the proud owner of ‘a little bird called fred‘ amongst other Heart Zeena designs. So, when I got this charming email asking if I’d like to partake in a blog hop to promote her new book ‘How to Print Fabric’, I felt very honoured and of course said ‘Yes!’

I have been to one of Zeena’s stamp making classes with my dear friend and colleague Erin a few years back and it was evident then that Zeena just has so much passion for her work that it is impossible not to fall in love with printing yourself. She bakes some pretty stunning cakes too, by the way… which always helps with workshop cheer!

How to print on fabric

The beauty of this book is that it really does deliver exactly what it says it will on the cover; a vast array of printing DIYs for fabric designs which are both inspiring and easy to do. Zeena shows us that you can make the most amazing printed goods with little more than some household items. Ever thought of wrapping a dozen rubber bands around a matchbox to use as a print making tool? It renders a beautiful distressed look which lends itself perfectly for a repeat pattern. But for those of you who would like to dive into making crisp printed edges, there are also a few screen printing projects being covered; right from makeshift embroidery hoop frames to proper photo emulsion treatment.

And, there’s some lovely informative sections on printing techniques (mark making VS screen printing), surface pattern design and how to pick your inks & dyes as well as fabric types. The sort of information you can really benefit from if you’re new to either print making or fabric, or both!

The templates are full size too, so no faffing with trying to scale them up correctly either!

Zeena lint roller

I really fancied creating a piece of printed fabric to make something out of for my baby boy and got really excited when I saw Zeena’s ‘geometric confetti’ design created with a lint roller. As I wanted to make some harem pants, I felt my pattern design should be a bit bigger to make the right impact… However, in hindsight, I do think this technique is more suited for smaller shapes, due to the ease of handling the foam-laden lint roller and ink coverage.

Materials

  • Plain fabric (light or medium weight)
  • Opaque fabric block printing ink
  • Ink tray (or sturdy flat plastic lid, in my case)
  • Roller or brayer
  • Lint roller
  • A5 craft foam sheet
  • Scissors (or scalpel and cutting mat)
  • Masking tape
  • Iron
  • Scrap paper or table protector
  • Optional: pencil and tracing paper (if your design is more intricate then mine!)

  1. Cut a long 1cm wide strip of the craft foam and chop it up into smaller rectangles using a pair of scissors. If however, you’re choosing a more detailed design or have a pattern that consists of multiple shapes you may want to draw this out onto a piece of paper first and transfer it onto the craft foam with tracing paper.
  2. Play with the composition of foam shapes on your cutting mat or table until you are happy with their lay out. Then, peel away the backing of the lint roller to reveal the sticky side and place each foam shape onto the roller. Make sure you apply some pressure so they don’t fall off during the printing process.
  3. Iron your fabric and place it onto some scrap paper or a table protector, then fix it in place at the corners with a little masking tape.
  4. Squeeze a small amount of ink along the top edge of your ink tray (or plastic lid) and roll the ink out evenly using a roller or a brayer. As Zeena says, “the thinner the ink, the better the final print finish – you can always add more ink if you need it,” and she is absolutely right!
  5. Gently roll your lint roller through the ink and make sure you cover all of your foam shapes. I sneakily used the brayer a little bit to ink up the lint roller too, as my big fat confetti foam shapes were not getting the all over coverage I needed.
  6. Print ahead! Starting to work across the centre of your fabric, place your lint roller at one edge and very firmly roll it across. Repeat this process on either side of your first printed row of shapes to cover the entire piece of fabric.

If you’re the kind of person who picks up a skill more easily by seeing the technique unfold before your eyes in motion-picture, then you may want to head over to the Stitch Craft Create YouTube channel, where Zeena shows you how she creates her projects in handy bite size videos. You can find the Lint Roller Printing tutorial here.

Zeena mentions how this project is really great to do with children too. Right now, little Joah is a bit too small to join in the printing fun, but he’s happy enough to show off the final result, though!

Joah dalton broekje

Disclaimer: All content and photos from the ‘How To Print Fabric’┬áBlog Hop are copyrighted and courtesy of Stitch Craft Create.
All photos of this DIY + Joah are made by Francine Schokker of COWstudio.