100 Days of Mark Making on Fabric: Week 1


My 100 Days of Mark Making is off to a fantastic start!! I look forward to each of these mark-making sessions and learn so much from each day's series of experiments using different mark-making products and techniques. 

I already shared Day 1 and 2 in my Set Up Post, but here is the remainder of Week 1's creative adventures in mark making:

3/100: Textile Paints and Circles/Dots

One of the textures used to create many of these prints may shuck and a-maize you!! Cornfused?!? Below is a behind-the-scenes look at today's mark-making fun and play. Corny but true!! I tried rolling the corn into the paint but found it easier to use a paint brush to brush the paint onto the corn kernels. Two shishkabob skewers were poked into either end of the corn cob and made it easier/neater to roll across the fabric.

I experimented with three different paint brands: Jacquard Textile Color (black and white), Jacquard Neopaque (black and white), and ProChemical & Dye PRO Silk & Fabric Paint (Ebony). Each square of fabric was labeled for easy identification. All three paints performed beautifully with the Jacquard paints having a darker black pigment, as well as a thicker consistency for more crisp patterning. Any remaining paint was used for stamping with toilet paper rolls and a foam marshmalllow to create circles and rings.

4/100: Dye-Na-Flow and Circles/Dots

My plan A and B were a bit of a bust...so I went with Plan C of painting with Jacquard's Dye-Na-Flow (and a bit of salt). The Dye-na-Flow sure does flow so I needed to embrace the unpredictability as I brushed it onto the fabric. I tried adding some course salt to the last print which caused the fabric paint spread in unusual patterning.

5/100: Pens + Squares   

It's hip to be square! Today's dice roll involved using an assortment of black pens on 10" squares of PFD fabric. Here are the different pens I used from top left, clockwise:

Compared to the Dye-Na-Flow, I enjoyed the precision and control that was possible doodling with the pens to create these square-ish designs. 

6/100: Watercolor Crayons/Blocks + Artist's Choice (Grids)

Today's dice roll involved using a variety of watercolor and water-soluble blocks to create a gridwork of marked lines:

Black/Charcoal on White Pimatex PFD (top down)
2. Derwent Inktense Block (bottom right)

5. Art Graf Graphite Stick (bottom right)
6. Derwent Graphite (bottom left)

White Marks on Black Pimatex PFD (top down)
2. Caran D'Ache Neocolor II (bottom right)
3. Derwent Inktense Block (bottom left)

Process for Experimenting with Application of Mark Making:
1. Left side: Make marks on dry fabric (top left) and then dip brush in water and brush along marked lines (top right)
2. Right side: Spritzed fabric with water, make marks (top right), use brush, and apply more marks and brush (bottom right)
3. Air dry, heat set with hot-dry iron (bottom left)

Confession: I may need to repeat parts of this experiment as I started out very light-handed, but started to apply more pressure when marking the lines. Additionally, some of the later fabrics were still very damp when I went to heat set with hot-dry iron, which may have altered the finished look. Either way, I learned a lot from the process and love these grids!!

7/100:  Textile Paints + Sunprinting

Today's sunny San Jose, CA forecast provided the perfect opportunity to sunprint. Each 10" square was soaked in water and wrung out prior to being painted with Ebony Silk & Fabric Paint by ProChemical & Dye. Pressed vinyl mats with a variety of textures and patterns were placed on top and left to air dry. 

Thankfully the sun is not required as a large palm tree blocked its rays just as I finished painting!! A few leftover squares were painted, salted, folded, ironed a bit too early, and/or baked in our toaster oven ...perhaps a minute or two too long...Oops!!

Here are all 16 sunprinted and painted fabrics with their fabulous black & white textures.

These 49 squares represent nearly 3.5 yards of mark making!! Luckily I ordered a bolt of Dharma's Pimatex PFD 45" wide in both white and black so I have plenty to last for all 100 Days!

I'd love to know which products and/or techniques are on your list to try. Stay tuned for more mark-making experiments and explorations ahead! I'll be posting daily to Instagram and then weekly updates here on the blog.


  1. What a clever plan, Mel. Your work is so wonderful I think a fabric company may be contacting you soon. Thanks for all the inspiration. I have a few paints and markers and should try this before they dry out.

    1. Having a game plan takes away some of the guesswork of what to do each day. Roll the dice and proceed. I hope you are inspired to pull out some of your paints and markers and play before they are dried out.


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