Easy Craft: Crayon Tinting

crayon tinting 1Back in college, there was a girl whom I found inspiring. Considering how negative I was, I didn’t find many people who were. But when somebody did impress me, I had a better idea of the kind of person I wanted to be, which wasn’t always clear. Anyway, the university I attended was crawling with artsy, bohemian types. The UP stereotypes, I read somewhere, are the activists, the poets, the mountaineers, the hippies, etc., so I was used to different manifestations of creativity – the more outrageous, the more characteristic of the place, but this girl looked very much mainstream. She came from money, but she wore clothes that her mother sewed for her, she took up a part-time job clerking at a boutique simply because she wanted to work and have her own money, she made polymer clay earrings to sell (this was before crafting became a fad), and she jazzed up her plain t-shirts by crayon tinting them. Being somebody whose life was defined by being a student, nothing more (I hadn’t graduated from college yet, so that was what I supposed to be — so maddening how much I limited myself when I was young, lol) I was fascinated by her entrepreneurial spirit and her creativity.

I remember her giving me a casual tutorial for crayon tinting, and I had always meant to try it. Last week, I came across crayon tinted fabric items on Etsy, remembered this long-delayed crafting intent, and finally attempted it. It only took me close to 20 years.

It’s so fun and easy; I certainly intend to try it on a shirt soon. I wish I had remembered about it when I made those “big sister” t-shirts for Marguerite when I was pregnant with Cameron. Crayon tinting would have been less messy, for starters.

This is how I did crayon tinting:crayon tinting 2

I outlined a design, then colored it in, pressing hard on the crayon and using just one stroke direction.

When I was done coloring, I sandwiched the fabric between two sheets of paper (in this case, my piece of felt was small, so I just put it in between the folds of one sheet of paper).

I heated a flat iron to cotton setting and then placed it on the paper. I let it sit there for about 20-30 seconds. When I lifted the iron, I saw that some of the wax had stuck to the paper. I repeated the process, using clean portions of the same paper, until no more wax residue showed on it.

Have you tried this fabric printing technique before? Do you have any tips as to how to do it well? Please share!

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