A grey sky, nowhere to be and nothing good on TV. Conditions were perfect. The day for the printing party was here.
Cardinal rule of all successful parties is to prepare: I made tote bags out of a thrifted, bleached and washed bed sheet and ribbon from my stash. Total cost: €2! And in my book, all great parties have food to share: My husband and I made a Thai-inspired chicken broth to go with copious amounts of our own spicy potato wedges and rocket-tomato-grape salad. We had four guests from different countries and this ‘fusion’ meal went down well! I’ve bookmarked it as an easy gluten and dairy-free meal too. I wish I had a picture. We had salad in ramekins. Anyhoo..
Taking my cue from television show hosts, I quickly explained what we were about to do, the various paint options and showed ‘one I made earlier’. I then handed out paper, rainbow pens and stood back with glee as my wonderful guests doodled their designs and daydreamed. It was interesting to see how other people settle on an idea. I tried to be helpful and offered inspiring books, pointed to fun websites and before long everyone was up at one of the tables and tracing a stencil; our chosen method for the day. Printing on fabric is approachable using the simple idea of negative space so it was great for a party where the main aim was fun rather than technical brilliance and man, we had fun.
Chic and simple stripes are perfect if you’re struggling to find inspiration. They are SO easy to make and involve no sharp objects. Masking tape to the rescue! The plastic folder dividers (a brainwave after a long hunt for acetate) were soft enough to cut through with an X-acto knife and were great for large shapes like the card suits which Steffi tried or a rotund owl that Natalie went home with. More intricate patterns like Hannah’s leafy tree were better seen with the iron-on freezer paper which stays flush with the fabric throughout and doesn’t allow any splodges of paint to seep under. We also had some free-hand painted clouds from Jess which were trés impressive so don’t be limited by your stencils. Sometimes it is better to have no boundaries.
We used cotton fabric (even better if it had a former life) because natural fibres soak up colour the best, tiny amounts of fabric paints and an iron to heat set these fab designs. We can now wash our customised reusable tote bags in temperatures up to 40ºC. Win win!
Despite the gender-equal nature of this here craft, my husband chose to play a computer game involving strategic thinking and arthritis-inducing keyboard action.
All who voted for the relaxing and productive afternoon involving strategy and nimble fingers, I salute you.