Using Color Magnet for Screen Printing

Happy Valentine’s Day to you! Hope you are enjoying a sweet treat, whether that’s candy, flowers, or new supplies for your favorite creative hobby!

In our February 10 enewsletter, we announced the addition of Color Magnet™ for Screen Printing by Jacquard to our online shop. I had heard about this product before, but the catalyst for stocking it was the most recent Printing with Thermofax Screens class, taught by PG Fiber2Art. PG Fiber2Art is Susan Price and Elizabeth Gibson. (They always teach together; unfortunately for this session Elizabeth was out of town).

Printing with Thermofax Screens class at Artistic Artifacts, taught by PG Fiber2Art

Basic Color Magnet Directions

1) Apply Color Magnet directly from jar to fabric by screen printing, stamping or stenciling.
2) Let dry thoroughly. Drying can be aided by the use of a hair dryer or heat tool.
3) Dye according to dye package instructions (immersion dyeing is recommended as the best method). The more diluted the dye, the greater the contrast.

Susan showed the class a number of fabric samples that had been created using Color Magnet for Screen Printing, and everyone wanted to be able to buy the product themselves. We were happy to oblige!

We also asked PG Fiber2Art to assist with this blog posting to help you understand the product. All images here are copyright by PG Fiber2Art (unless otherwise noted) and used with their permission.

Color Magnet is a dye attractant that “magically” attracts more dye where it is applied. Apply Color Magnet directly from jar to your fabric by Thermofax screen printing, or by stamping or stenciling.

Using Color Magnet for Screen Printing by Jacquard

The Color Magnet product is yellow in color and will be visible on your fabric as it is applied. This yellow doesn’t show permanently, nor does it change the color of the dye you choose to use. The coloring is there to make it easier to see where you have applied the Color Magnet.

Applying Color Magnet for Screen Printing to fabric through a PG Fiber2Art Thermofax screen

Above, Sue applies Color Magnet through the PG Fiber2Art screen Sewer Cover to print an all-over design — in these photos it is wet from the applications. (Visit the PG Fiber2Art blog for a thorough tutorial on How to Print with Thermofax Screens if you are unfamiliar with the process.)

It is very important to let the applied Color Magnet product dry completely before you immerse your fabric into the dye. Sue often lets her fabric sit overnight to dry; Jacquard notes that you can use a blow dryer or a craft heat tool to speed the drying process.

Color Magnet for Screen Printing applied to fabric through PG Fiber2Art Thermofax screens--before dyeing

Above, a detail photo of the same fabric after it was over-screened with Color Magnet using their popular Circles screen, available in the PG Fiber2Art Etsy shop. Below, a detail of the fabric after dyeing it teal.

After dyeing, the fabric that has had the Color Magnet for Screen Printing applied shows darker, having attracted the dye particles

The full length of fabric after. (Click the photo for a larger view.)

Full length of PG Fiber2Art fabric -- click for larger view

For the stronges/darkest tone on tone contrast, use a diluted dye solution. You may want to experiment with differing strengths of dye solution to see how you like the effects achieved.

Below are two additional fabric pieces that Sue screened with Color Magnet and then dyed. The top image is Tree Bark and the bottom is a mustard flower.

Tree bark Thermofax screen by PG Fiber2Art

Mustard Flower Thermofax screen by PG Fiber2Art

“I’m really pleased with how they turned out,” writes Sue. “I wanted the mustard flower to be an all over pattern, but it was really hard to see where I had already printed so I missed some spots. The base fabric was a pale blue/green and the Color Magnet is yellow, so it really blended in as it dried.”

Using Color Magnet does not alter the hand of your fabric. This softness makes it ideal for using on garments. Below, Sue prepped a t-shirt and screened it around the neckline with the Lazy Daisy screen, and let it dry overnight.

Color Magnet applied to a T-shirt, before dyeing

And here’s the shirt after:

Color Magnet T-shirt after dyeing

“The shirt is 45% polyester and 55% natural fibers,” writes Sue. “I wasn’t sure how well it would take the dye, but it did better than I expected.”

Although the results shown here from PG Fiber2Art are all from using their beautiful Thermofax screens, Color Magnet for Screen Printing can also be used with wooden printing blocks, stencils, applied through Fineline Needle Applicators and more.

Imagine the possibilities!

Additional Color Magnet Resources

    • For a demonstration of and instructions on using Color Magnet for Screen Printing, visit YouTube.

Lynda Heines experiments with using varying amounts of dye powder

  • Lynda Heines of Bloom, Bake & Create was a guest blogger for Lynn Krawczyk of Smudged Textiles Studio, with a tutorial on how to use Color Magnet. Of particular interest are Lynda’s documentation of her experiments using varying amounts of dye powder (detail pictured here).
  • Explore step-by-step instructions and tips for using Jacquard’s Color Magnet in this Quilting Arts magazine article by Sue Bleiweiss (PDF provided by Jacquard). A sampling of Sue’s fabrics dyed using Color Magnet are below.

Sue Bleiweiss fabrics dyed using Color Magnet

Fiber Meets Art

Years ago, I met Laura Cater Woods, an university trained fine artist who loves fabric. I learned many things from Laura over the years, but one that I use constantly in my art is the incorporation of “fine art” materials into my fiber art. At the time I was too intimidated to use Golden brand supplies such as matte medium, gesso, fluid acrylics, etc., because of course I didn’t think of myself as a “fine” artist, but as a craftsman.

Detail, sheer tabletop screen by Judy Gula

Well, times have changed, and nothing scares me anymore. Well, except maybe piecing a quilt that is larger than 36" x 36" where the points have to match!

So, back to mediums. We can use matte medium and my favorite Jo Sonja textile medium to “fuse” fiber materials together. These products work like a glue. I use this technique to create paper with silk fibers as well as to create sheer layers with polyester sheer fabrics and scarves.

In Judy Gula's Sheer Delight workshop, you will create fabrics that retain semi-transparency

Yes, following the rules of traditional quilting, just when I thought it was safe to toss the polyester from my stash — I realize, no, there aren’t any rules! And those non-traditional fabrics can create their own magic. What’s really special is that even with a multitude of layers, you can retain a sense of sheerness and transparency.

It’s amazing to have the light stream through. Like a piece of stained glass, but in fiber form.

I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with this technique over time. After being asked dozens of times about having a class to teach a panel I had hanging in the shop’s glass door frame, I put together my tips for you, and this weekend, April 26-27, I will be teaching my Sheer Delight workshop.

Sheer Delight window hanging by Judy Gula

Working with a wide variety of materials (view short supply list) and these mediums, we’ll create custom mixed-media fabrics to create sheer tabletop screen or window hanging.

Day 1, Saturday, we will create our mixed-media fabrics, playing all day (no sewing machine required). After giving them plenty of time to thoroughly dry, on Day 2, Sunday, we will work with these colorful new textiles to create your choice of a free standing sculpture or a window piece.

I hope you’ll join me! Register online now »

Seats are also still available in the week-long schedule of fiber and surface design classes we have arranged to following the SAQA classes. And we’ve recently edited and added to our regular class schedule: Carol Sloan’s classes orginally planned for post-SAQA are now in June, I’ve committed to several Dye Day dates for the summer, and Diane Herbort is giving us an advance look at her new paper and fabric tag book class that will be taught this fall in Houston at the International Quilt Festival!

P.S. Remember that because last Sunday was Easter, JAMs (Judy’s Altered Minds) will take place this Sunday instead, the 27th. We’ll move back to the 3rd Sunday schedule next month.

Artistic Artifacts Metallics Challenge! Place Your Bid! Raise Money for Food For Others

(Edited 2/14/2014) The Artistic Artifacts Metallics Challenge Closing party scheduled for Saturday, February 15th, 3:00-8:00 pm will now take place on Saturday, February 22 due to weather — see above. We will begin closing our Silent Auction bidding beginning at 6:00 pm (auctions will be closed in stages). Please Join us and help to raise money for Food for Others, while acquiring a wonderful piece of one of a kind mixed media art.

Beginning at 1:00 pm, we will be having “try it and take it” sessions (small cash fee, benefit Food for Others, will apply) where you can experiment with our needlefelting machine. Learn how easy it is to create a unique textile and craft your choice of a heart or flower shape. With a provided pin back you have a colorful brooch, or use it on an art quilt, journal cover, your key chain…

Try out the Artistic Artifacts’ needlefelting machine onSaturday, February 15

Another reminder: as noted in this week’s edition of our enewsletter, the forecasted snowstorm in our area, we have postponed the “How Do I Use This” product demonstration series from tomorrow to next Thursday, February 20, 2014.

A random sampling of Mixed Media Metallics entries: