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Crayon Printing

( Originally Published 1932 )



Crayon printing is a method of decorating fabrics with or without the use of a stencil. The same materials should be used as in stenciling. Stencils are used when the same design is repeated on the material, but when the pattern appears but once, the work may be done without the aid of a stencil.

When the former method is used, the steps of the process are practically the same as those used in stenciling. The stencil for crayon work need not be cut from an oiled surface, as paint is not used. Common cardboard, manila tag, or bristol board may be used quite satisfactorily. The printing of the design on the fabric is done with crayons. Light and dark color effects are obtained by altering the pressure on the crayon. When little pressure is used, a light color results, and as the pressure on the crayon increases, the shade deepens. If still deeper tones are required, a number of layers must be applied.

To obtain satisfactory results, make parallel strokes in one direction, keeping the pressure on the crayon the same throughout. When adding another layer, the strokes should run at right angles to those of the first layer.

Keep the crayon well sharpened at all times by using a knife or light sandpaper. By slowly turning the crayon in the fingers when drawing a line, the tip is worn evenly, which aids in keeping the point sharp.

Two-tone colors, such as red-violet, blue-green, or yellow-orange, can be produced by applying one color directly over the other. It is best for the beginner to practice with her crayons on paper before attempting to work on the material.

Spread a few layers of paper on a table and fasten the material on it with thumb tacks. The stencil is held in position over the fabric in the same manner. The design is now filled in with crayons. When completed, the stencil is moved to its next position and the entire process repeated.

When a stencil is not used, the design is traced on the material. This is done by rubbing the back of the pattern with a dark crayon which takes the place of carbon paper. Tack the material on a drawing board or table. Place the pattern over it and trace the out-line of the design with a sharp pencil. Remove the pattern and fill in the design with crayon in the same manner as when using a stencil.

The fabric is now placed between several layers of damp plain cloth or paper, and pressed with a moderately hot iron. This sets the colors and blends the strokes. If any loose particles of crayon appear on the material, they should be carefully removed with the point of a knife before pressing. This finishing process is used for both methods of crayon printing.

Fabrics treated with crayon coloring may be washed if proper care is taken. A tepid water and mild soap-flakes bath works wonders. Do not rub or wring the material, but allow the water to squeeze through it gently. Iron it on the wrong side while still damp.

Here are two processes for decorating materials, which the girl who finds batik and block printing a little too long and difficult can easily master. Both embrace splendid opportunities for self-expression, and promise the enthusiast many happy and profitable hours of diversion.



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