Technique of the Week #42 – Slice Die Cutting Machine!

sliceProject Hours: 2 hours
Design and Materials: 1 hour + (includes charge time for the Slice machine)
Execution:  1 hour

You might be thinking “Why would an art quilter be at all interested in a die cutting machine?”  In fact, I have looked at die-cutters for fabric for a while now, but the major thing that always held me back was twofold: 1.) the cost of the dies 2.) the lack of scale-ability of the designs.    So while at the Chicago Quilt Festival in June I was introduced to the awesome people of Slice, and my die cutting adventures began!  Note: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.ProductPage_Machine_09

I own a manual die cutter, but I can’t afford the dies.  I love the concept of cutting leaves and other common things out using a die, but the cost of a die in a 2 inch, 3 inch, and 4 inch size is too cost prohibitive.  ENTER THE SLICE.  Scale the die up or down, mirror image, shadow effects, the works. The designs are on a card and you just select the item from the menu, choose the size, prep the surface, and cut!
Slice how toI tried using the Slice machine to do a multi piece project from their Monster card. The great thing here is that the design booklet that comes with the card tells you where in the cutting zone your piece will be cut from so you can align it properly.  I picked this monster who looked like a pear.

Slice fabrics After I selected and fused my fabrics to paper backed fusibles, I set up my machine and let it do the cutting.


I assembled and fused down my little monster dude and got to quilting!Slice before quilting This was a LOT easier to use that I figured it would be, and the design cards really speak to my “cute cartoony” style.  I can definitely see using this in the future for all kinds of stuff! Christmas cards, table runners, pillows, all kinds of stuff.  I have a ton of ideas now.

The awesome folks at Slice have given me a coupon code for you to use over in their shop for 30% off all design cards and accessories!  Head on over to and use the promo code MUPPINROCKSTHESLICE (this code is good until this Friday 8/9/13, so hurry on over)!

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Technique of the Week #41 – Craft Store Rub Ons

img008Project Hours: 1 hour
Design and Materials: 1/2 hour
Execution: 1/2 hour +

Because my quilts are art quilts made for the wall and are hardly ever (as in NEVER) washed, I decided to see if I could make some craft store rub-ons that are made for paper work on fabric.
The answer?  Yup, you can.  I only ironed this piece from the back so that I did not touch the rub-on with the iron directly, and it still worked out great.  A simple design here to showcase 4 different rub-ons.  These were literally in the dollar section of the store, but in any scrapbook section you can find some rub-ons. I do NOT know what will happen if washed, but I assume they will wash off.  You may be able to cover them in a fabric or matte medium for permanence!

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Technique of the Week # 38 – Shaving Cream Marbling

Project Hours: 2 hours

Design and Materials: 1 hour

Execution: 1 hour +

This project was so fun and it didn’t hardly take any time at all to do.  All you need is a can of shaving cream, a wipe-able surface and some Tsukineko inks.

To start, you spray your shaving cream (not the gel kind) in a section on your table or surface.  Then you smooth it out with a flat edge of a ruler or piece of cardboard.

Then you drip on your inks, and I used the end of a paintbrush to drag through them for some marbling effects.
Then you lay your fabric onto the surface of the shaving cream to pick up the ink and gently pat until you see the ink through the back of the fabric.  Wait about 5 minutes, then wipe the excess cream off the fabric.  Iron well when dry.  

It was so fun!  I even did an octopus for the Technique of the Week project series!

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Technique of the Week #37 – Suminagashi Marbling on Fabric

Project Hours: 2 hours

Design and Materials: 1 hourExecution: 1 hour +

Suminagashi is a marbling technique for fabric or paper that is done with inks that float on top of the surface of water.  I learned about this technique from a recent meeting of the Fiber Art Divas, and went to Dick Blick to purchase the supplies to try it.
The cool thing about this technique (or the most frustrating part) is that the design is mostly up to how steady you are at dropping the ink onto the surface of the water, and any air current or bumping of the table you do.  If you like organic results, this is for you!
I got the above palate pan and filled it with about an inch and a half of water.  I got this marbling kit in the airbrush ink section.  It’s from Japan, made for this technique.  You use the paintbrushes to lightly dab the ink onto the surface of the water.  You then use a surfactant (like a little dish soap in water) to separate your colors and layers.  Blowing on the water or dragging a cat whisker through the water creates the patterns.  You lay your fabric down in a sort of roll to pick up the ink on the surface of the water.
I finished playing with this technique in about 2 hours, so it was a perfect distraction from my busy days.  My results are below, done on PFD (Prepared For Dyeing) fabric.  I cold over marble and do other things for greater effect, but I had a blast.  Now what to make out of the fabric?

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Technique of the Week #36 – Batik Wax Resist

Project Hours: 6 hours
Design and Materials: 1 hour
Execution: 5 hours
Ok.  I threw in the towel on this one because I am really, really bad at this technique.   I did 4 different batik designs, and this is the only one that came out remotely decent, and I still don’t care for it.
I used real batik wax that I got a year ago at one of the IQF shows.  I got a melter pot just for the wax.  I used a tjanting tool.  I practiced. The wax was smelly and I was very patient.
I did not use PFD fabric, which may be problem #1.  I did not let the wax soak into the fabric well, which was definitely problem #2.  I also tried what someone recommended and very lightly ironed the back of one of the pieces (not pictured) that just ran my design into a giant puddle of wax onto the fabric.  Into the trash that one went. (Note:I normally never condone throwing attempts into the garbage… sometimes you can save a bad piece, but these could not be saved, they were that bad)
I used Setacolor paints instead of dyes, but I don’t think that was any issue here.  You can see that it ran underneath my batik lines, so that would have happened either way.    
I am NOT good at batiking.  I really suck at it.   So, you know, I guess it’s good to know that right?
Right after I chucked (literally) 3 of the other pieces in the garbage, I signed up for a Soy Wax Class at CREATE, which is coming here to Chicago in August.  I hope to be a LOT better with soy wax than this crazy wax I have.

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