Fabric Printing with a Brayer - Threads


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Fabric Printing with a Brayer

Brayers have nearly infinite possibilities for applying paint to fabric. Combined with ordinary objects, a brayer can create an endless variety of repeating and nonrepeating patterns on all kinds of fabric, including as much or as little color variation as you choose.
 
Using a brayer can be as simple as painting a wall with a paint roller. Using a brayer requires no skill or training beyond a good eye and a taste for adventure.
 
Brayers have nearly infinite possibilities for applying paint to fabric. Combined with ordinary objects, a brayer can create an endless variety of repeating and nonrepeating patterns on all kinds of fabric, including as much or as little color variation as you choose.
 

Brayers have nearly infinite possibilities for applying paint to fabric. Combined with ordinary objects, a brayer can create an endless variety of repeating and nonrepeating patterns on all kinds of fabric, including as much or as little color variation as you choose.

 

by Lois Ericson and Dawn McIntyre
from Threads #96, pp. 59-63

Creating your own printed or painted fabrics is a delicious prospect, but it can also be a daunting one for the beginner worried about lack of experience with artists’ tools. Well, if you’ve ever painted a wall with a roller, you’re already an old hand with a brayer, a small, rubber-faced version of the basic paint roller, as shown above. A surface-design tool with nearly infinite possibilities for applying paint to fabric, the brayer requires no skill or training beyond a good eye and a taste for adventure. Combined with ordinary objects, it can create an endless variety of repeating and nonrepeating patterns on all kinds of fabric, including as much or as little color variation as you choose. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of brayer types and paint options, then demonstrate ways to create interesting textures and patterns by rolling the brayer over manipulated fabrics or fabrics layered over textured surfaces.

Rolling out a pattern
Rolling out a pattern from a textured surface underneath the fabric is one of many ways to use a brayer. Photo: Sloan Howard.

Brayer-printing tools


Edge of the brayer

Textured brayers can be bought or made. The authors’ collection includes:
1. a rolling pin wrapped with rubber strips, which rolls out the bamboo-like pattern shown at bottom left in the four-photo group below;
2. a Rollagraph rolling rubber-stamp, plus a substitute wheel in a different pattern;
3. a hard-rubber brayer wrapped diagonally with a rubber strip;
4. two foam paint rollers, one of which has been cut to make striped patterns; 5. a rubber-band-wrapped brayer (like that in use in the photo at top left in the group below), plus a smaller, rubber-wrapped “bamboo-maker”;
6. and a commercially produced, prepatterned roller, with an alternate, snap-in roller.

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