Shelf 9781845337575

Love Heart Tote Bag

Extract from Simple Printmaking • By Elizabeth Harbour • Published by Stackpole Books


$ $ $ $ $
• • • • •
40 mins

Simple Printmaking
This delightful tote bag captures the beauty of summer flowers and is an example of how you can successfully capture delicate mono-printed details on fabric. It makes a unique and lovely birthday gift or Mother’s Day present. The image could also be printed onto a cushion, laundry bag, pillowcase or paper to
make a lovely print for a bedroom. You could even make a smaller heart template to use for a Valentine’s Day card or lavender bags. It is best to use a neutral-coloured fabric with a fine weave, as it will pick up all the small details and help these to stand out. Calico, cotton and medium-weight muslin work particularly
well for this printing technique and are very reasonably priced.

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© 2024 Elizabeth Harbour / Stackpole Books · Reproduced with permission. · Creative Makers: Simple Printmaking by Elizabeth Harbour, published by Mitchell Beazley, £16.99 (
  • Step 1

    Prepare the bags

    First wash the tote bags to wash out any size in the fabric. Allow to dry and iron with a hot steam iron

  • Step 2

    Prepare the heart template
    Enlarge the Love heart template on the inside front
    cover, making sure that it is just the right size to fit
    within your gelatine printing surface, then trace and
    transfer the outline centrally onto the cartridge paper. Cut out the heart using a scalpel or craft
    knife on a cutting mat. Discard the heart shape and retain
    the surrounding paper.

  • Step 3

    Mix the paint colours
    Mix blue and crimson paint with a little white to make a
    lavender blue, then add a similar volume of acrylic textile medium to the paint, and a little water if needed. Mix
    thoroughly. Don’t work under a direct warm spotlight,
    as this will hasten the drying process and hence affect
    the workability of the paint. Place a sheet of newsprint
    into each bag to prevent any paint seeping through the
    fabric when you print.

  • How to make a tote bag. Love Heart Tote Bag - Step 4
    Step 4

    Prepare the printing surface
    Place the gelatine printing surface in a portrait position
    and paint the surface evenly with vertical strokes using
    the decorator’s brush or hog-hair paintbrush (this leaves
    a little residue on the ghost print, creating a stronger
    image). Arrange a selection of flower heads into a rough
    heart shape. Hold the heart stencil upside down above the
    flowers to make sure that it will be filled with flower heads. The heart is upside down so that the handles of the
    bag will hang clear off the table and won’t get in the way
    during printing.

  • How to make a tote bag. Love Heart Tote Bag - Step 5
    Step 5

    Get ready to print

    Lay a piece of newsprint over the flower heads to take
    your first silhouette print. Gently smooth over the newsprint
    with the palm of your hand. Take the paper off and gently
    remove the flower heads using tweezers – you should be
    able to see a good flower impression on the gelatine. If it
    isn’t clear enough paint the surface again with a little more
    paint and repeat the process. It is advisable to take a paper
    print to check to see if everything is working in the right
    way. When it looks as if you have a good flower impression
    on the gelatine, place the heart template upside down
    onto the surface so that the negative heart shape is filled
    with flower impressions. It is important to cover any
    remaining painted surfaces with strips of paper to prevent
    any unwanted paint getting onto the bag.

  • How to make a tote bag. Love Heart Tote Bag - Step 6
    Step 6

    Print the bag
    Hold the first tote bag upside down over the heart
    template, positioning it so that the heart image will be
    centrally positioned on the bag once it is printed (I allowed
    about 7.5cm (3in) from the bottom of the bag). Place the
    bag down onto the printing surface and smooth the fabric
    with the palm of a clean hand. You should be able to
    feel the outline of the template and apply pressure where
    the printed image will be. Gently lift the opening of the
    bag without moving the fabric and smooth over the inner
    paper. Carefully lift one corner of the bag and gently
    remove from the gelatine surface. Hang to dry and, once
    it is dry, brush off any seeds or stamens and heat-set the
    printed fabric with a medium iron.

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