Inktense Fabric Paint Tutorial

Santa brought me a large pack of Inktense pencils by Derwent, so I decided to stitch a block design using my new IQ, and then paint it.  This is a work in progress (WIP), but I thought I would share a tutorial.

What you need:

Inktense set of pencils (comes in different sized packs.  I own a 36 set and a 24 set)

Small fabric brushes (bought at Michaels.  Read the label as it will say it is used on fabric)

Stitched quilted fabric design (I used a digital design by Karen McTavish, but you could stitch a stencil or any design.)

Fabric or Textile medium- I used 2 types on the sample- Aloe Vera gel and Liquidtex Fabric Medium diluted 50/50% with water (see baby jar in photo above).  Jo Sonja also makes a fabulous medium for use on fabric, some with added sheen.  (Google “Jo Sonya” to buy online).

Pencil sharpener

_________________________________   Let’s Begin!

Step One:  Stitch your fabric first.  This is a quilted project, so use any high quality fabric.  I used whatever I had on hand.  For the design portion, you may use any design available- either hand-drawn, digitized or a stencil.  My sample uses a Karen McTavish design stitched out on my A1 brand of longarm quilting machine using an Intelliquilter (IQ).

Step Two: Using your diluted fabric/textile medium or aloe vera gel, carefully saturate the quilted fabric design where you plan to paint.  I discovered through trial and error that the diluted fabric medium worked best and dried less stiff than either the full strength fabric medium or the aloe vera gel.  Use what works best for you.

Step Three:  While your quilted fabric area is wet, carefully color in using the Inktense pencils.  I used 2-3 colors on my sample.

Step Four:  Last step, you dip your brush in the diluted fabric/textile medium and carefully blend the Inktense colors.  Go slow, and strive for accuracy.  Once dry, the Inktense is permanent, according to the manufacturer.  In the future, I plan to test this by washing and drying a test sample, then comparing to my control sample.

That’s all you do!  Very easy, beginner project.  Here is the finished piece:

This is just a test sample, so I think I will keep it green/white, then frame it for my studio.  In the future, one of my goals is to do a wholecloth quilt design.

Final Note:  In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, the first artist to color a quilt (that I am aware of) is Helen Stubbings from Australia.  Helen has been most generous to share her Colorque technique with others, many who now show and teach across the US.  You can purchase Helen’s book from Amazon here.

Another shout out to Sherry Rogers-Harrison, who uses a variety of products in her Inklique work to color quilts.  I hope you will visit both websites if you have enjoyed my free tutorial.

Regards, Carla

26 thoughts on “Inktense Fabric Paint Tutorial

  1. Lovely, Kim Bradley also uses these pencils, I went to one of her classes about 4 years ago here in New Zealand. Kim is an Australian designer and long arm quilter and a lovely person.

  2. I love these pencils. At the International Quilt Show in Long Beach, CA last year, the instructor at the booth said fabric medium is not necessary. I have never used it and not had a problem. I love your stitched pattern.

  3. Thank you for the sample and the info for the Inktense Pencils. I had never heard of them. I hand paint on silk and quilt and will give them a try that way.

  4. Hi Carla, just found your tutorial and I love it. I’ve been painting quilts since the 80’s. I usually hand-quilt them and just use acrylic paints, they don’t wash out, they’re permanent. I’ve yet to try the Inktense but they sure look fun! I have a friend who is in her mid-80’s, and she said she’s been painting on fabric since she was young – apparently, they used to have home parties demonstrating the technique, and women would paint aprons and other linens. It’s been around for awhile! But the tools are a lot more fun now.

  5. Thanks Carla – what a fantastic effect – will definitely give this a try – thank you so much for sharing it on your blog

  6. Pingback: Experiments with Coloring Fabric | Not Your Normal Steam

  7. I have my order coming in the mail. I’m so excited to start my first project: however, I have one concern . What type of fabric can I use like, white flannel, or stick to white high end cotton.

  8. Hi Carla thank you for the e-mail. I have one question regarding painting on fabric with the inkintense blocks, pencils. Which is : what type of fabric could I use : white flannel as I use this in my quilting projects alot. Or just a high quality white fabric. I’m so excited to receive my paints in the mail. This brings back memories of using my old Triceme or Artex. From the olden olds lol.

    • Sheila, I want to encourage you to experiment on scrap fabrics to see the result. My gut says high end dense cotton would work the best, but why not try flannel, or other fabrics? Have fun and test it out first.

      Have fun experimenting!! Carla

  9. Did you mix the two fabric mediums together – 50% of one and 50% of the other and then add water or did you use one fabric medium at a time in different places using 50% water and 50% of one fabric medium. Thanks for a simplified and clear tutorial of a handsome project. Jane

    • Jane, The fabric medium evolved over time with experimentation. When I wrote that post, I diluted the fabric medium 50-50, but later I experimented with using full strength, too. I like both fabric mediums, Liquidtex was easier to locate- I believe through Dick Blick online or at a local craft chain store. You want to wet the fabric, but do not want the color to bleed. By using small teeny tiny stitches, the stitching will contain the color. I also prefer wetting the area to be colored, then going in with a nicely sharpened Intense pencil to color blend. Use several colors to get a nice shaded look.

      Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions. Oh yes, I also love using pigment paint, it gives such a nice metallic look when used on black or dark fabric. Take care! Carla

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