Monday, 25 January 2016

How to: Use Markal or Shiva Paintstiks on Fabric

Markal and stitch over a Gelli Plate Print
One of my favourite colouring tools for fabric is Markal paintstiks.  They are oil based and are very opaque, so can be used over any colour, unlike dye or Inktense.  They come in both matte and iridescent which is a bit pearlised or slightly metallic.  Now I don’t do glitz, but for some reason, I love the iridescent Markal – they just bring a bit of a lift to the work.  Note: Markal and Shiva are the exact same things.
Some of my Markals and short stencil brushes
I recently wrote a how to use Markals with stencils, which is in the current edition of Popular Patchwork.  This is an abbreviated version of what is in the magazine.
Markals in Popular Patchwork
You will need fabric, stencil, Markals and a short stencil brush (a toothbrush is perfect).
My Markal Equipment
How to:
1.   Make sure that you have your table covered as Markals are very permanent!
2.   You need your fabric to stay put, so tape in place or use some spray baste, like 505.  You also need to hold your stencil in place over the fabric the same way.
3.   As the paintstik is oil paint, it will form a skin, which you have to remove to get to the paint, either by rubbing with a cloth or cut off with a knife.
4.   Load your brush with paint and apply to the fabric in circular motions.
Adding the Markal through a paper stencil
5.   The colours blend really well and I often add several colours in a piece.  Some people will blend the colours before apply to the fabric, I prefer to mix on the fabric so the blend is not too perfect.
6.   Leave to dry – be patient it takes a long time, like several days.  Once dried, iron the fabric between two layers of baking parchment to make the paint totally permanent.
Hand cut paper stencil
You can use bought stencils or cut your own.  I use both – I like the bought ones when it is something I couldn’t cut myself and The Crafter's Workshop ones have generous use policies, so I don’t need to worry about breaking copyright.  My own, I cut from heavy photocopy paper with a scalpel, normally through two layers so I have a spare version.  I have used freezer paper as it is good for positioning as you can iron it on to the fabric.  However, to my cost, I discovered that it does not peel off wet Markal paint – only use on bare fabric!
Markal on top of hand dyed and pieced silk

There are lots of different ways of using Markals, some more subtle than others, perhaps that will be for another blogpost.  
Stencilling through some sequins waste


Living to work - working to live said...

Thanks so much for this.

I have used Paintsticks but not much lately and rarely on fabric. This is a great bit of technical info.

My own selection of colours is a bit limited, but I do like the packs of smaller paints (do they still do them) where you get a mix of 3 colours. Because they are so pigment rich and last such a long time I have found this a great way to buy.

Where do you get yours by the way?

Gillian Cooper said...

Thanks Hilary. I rarely use them on anything other than fabric! Do you mean the tiny stumpy ones? I tend not to buy them as you lose so much each time with the paint forming a skin and I do use them very heavily.
I think most of the usual suspects sell them (Colourcraft, Art Van Go, Rainbow Silks etc) but I've been buying them wholesale recently so I have them to sell at classes.

Dennii Dorning said...

Hi there, I have just bought a whole set of Markal Paintstiks. Just need to know how to clean my plastic stencil and my
special brush please?

Gillian Cooper said...

Hi Dennii, you need to treat them as you would treat oil paints, so wash them in turps or white spirit. I tend not to clean my stencils often, but the brushes need to be looked after

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