Fabrications – In Bloom Two (part three)

While shopping in a local craft store, I noticed these plastic shapes with raised surfaces.

I believe they’re used to create imitation stained glass. I purchased a few of them and found them to work quite well as rubbing plates with Shiva Paintstiks.

Using the same Kona cotton fabric as used in part two (prewashed), I rubbed the flower design onto the surface using a white Shiva Paintstik. After allowing it to dry and giving it a gentle wash (see part two), I set up my sewing machine with white rayon thread and lowered the feed dogs.

I then did a free motion outline stitch around the smaller flowers and filled in the centers.

Next, I attached the Bernina Free Motion Couching Foot and couched a #4 cotton around the larger flower. This could also be done by winding the heavy #4 cotton onto a bobbin and stitching the design from the back side of the fabric.

This simple design resulted in a beautiful embellishment that took very little time to create.

For the dragonfly, I decided to stipple his wings and thread paint his body. I began with the wings.

Then I filled in his lower body with a brown cotton embroidery thread. Next, I filled in his head with Holoshimmer.

Finally, I outlined his body with gold Holoshimmer.

Shiva Paintstiks made the transfer of the shapes simple and quick. Once on fabric, there were many things I could have chosen to do with each design. I hope you’ll do a little experimentation and enjoy the versatility that these paintstiks offer in the studio.


N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Fabrications – In Bloom Two (part two)

Shiva Paintstiks allow us to transform a plain fabric into something eye-catching and beautiful. Possibly you’ve seen the application of Shiva’s iridescent paintstiks on a black background and the striking results.

In this project, I’m taking you in the opposite direction by using the color white. If you’ve ever admired shadow appliqué, you will appreciate the similar effects that you can achieve with a white Shiva Paintstik. In shadow appliqué, various colors of fabric are placed on the wrong side of a sheer fabric, allowing the design to show through. The outline of the shape is then stitched on the right side of the fabric along with some embroidery embellishments, resulting in a delicate, pristine surface design.

For this project you will need freezer paper, a pastel background fabric (I used a Kona cotton), Shiva Paintstiks in white and yellow, rayon thread, and some beads.

Begin by drawing a simple design on a separate piece of paper. I started with a circle and then formed petals to create my flower. Cut the design out and transfer it to the matte side of the freezer paper using a pencil or marker. Cut the design out of the freezer paper, making sure your design edges are smooth.

Place your freezer paper design shiny side down on the right side of your fabric and press with a warm iron until the paper fully adheres to the surface.

Next, prepare a work area just as you would for fabric painting, making sure the surface is protected. Secure your fabric with tape to a hard flat object, such as a large tile or plate of glass. Remove the thin skin from your white Shiva Paintstik (see part one) and gently color in the design area. You can apply the paintstik directly or you can use a stencil brush. Your design won’t look all that wonderful at this stage, but that will soon change.

Now add a yellow center to your flower using the original pattern template with the center cut out. You don’t have to wait for one color to dry before using another. With Shiva Paintstiks you can layer colors simultaneously or blend colors together to produce new colors.

Once your design is complete, peel off the freezer paper. If there are any flakes of skin residue, remove them with a point of a knife or similar object.

At this point I detour a bit from the usual directions by placing my design between two paper towels and lightly pressing (silk setting) for about 6 seconds. This is not for the purpose of heat setting but rather to even out the painted design. By doing this, your design will lose its grainy look and take on a solid, smooth appearance.

You must now set your design aside and allow it to dry for a few days. Once dry, heat set by again placing it between paper towels (or paper bags) and ironing for about 15 seconds on each side. Use the heat setting appropriate for the background fabric.

To remove any remaining chemical residue, wash your design in cold water with a small amount of detergent. You can do this in a washing machine, but I prefer to do this by hand and then lay the design on a towel to dry. You can also dry your design in a clothes dryer set at the low heat setting.

Once you’ve completed the washing process, your design is ready for some embellishing. Begin by stabilizing your fabric. I use a fusible cotton tear away purchased from ABC Embroidery (see Fiber Art Resources page). It’s a wonderful product that I highly recommend, especially to quilters who embellish with embroidery. It’s easy to remove, but can also be left in the design because it’s light weight and softens when washed. Whatever stabilizer you use, take care when removing it from around your stitching.

Set up your sewing machine for free motion embroidery, making sure you’ve dropped the feed dogs. Using a rayon thread (or any decorative thread you like), stitch around the edges of your design. Remember to loosen your top tension when using decorative threads.

Next, move to the center and detail stitch the petals. As a final embellishment, add some beads at the end of each petal detail.

When removing the stabilizer, you may like to leave the part behind your design since the white stabilizer enhances the white of your design. Now, have you ever seen anything so delicate and beautiful?

I hope this little project will serve as a starting point for some great adventures with Shiva Paintstiks. In part three, I’ll share some other simple tools that I use to create surface designs with Shiva Paintstiks.


N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Fabrications – In Bloom Two (part one)

When quilters moved from traditional quilts to contemporary quilts to art quilts, many tools and techniques once used on canvas crossed over into fiber art. One of those tools is Shiva Paintstiks. If you haven’t already used them yourself, you’ve probably seen the work of those who have integrated them into their craft.

Shiva Paintstiks (also called Markal Paintstiks) are a combination of refined linseed oil, pigment, and wax, solidified into solid stick form. Unlike other oil bars, the linseed oil in the Shiva bars is highly refined, less acidic, and fast drying. Therefore, they do not leave an oil outline when used on fabric. Within 24 hours they will be dry to touch. However, they take 3-5 days to fully dry and must be heat set to be permanent. Following the drying time, give your project a gentle wash to remove remaining chemical residue. Do not dry clean..

One characteristic of the paintstiks has both a positive and negative aspect to it. They are self-healing, which means they form a skin after use. This makes for less waste but it also means that the skin has to be removed each time you work with them. I use a sharp knife with a thin blade. The skin is very thin so don’t take off too much in the process. Sometimes the skin flakes intermingle with your work, but they are easy to remove. Since I’m not crazy about the skin or the flakes, I cover my paintstiks with Glad Press n’ Seal if I plan on using them a few days in a row. This retards the formation of the skin and keeps them sealed at the same time.

The first time you use them, practice on a scrap of fabric to get the feel of how they work. Don’t press too hard and work in a consistent linear motion. Although rubbing plates are available, experiment with other items that have interesting raised designs on their surface. I used a plant stand in the example below.

One of my favorite rubbings is random dots found on a textile plate intended for clay.

Additionally, you can make your own raised designs with string or wire. Also, keep your eyes open when shopping and you’re sure to find items that can be adhered to a firm surface and serve as an original rubbing plate. For example, I found decorative paper clips in the scrapbooking section of a local craft store that worked well. Simply glue them to a piece of wood or similar object.

Rubbings are not the only use for paintstiks, though. You can use commercial stencils or stencils you create yourself to decorate fabric. It is best to use a stencil brush to apply thepaintstik to the fabric. As an alternative, you can paint directly onto the fabric and then use an old toothbrush to rub the paint evenly into the fabric.

Shiva Paintstiks come in both matte and iridescent colors, and they can be blended to create even more colors.

I like to use one of the citrus solvents for cleanup, but they don’t really make much of a mess. Regular soap is all you need to clean your hands. However, do prepare your work area just as you would for fabric painting.

In part two, we’ll get to some creative ways to use Shiva Paintstiks in projects.


N. Rene West
Time Treasured