Ever wondered how those clever designers of embroideries and stitcheries, doll makers and quilters get that beautiful soft shaded colour finish on their work?

There are a number of different techniques and media used for colouring fabric surfaces but my favourite would have to be using the Prismacolor pencils! They come in 132 different and wonderful colours – even just seeing the three layer tin of them is an experience!

I am basically a messy worker so using paints, water, dyes and other fluid based methods of applying colour is leaving me exposed to making dreadful messes and mistakes. Using a coloured pencil is a bit like going back to kindergarten and colouring books….I can stay inside the lines when colouring!

The pencils themselves have a waxy feel to them and are quite soft – a feature that allows for controlled shading to build intensity and depth of colour in your work. For areas where you want to obtain just the merest blush over the fabric, color heavily on a piece of scrap fabric and then use the scrap to rub the colour into the required area. To blend colours, you can layer one over the other and then rub with a soft piece of cloth, cotton bud or even your fingertip to blend and soften the colour.

Prismacolor pencils are made with lightfast dyes however heat setting is recommended on fabric surfaces….I press using a hot dry iron from the back of the work with a layer of absorbent paper placed between the work and the ironing board.

I obtain my supplies of Prismacolour pencils from Karlene Atkins & Chad Whittaker of Katkins Designs – You can buy just one or two to try out, a starter set of 20 or splash out for the suite of 120 with blender sticks!

The Stitchery design and hand made buttons featured in the picture are available from Sonya at Giggle Buttons.

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