Craft Cabinet with Block Printed Burlap Doors

In our dining room, we have a cabinet that we use to store craft supplies for the kids. We put it together when we redid the room so that it could also be an office for me. It might make us sound a little bit like hoarders to say that the only thing we had to buy for this project was the green paint, which is Sherwin Williams’ “Alexandrite”.

Craft Cabinet with Block Printed Burlap Doors

The desk is a hand-me-down that we’ve owned since we first moved in together. We moved it in from another room and put a cabinet on top of it that used to hold jars of paint in my studio.

The burlap on the doors was left over from another project. I cut it to the size of the opening and tacked it to the inside with a staple gun. I love the way white ink looks on the burlap! Organic and earthy, but with lovely texture & detail.

Craft Cabinet with Block Printed Burlap Cabinet Doors

The cabinet knobs came from Tulip in Rehoboth Beach- I already owned them because I collect cabinet knobs like some women collect shoes or bags. I love them because they’re affordable little pieces that can turn something ordinary into something really special. Very pretty ones can be had online, like these from Anthropologie (which I already own), or these from World Market (which I may own in the very near future).

This is just one example of how hand printed fabrics can add beautiful detail to your spaces. In general, I think handcrafted objects resonate with our souls and help to connect us to our surroundings. The fabric on this cabinet is my work of course, but I also have two treasured prints (next to the cabinet) created by my aunt, a print of an oil pastel by local artist Nick Serratore, family photos shot by a photographer friend, and a print from Baltimore Print Studios. There are two of my hanging light fixtures in this room also. When I’m working, I often stop to look at one of these objects and smile!

Color Cookbook- Pantone’s Radiant Orchid

Pantone Radiant OrchidIf you’re into color, you might have noticed that Pantone named “Radiant Orchid” their color of the year. I know my Pinterest feed was filled with pictures of the Radiant Orchid, suggestions on ways to use Radiant Orchid in your home, ways to wear Radiant Orchid, how include Radiant Orchid into your diet, etc. (…I may have made that last one up.) While I would say “It’s a nice color” and leave it at that, Pantone is much more articulate:

Radiant Orchid blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is an expressive, creative and embracing purple—one that draws you in with its beguiling charm. A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health.

Since I am a great fan of joy, love and health, I thought it might be nice to mix up some ink for printing in Radiant Orchid. I also figured that you might be a great fan too, and interested in printing with some of this lovely color in your own projects. So, here’s how I went about developing a recipe for Pantone’s 2014 Color of the Year (if you just want the recipe without all the fuss about the process, skip to the end):

I used Jacquard Professional Screen Inks in White, Blue and Red. I like this brand of ink because it’s nice and thick, it has a long shelf life and the pigments are consistent (which turns out to be really important when you want to make the same color over and over). It’s downsides are that it can be too thick (but can be watered down) and it leaves a noticable, kind of sticky feel on the fabric- not a big deal on a handbag or lamp shade, but problematic on a pillow cover or skirt.

white, red and blue ink I started out with a base of white ink, because it appeared to me to have a lot of white. I added 1 teaspoon of blue and 1 teaspoon of red.

Step one of mixing the inkThe mixture looks very patriotic before mixing, and much less like Radiant Orchid than I had hoped after mixing. I add 2 more teaspoons of blue ink. (FYI- 1 teaspoon + 2 teaspoons = 3 teaspoons, which equals 1 tablespoon of blue ink.)

step two of mixing the inkBetter, but not there yet. In goes one more tablespoon of blue ink.

step three of mixing Jacquard Professional Ink to make Pantone's Radiant Orchid

I keep track of the ink recipe as I go along, making a quick smudge on the fabric and writing down what I’ve added in each step.

Keeping track of the ink recipeI do this for two reasons. First, it makes it easier to keep track of what I’ve put in so that I can calculate a final recipe at the end. Second, ink changes color as it dries, and in different kinds of light. The light in my basement studio can be kind of… basement-y. Once the ink is dry and is viewed in daylight, I often find that the color I was trying to mix was in one of the steps along the way rather than the final result.

I add 1 more teaspoon of blue ink and 1/4 teaspoon of red ink, and mix the ink thoroughly again. This one, I think, looks pretty good! I print a sample leaf print on the bottom of my scrap fabric as a final test.

final Radiant Orchid mix

Now, if it’s difficult to make a color match in different lights, with ink that changes color when it dries, it becomes even moreso when you’re trying to match that color from the screen on your iPhone. (Let’s pretend that there’s also no difference in the color representation between different monitors and all that, ok?) Until I acquire my own Pantone deck, this method will get me in the ballpark. Just for fun, I compared my own Radiant Orchid to the original Pantone picture: Pantone Home Sweet Radiant Orchid comparisonAnd finally, here’s my recipe for mixing Radiant Orchid (~ish) using Jacquard Professional Screen Inks:

  • 1/4 cup White Ink
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of Blue Ink
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of Red Ink

Mix very thoroughly. This should make about 1/3 cup of ink- enough to print about a 1/2 yard of fabric.

Happy printing!



Everyone starts somewhere

I came across this photo this morning- these are seriously some of the first prints I ever made! It was taken in September, 2008.

I was experimenting with different inks and printing methods to see what combination made the best print. It’s so funny to see this, knowing what my prints look like, and how easily it comes to me now…