Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Hand Painted Silk Tie

We thought that some of you may like to paint a silk tie and give it as a special present for Christmas.

My sons and I painted a silk tie for their father many years ago and we got tremendous pleasure from making him wear it!  That was a decade ago and he still has it tucked away at the back of his wardrobe.

Tie painted with silk paints
Silk tie with gutta outliner

This latest attempt at painting a silk tie didn't go a great deal better but I don't want to put you off. Learn from my mistakes, and you will be able to create something truly unique to wear yourself, or to wrap up as a gift for any special occasion.

I started by drawing a brick pattern on the tie above with a clear gutta outliner.  I wanted to create a batik effect so was not too careful with the outlines.  The gutta outliner creates a barrier for the paint and stops the colours from running into each other. 
When the outliner had dried, I decided to use a dropper to fill the rectangles with Deka Silk paint.  This was the first error!  I discovered that the drops of wet paint make the interfacing shrink away from the silk.  The second error was to drop additional colours onto the painted rectangles.  The interfacing blotted up the new colour before it was able to spread and merge with the original colour.  This technique would have been very effective had I been painting a scarf.

The muddy mess of colour is apparent in the photo above but much muted as I decided to try and save the tie by painting the whole of it with a dark blue silk paint.  I quite like the overall effect but when it came to set the colours with an iron, the damaged interfacing would not iron flat.

A hand painted silk tie
Silk tie - second attempt

I decided to paint a second tie to rectify my mistakes with the first tie.  I used a dark blue gutta outliner to draw out my design and when it was dry, painted the back of the tie first.  I used a Toray brush (size 16), which I was careful not to overload with paint, and worked quickly making sure that the paint did not pool in any particular area.  You have to be very careful not to let the paint bleed from the back of the tie through to the front of the tie.  When the paint was dry, I turned the tie over and painted the front.

I chose a yellow and blue silk paint for the rectangles, taking care again not to flood the fabric.

The finished tie may not be to everyone's taste but does demonstrate how a silk tie can be painted.  The choice of iron fix silk paints and gutta outliners from the George Weil website include Javana, Deka Silk, Pebeo Setasilk, and Jacquard Dye-na-flow, and each brand offers a good choice of colours. 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Hand-dyed Bluefaced Leicester Roving Yarn

The new range of British Wool yarns are proving very popular with our customers - and our staff.  Jo, the Sales Manager at George Weil, couldn't resist taking home two hanks of the Bluefaced Leicester Roving Yarn to dye and then knit up.

Hand-dyed Bluefaced Leicester Roving Yarn
Jo used 'Cyan' H Dupont Classique Dye
Jo, like many of us, "can't do with all that faffing about" and decided to experiment with the pre-mixed liquid H Dupont Classique silk dyes.  The dyes have been formulated for use on protein fibres such as silk and wool and are set with steam when used for silk painting.
Here is Jo's recipe for (almost) instant results:
  1. Wet the yarn thoroughly and gently squeeze out excess water.
  2. Put on rubber gloves (essential!).
  3. Place in a microwaveable dish and sprinkle over with dye. 
  4. Gently squeeze the hanks to ensure the dyes has absorbed into the fibres.
  5. Cover the dish with cling film.
  6. Microwave on full power for 10 minutes. The cling film will inflate, trapping the steam which sets the dye.
  7. Remove from the microwave and allow to cool. 
  8. Not all of the dye will have bonded with the fibre and this excess can be rinsed away in warm water.  Repeat this until the water is clear.
Visit the George Weil website to see the choice of H Dupont Classique dye colours and the range of undyed British Wool yarns.

Bluefaced Leicester Roving Yarn
Undyed Bluefaced Leicester Roving Yarn - ideal for dyeing, knitting and then felting

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Gedeo Siligum for Making Silicone Moulds

Gedeo Siligum Mould Paste is a fast setting 2 part silicone moulding paste for moulding small objects with resin, polymer clay or Art Clay Silver clay. The silicone mould is smooth and flexible and can be used for over 50 casts. It is fast setting (5-10 minutes) and will replicate the smallest detail.

The silicone moulding putty is made by combining equal quantities of the white and blue putty and combining them together.

Equal amount of blue and white putty

Push objects into the soft silicone.

The moulding compound begins to set quite quickly so have your object ready.  Push it into the soft putty ensuring it is properly covered.  The putty can be used to make a mould of an entire object, remember that the object will have to be removed before the mould is filled with the modelling material (resin etc) so either leave a small gap or cut the set mould open with a sharp craft knife.

Siligum sets remarkably fast and the mould should be ready to use within 10 minutes.  Give a little longer if a larger amount of the putty is used.

I see seashells...
Gedeo recommend using Gedeo Demoulding Vaseline when using resin to cast an object.  I used polymer clay which came away from the mould easily.  As the mould is flexible, it can be bent and pulled away from the modelled object without distorting it.  Moulds can be rinsed off and used up to 50 times before breaking down.

The Siligum Moulding Putty can also be useful for replacing broken or missing objects from around the home.  I used some of the putty to mould the shape of a Scrabble piece with the intention of replacing some of those missing letters.  POYMER CAY will do just the job!

See our selection of moulds and moulding compounds on the George Weil website >

Friday, 12 October 2012

The Ashford Fringe Twister

The Ashford Fringe Twister has been designed to make light work of making twisted fringe for handwoven garments, knitted scarves or for needle work projects - the finishing touch to your handmade items.

Fringe made using the Ashford Fringe Twister
The Ashford Fringe Twister
You can also use the finge twister to create corded cotton, or to twist sliver prior to felting it.

There are four alligator clips mounted on a wooden block which is attached to a turning mechanism so that all four clips rotate in unison.  The ends of the yarn (usually 4-6 wool strands or 6-8 cotton warp ends work well) are held in place by the clips and as they turn.  When twisted, simply remove the clips, ply two twists together and tie a knot in the end to create the fringe.

Crocodile clips twist the yarn to make a fringe.
The Fringe Twister includes a clamp so that it can be attached to a table for ease of operation, plus full instructions.  Please visit the George Weil website if you would like to order the Ashford Fringe Twister.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Art Clay Silver Clay - Tried & Tested

The new Gedeo silicone moulds from Pebeo have been added to our range of craft products to compliment the exciting new resins introduced in the previous post.

There are two moulds, one offering a selection of cabochon shapes and the other a variety of button shapes. These moulds (see Moulds & Mould Making on our website) are non-stick and can be used with various modelling materials.

I was given a mould and a 7g packet of Art Clay Silver clay to test the button mould, and to use the precious silver clay for the very first time.  Here is an opportunity to learn from my mistakes:

Art Clay Silver clay in Gedeo buttons silicone mould
Art Clay Silver drying in the mould
The mould is very soft and flexible.  I chose the above button shape, and working quickly I pushed the freshly opened clay into the recess, making sure all the space was filled.  The 7g of silver clay was exactly the right amount.  The surface you can see is the underside of the button, this can be smoothed over with a wet finger tip.

Dried Art Clay Silver clay
The Art Clay Silver is brittle before firing

The clay was left to dry thoroughly (24 hours in a dry place for this small piece) before I removed it from the flexible silicone.  As the clay is brittle at this stage, I carefully used a fine file and an emery board to remove the excess clay. 

Firing Art Clay Silver clay with a blow torch
The orange glow!
I have to admit that I was nervous about the next stage and recruited the services of my husband as an extra pair of hands.  I used an old metal oven dish lined with a heat-resistant mat and gingerly lit the blowtorch.  The flame was held at roughly a 45° angle and about 20cm away, I understand now that I could have gone as close as 7cm.  The silver smoked a little as the binder burned off and eventually the alchemy took place - the button began to glow orange! 

After firing the item for a further minute, the blow torch was turned off and the button which had been a pale grey colour now had a bright white matt coating.

Fired Art Clay Silver clay
The white coating is brushed off
When the silver had cooled, I used a wire brush to remove the white coating.  It came off very easily but the bristles may have slightly damaged the surface of the fired silver, I recommend using one of the smaller, finer brushes available from our website for a better finish and detailed work.

Silver button in Gedeo Buttons silicone mould
The fired silver has shrunk by approx. 8-9%
The next stage is to use a series of fine sand papers (from coarser to smoother) to make the surface smooth.  I again was not armed with the best tools for the job, and used the fine side of an emery board.  The foam sanding pads from the George Weil include 3 grits; superfine 320-600, ultrafine 800-1000 and micro-fine 1200-1500.  It is essential to get a good finish on the surface of the silver before the final stage of burnishing.

Burnishing compacts and smooths the surface of the silver and gives a mirror like polish once all the scratches and burr have been removed.  If you burnish over ‘flaws’ these will become permanent.  You need a hard smooth tool such as the agate tipped burnisher or the stainless steel burnisher (see our Silver Clay tools kit on the website).  I started with the outer edge of the holes and worked my way across the surface.  It took little effort and the mirror like surface (apart from the scratches I had made using the wrong tools!) satisfyingly emerged.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed making the silver button and was surprised at how exciting I found the process.  This is on my list to do again!

Allison Holland