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Soak Up the Sun Fabric

By: Lynda Heines

As the weather heats up, it's time to think about fabric craft ideas to take advantage of the sun. This Soak Up the Sun Fabric tutorial from Lynda Heines is a great way to get reacquainted with the sun and with fabric crafts. These instructions are excellent for anybody interested in projects with fabric and anybody looking for a good time. Once you follow this accessible tutorial, you'll have a beautiful printed piece of fabric that you can decide how to use.

Soak Up the Sun Fabric Tutorial


  • Setacolor Transparents
  • jars
  • water
  • sponge brushes
  • fabric (can be almost any piece of clothing or fabric)


  1. Pour some of the Setacolor into each jar, adding as much water as you’d like. The more water, the lighter the color.
  2. Before mixing you paint, soak your fabric in water. It doesn’t have to be cold or hot water – just get the fabric wet.
  3. Cover your work table with plastic, then wring out your fabric and spread the wet cloth on the plastic. It’s a good idea to use a clear or white plastic cover on the table.

    Soak Up the Sun Fabric Tutorial

  4. Then just paint to your heart’s content! These are fern leaves placed on top of the fabric after it was painted and while it was still wet.

    Soak Up the Sun Fabric Tutorial

  5. Paint over the ferns (or whatever you're using) to adhere them to the fabric.
  6. This piece uses needlepoint canvas for masks.

    Soak Up the Sun Fabric Tutorial

  7. Then put them out in the sun and wait for them to dry. Once dry remove the masks. Heat set by ironing the dry fabric and you are done!

             Soak Up the Sun Fabric Tutorial








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It's really an easy process. Go to They have setacolor and a good tutorial. Type setacolor in the search. It's fun, try it!

This type of dye develops its color in the sun. Whatever you put on top of the fabric acts as a "mask" against the development of the color. You paint over the fronds to sort of glue them in place while the fabric dries. The mesh is heavy enough to stay in place by itself. Whatever you use as a mask will create a silhouette on the fabric.

I never heard of a Dicks Blicks store. What type of store is it? Also, I too wish the instructions were a bit more clear. Would love to try this. Thank you.

You can order Setacolor from

What are set a color prints?

I, too, am a bit confused. Whatever "masks" are placed over the fabric, whether fern fronds or mesh or other items, will keep that part of the fabric much lighter? So you paint the fabric with desired color(s), then place items, then paint over the items so they stick, then dry the fabric in the sun, then iron to heat set?

I'm confused also.

I would like to try this technique but am confused between steps 4 and 5. In step 4 it says to lay the ferns over the 'painted' fabric but then step 5 says to paint over the ferns. So which is it?? Paint before or after laying the ferns????? It seems contradicting to me and hopefully this can be clarified better. Please!! And thank you!

Seewbeeit, you can purchase Setacolors at a Dick Blicks store or online.

Where is the paint purchased?


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