I've been painting fabric to use in my art quilts for about 15 years, but now that I'm incorporating silk ribbon embroidery into my work I decided it's high time to paint my own ribbon. It's SO much cheaper, but mainly I'm interested in using my own palette.
I started by ordering a variety of widths of silk ribbon from Dharma Trading. I cut some lengths of about 18" to 36", then wet the ribbons so the fibers would open up and receive more color. At first I planned to stretch the ribbons on a frame so I could paint them individually, then I decided that was too much work. ... This is supposed to be FUN.
So I plopped them into my ancient disposable pie tins (which I've been reusing for years for paint) and just worked the color into them with cheapie foam brushes.
The photo below shows the results of using undiluted Colorhue, which is a fiber reactive instant set silk dye. (I bought a set of these at least six years ago at a quilt festival and promptly forgot about them until now.) I poured a tiny amount of color into a container, dipped my brush in it, and sponged it onto the pile of ribbons (Hmmm, this might be even quicker if I just use a big sponge. Have to try that next.) I did this on the back deck, and it was dry in less than an hour, ready to be ironed and put into some art.
I used undiluted Colorhue dyes and LOVE the saturation.
I also used my old standby: Setacolor transparent fabric paints. (Available at Dharma, Michael's and lots of other places.) These take longer to dry, so the paint pigments have time to migrate to the creases and soft folds where the ribbons are crumpled in the pie tin. This creates some really interesting patterns, which you can sort of see below. I'll take better photos of this technique later.
My first batch of ribbons painted with Setacolor transparent fabric paint.
I think I'll overpaint some of these to give them more depth ... maybe work buttercup yellow-orange into the pink ribbon, for example. And I'll dilute the Colorhue for some lighter colors. Lots of things to explore, so I'll keep you posted.
I'd love comments and suggestions!