Hello again everyone. How are your Glad Rags Projects progressing?  I hope you are enjoying some gentle stitching or printing in a shady spot while this hot weather continues.

Last week we looked at designing something which needed sewing to some degree – but what if you feel happier not doing any sewing at all?  I thought this week we’d consider some really effective ideas that all the family can try and not a needle or cotton in sight!

If you really can't face sewing.....

Do you remember printing with potato printing blocks? You could use a swede if you want a big print!  

The easiest way to make a clean cut is to choose a simple outline – like these diamonds.  Paint onto your prepared block with a thick layer of acrylic paint (this paint doesn’t wash out once it’s dry).

You could arrange diamonds in a flower shape, or a block pattern. You could draw on top of them when you’ve printed them using a Sharpie or similar colour-fast felt pen, or use a different coloured paint for each diamond you print.  Squares are even easier and you can make some amazing patterns with them. Maybe overlap some too?

Teenagers or adults could also use a cookie cutter to help you make a shape – but don’t choose a really complicated one!  Just press it hard into the potato and then cut away the flesh towards the cutter, before lifting it off. Be sure not to cut your own flesh though!

Other vegetables and fruits make lovely printing blocks just as they are. Slice across the base of celery, or cut an apple or lemon in half, stamp them first onto some kitchen towel to dry the juice a bit and then use them to print with.

Leaves are fascinating for making prints.  Choose leaves with a pretty outline and strong veins like this one I found on Pinterest.  Plenty of choice when you are out for a walk.

Paint on the underside of the leaf with paint that is not too wet, and then press it down onto your fabric.  I suggest practice first on paper.   

Stencils also make effective designs.  Here I have used a simple heart in two different ways, so you can see that just by varying the size of the heart and how you position your stencil/s you can create really interesting variations.  Hearts also make pretty flowers if you position them with the pointed ends all in the middle.  I used acrylic paint and an ordinary 1inch house-painting brush for this heart design.

Last week we shared a picture of some patchwork done by Jane Brider and promised to show you another square she had made with the same shapes but different colours. 

Here it is.  Compare it with her design last week and you will see how very different it is.

Well done Jane and thank you for sharing your pictures.

We look forward to seeing lots more designs so that we can share them on these pages. Send us pictures of your work to [email protected]

Next week I’ll show you some simple weaving designs – and introduce you to the joys of feltmaking!


Meanwhile, stay safe!


Nancy Shafee is a member of the International Feltmakers Association, Fibre Art Network, Heritage Craft Association and current Chair of the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen. 

Nancy lives in West Horsley. She teaches feltmaking and sells her work through The Surrey Guild of Craftsmen Gallery in Milford and Haslemere Museum.