I've been interested in printing fabrics for awhile now, inspired by several books on the subject. But it was one of those projects that sat on my to-do list, maybe because I felt like it required a huge investment of time or perhaps it intimidated me a bit. At any rate, I finally got my feet wet and printed some fabrics for my DIY column in Family Circle.
I started with a more formal approach, using pieces of self-adhesive foam and creating designs on acrylic sheets. But once I got comfortable with that, I started getting freer in my expression and that's when I found out how simple it could really be. Want an intricate design? Composed prints (creating a large stamp) might be better for that. Want a more playful approach? Use what's in your house - corks, pencil erasers, rims of paper cups, bottle caps, rubber bands, pieces of sponge, string tied around wooden blocks...I am certain you can find more tools in your house than I could ever list here.
Napkins are an easy project to start with. Smaller pieces of fabric to work with, less expensive (muslin is perfect for this project and very affordable), and something that can be completed in one sitting. For other project ideas and detailed instruction on various techniques, I also recommend these three books. I found them very helpful and a worthwhile addition to my library:
This is the book that really launched my fascination with hand printing. Modern, fresh, and informative. This is where I learned about making foam stamps, useful for larger designs. It also covers rubber stamping, carved block printing, stenciling, and screen printing. The projects themselves are pretty, useful, and inspiring.
Not a pretty, glossy craft book like some of the others, but full of real information and creative, original ideas. It covers relief and stencil printing, along with sun printing and image transfer. Start small by creating personal stationery or take it to the extreme by stenciling an aspen tree forest mural on a wall.
Lotta Jansdotter has a very distinctive style and if you like her style, I think you'll really like this book. I love the simplicity of it, the organic nature of the designs, and the concise instructions. It covers rubber stamping, iron-on printing, leaf printing, stencil printing, potato printing, lino-block printing and screen printing.