Hand dyed fabric for fabric covered boxes - Colorway Arts

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Hand dyed fabric for fabric covered boxes

I have been making cartonnage boxes and cases for a few years and I am so happy with the projects I have made. I started with simple ones, just a few pieces of cardboard, paper and fabric and I made beautiful journal covers, hinged lid boxes and more. Then I started getting more and more excited about this technique and all the possibilities of shapes and sizes of boxes I could make. Since then I have made several different boxes, suitcases, cases… wonderful unique pieces that I am so proud of have made them! Plus have been teaching this technique for hundreds of students in person and online classes have been making my life so full of purpose and happiness!

You may know, maybe not, but when living in Brazil before moving to the US in 2012, I was a food engineer, yeah! I worked with food companies, restaurants for about 12 years, but at the time we moved here, I wasn’t happy with my profession and I decided that moving to here, I was not just changing the place I was living, but I would be also changing my work and my life, and I did! I am so happy I did it! I always loved arts and crafts and so when I discovered cartonnage I fell in love with this amazing craft and couldn’t stop anymore. I found my new work: a crafter, a teacher, a cartonnage designer!

Well, my husband laugh and says that at least my engineer course is helping me now to build the boxes and he is not totally wrong, maybebe all the knowledge I have learned in college and in my previous work help me when designing new pieces.

Until last year I was always using commercial fabrics in all my boxes and cases. So many wonderful patterns we have in great quilt stores. But then, the artist inside me starting thinking and missing some arts I used to make in my earlier years. I have painted towels, glass, plaster and used to have so much fun around the paints. So, one idea started to come in my mind frequently: Why not try to paint my own fabric for my cartonnage projects? Start with white fabric and make everything?

Then, I decided to start learning how could I do that! At this point, I have watched many videos in the internet, so many wonderful ideas there, but not sure what to do. In the same time I met a great talented fiber artist in Indiana, Lynn Hodge, and her love for paints and fabrics make me be totally sure I would find my way to paint my fabric! So, I made some tests, trying to find my style in painting and also the best way to apply them to my projects, because, more than paint I also want to do more. I also like to sew (not very talented in this though, but with practice I will be better), and adding some stitches, free-motion quilts could improve even more my projects and give me even more pleasure making it!

Let me make this clear, I am not trying to totally change my work, I will continue making new cartonnage projects and using some gorgeous commercial fabric, but this new idea is to fill my inner artist spirit with more joy and why not maybe to inspire others?

This January was very special for me, with this cold weather up here in Michigan, some snow outside, I took the time for myself, to try, to learn, to try again, to have fun and I am so happy with my results so far, that I want to share some of them with you! I hope you like my journey that is just starting.

Today I am gonna tell you about one course I took this weekend and what I made from there! I have other pieces I made using another techniques to paint, but I will share in the next post, as I want to make some more to combine more ideas into that technique.

So, let’s talk about turning white fabric into amazing designs using hand dyeing! I took this class at Smith-Owen Sewing and Quilting store with this great teacher Sue Cortese, from SELC fabrics. I have tried dyeing other times, but taking a class changed everything. So, now I am aware of what and why to do! And here is the point that chemistry arrive again in my life. During the class I was feeling like when I was in my chemistry labs during my college and master, so fun! Dyeing is totally chemistry! The reaction between the fabric, the dyes and activator will create beautiful designs! Take a look at some pictures during the class:



Sue taught us how to have different gradient of the same colors, how to mix colors, and other fun ways to dye the fabrics. Here is the final result of the fabrics after washing and drying….. I am amazed with them!!

Now, the ice dyeing...they are my favorite, for sure! It's amazing how unpredictable they are! We will always have a surprise when ready!

Of course, I couldn’t wait long to make some projects with those great fabrics! So, here are some pictures of me making the boxes and cases and the pieces ready! Oh boy, I can’t believe in my eyes! So many new ideas and possibilities in my mind now!How fun! How unique!!!

We have a good amount of snow outside now and then guess what? Already made new fabrics using the snow dyeing technique!

And the final pieces……totally NOT FOUND IN STORES!!! Unique!! Looking forward to make some new projects!!

I hope you enjoyed this project!

Do you want to learn more about Cartonnage to start making boxes and cases? Check my website.

Claudia Squio

1 Response


October 29, 2021

WOW! Impressive. I would love to try this. I have never even tie-died anything. So unique and beautiful!

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