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Ticking for Picnicking

Ticking is a type of striped, woven fabric that has been around for decades. We love using it as a canvas to create on.

Often called "mattress ticking" (because it was primarily used to cover mattresses), ticking comes in several 2-color combinations. It feels almost like denim to the touch. The threads that are woven from side to side are called the “weft” and the threads that run the length of the fabric are called the “warp”. The weft threads are always white or natural in ticking with the warp threads alternating colors to create the stripe.

Ticking is often made from 100% cotton fibers but can be also found blended with polyester. You can use ticking for all kinds of projects, from clothing and bags to upholstery and bedspreads. It can also be used in place of canvas as a terrific background for painting or various dyeing techniques [Check out KMM ALL ABOUT DYE for interesting dying methods}. Ticking’s elegant stripes look exciting when they show thru a swirling tie-dye pattern or a hand painted design like our two projects today.

We explored two different painting styles using two different mediums. One method has sharp lines and realistic forms while the other has sketchy lines and abstracted forms. If your art is to be hung on a wall you can use acrylic paint. Use fabric paints if you may need to wash your painting.

Tools Needed:

  1. Ticking
  2. Acrylic or Fabric Paint
  3. Tape or T-Pins
  4. Foam Core (optional)
  5. Pencil
  6. Eraser
Step 1:

Cut the ticking to the size you like. We cut 2 pieces 45” square which matched the width of the fabric measured between the selvages, the finished edges of the fabric.

Step 2:

Pull the fabric flat, which will make painting easier. You can tape it down directly to the floor with painters tape making sure to add a protective layer of paper between the cloth and the floor. You can also use t-pins to secure the corners to a piece of foam core. Secure the sides next while smoothing the fabric as you pin.

Step 3:

Sketch your design in pencil.

Step 4:

Create the style you like. The painting on the left was made by sketching the designs directly onto the fabric with a permanent marker, then painting them in with highly-diluted fabric paint. The painting on the right was first sketched in pencil, then painted with acrylic paint. To paint sharp, crisp lines, use fabric or acrylic paint without diluting, and add water to create transparent washes of color.

Step 5:

Hang your creation on the wall or go have a picnic!

Happy painting and picnicking!