‘Playing with Surface Design’ review and giveaway!

Quary Books, Courtney Cerruti, Playing with Surface Design: Modern Techniques for Painting, Stamping, Printing and More,

If you’ve ever thought about creating your own fabrics, then “Playing with Surface Design: Modern Techniques for Painting, Stamping, Printing and More” by Courtney Cerruti is a book you should add to your library.

I’ve reviewed probably half-a-dozen books on printmaking and art quilting techniques, and “Playing with Surface Design” is exceptional in its clear, step-by-step instructions accompanied by beautiful photography so you can learn visually as well as through the written word.

Cerruti takes the first chapter to discuss and demonstrate several different print-making techniques and materials. You’ll learn the basics of monoprinting, dying, bleaching, stamping, painting, marbleing and more. She also gives you instructions on how to do each of these techniques at home. We’re not taking about shapes cut into potatoes to make stamps. We’re talking tips for making your own gelli plate for monoprinting, using an old credit card as a paint brush and foliage as a resist. It’s more high art than kids crafts.

The second chapter is filled with 22 sample projects to get you comfortable with making your own surface designs. Not all of the projects are for fiber, but the techniques could easily be adapted to art quilting by tweaking the materials to paints and dyes designed especially for fabric.

For example, I’d like to try the marbled bangles technique, which involves dipping bracelets into a bowl filled with water and a few drops of your favorite nail polish, with some prepared for dying fabric and fabric paint and see what happens.

I’ve got one copy of “Playing with Surface Design: Modern Techniques for Painting, Stamping, Printing and More” by Courtney Cerruti to give away. To enter, comment below to tell me if you’ve ever tried to create your own fabric prints and how it went, or if you’d like to some day. This giveaway is limited to United States residents only. All entries must be in by midnight CST on Friday, May 22, 2015. Good luck!

This post contains affiliate links. Quary Books provided a copy of “Playing with Surface Design: Modern Techniques for Painting, Stamping, Printing and More” by Courtney Cerruti for review.

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Comment (90)

  1. I did an intricate batik project in a design class I took in college. I’d love to do more fabric design! Thanks and God bless!

  2. We tried tie-dye when kiddo’s were younger…and later, tried doing Sunprints. Both were fun!! Plan to do this sort of things during Summer tho too, with the Grangirlie! 🙂

  3. My last fabric projects were paint on t-shirts and they didn’t come out half bad. But, I did try to do some tie dye type shirts using bleach and it was a big fail. Thanks for a great giveaway, would love to read this book.

  4. I have wanted to do this for ages! I have various printing tools but haven’t taken the plunge yet!

  5. I’ve only dreamed of designing some fabric of my own, but have toyed with the idea of dying some to make a WholeCloth quilt. I’m excited there’s a source to get to know how to go about such a process!

  6. I am always trying something new in my quilting
    I make memorial quilts for basset hound folks and others
    I sometimes need to manipulate the fabric for texture
    I have laid fabric out in the sun and laid damp leaves on to
    try and create design, sometimes it works, some times not
    I would LOVE <3 <3 <3 this book to expand my horizons

    1. Dear Martha,

      I read in your reply that you have made memorial quilts for bassett hound lovers…..I would absolutely LOVE to see photos of some of those quilts you have created, seeing that I myself am a HUGE bassett lover, having had a bassett (named Lucy), and collecting every bassett memento possible LOL. They are the sweetest, most loyal, lovable dogs. Not to mention CUTE!!! You must be one amazing quilter to come up with any sort of bassett hound quilt!! Good luck with your future quilt projects. I hope you win the book too! ~Colleen Ely

      My email address if you are willing to share is: kevcoll@yahoo.com

  7. I did some tie-dye back in college in the late 60’s when that was popular but haven’t tried any fabric painting. I have been following a blog where the artist digitizes her own embroidery and embroiders the designs on her own painted fabric and the results are Awesome. I would love to learn some techniques for surface design on fabric. Thanks for the chance to win this book.

  8. A girlfriend and I tied some fabrics years ago, and we loved the way they turned out, but I have not tried it since, but would love to receive this book so that I could try those techniques.

  9. I have ventured into this field with my quilts tentatively! Would love to know more. I definitely want my quilts to be one of a kind, outstanding!

  10. My sister and I had a fun day of painting fabrics in all colors and designs. It was like being a kid again. We have also used crayons and markers on fabric, they are so much fun. Coloring books here we come.

  11. I haven’t tried to make a print, but have tried to dye fabric. One piece came out muddy, and another was too pale.

  12. I have always dabbled with textures, and alternatives ways of creating fabric to be a piece of art. Grateful for the chance to own this book.

  13. Thanks for your blog and Block of the Month series. I love following along each month with the sewing. I have not as yet tried any of these processes. I have, however, watched a great many videos and television shows on various processes. I am happy that you have done the reviews of numerous books and highly recommend Courtney’s book. I will now have a hands on resource/reference to use in order to move forward with my desire to actually try some of these processes. Thanks. Take care.

  14. I’m starting making art quilts – and I would love to learn some more techniqes to use on the art quilt <3

  15. I tried bleaching fabric using rubber stamps. It worked OK, but I never did anything with it. I know I’ve used fabric paint. I have a lot of it, but can’t remember what I did with it. It was a long time ago. I would love to win the book. Thanks for the chance.

  16. I’ve tried several mediums. My combo of applying fabric paints to a blank cotton fabric with both brushes and stamps turned out to be the most fun and interesting. I wish I had taken a picture of it to post here to show you. With my being currently unemployed over 6 months, I finally have had time to hone more creative quilting skills. I would be most grateful to receive this book, to learn any new surface effects and designs to apply to my blank cottons and muslin fabrics.
    Very Kindly Yours,
    Mary Pat

  17. I have not tried my own fabric prints, but would be totally interested in learning how so I could create some of my own! This book likes the ticket to knowledge!

  18. I have tried tie-dye and block printing on fabric, but nothing else. I have done several other things with paper.

  19. I have tried a couple of techniques but not very successfully – they look a mess! Sounds like just the book I need.

  20. Would LOVE to have this book. I recently started to dye and paint fabric. I am still new to the art and scour the enternet for info and videos. I am having fun with it and look forward to expanding my skills and then using the fabric. The fabric would be perfect the ultimate custom quilt. Thank you for the opportunity to win this book and good luck to all of those who have entered!

  21. My family made me give away a book from a dye company as I had a dye mishap in my yard. I tried to make my own batik fabric with a leaf design. Instead, I dyed the table, lawn and the dog! It was not a pretty sight as I had to walk the dog at night for awhile with a upset family at home. Hoping for sympathy, I told my co-workers who could not stop laughing. I was given a tie-dyed lab coat to wear at work. Perhaps this book could help me try to do surface designs on items other then my white dog and fabric (which washed out).

  22. I have dyed wool in hot water bath, tie dyed cotton and and also cotton with the ice method. I thoroughly enjoyed making cabbage rose print fabric with acrylic paint and celery bottoms, and then using pen and ink to finish the design. I have painted with acrylics on fabric for years as part of my tole painting hobby. I would love to have the book!

  23. I did a long time ago when stamping fabric was the rage. It worked quite well. Now the dye’s are much improved as are the techniques so it would be great to try it again! It was fun and I enjoyed it back then, and since I have taken up quilting it would be a project worth knowing and using as I am starting to try landscape painting on fabric for a quilt and this just might work in for a border – hmm, so many opportunities to explore!

  24. I have created painted fabric. I used a “zendoodle” technique with a “stained” pen from Sharpie. I doodled on a strip of white fabric and then cut the strips into squares to use in a quilted table topper. It turned out great and I would definitely do it again.

  25. I am retiring at the end of 2015 and am looking forward to having the time to create new projects buy creating everything from scratch. I have wanted to do this for a very long time, but time didn’t allow it. I appreciate your consideration and appreciate the opportunity to participate. Thank you.

  26. I’ve wanted to try my hand at fabric design. But am a little nervous about getting my feet wet. I’ve done some stamping, stenciling & dying, but only on ready mades. I would love to get a little more instruction so I can give it a go.

  27. As a kid I’ve done the usual tie-dye, & also learned to dye with natural dyes & a simple batik method. In my 1980s teendom I played with puffy paint while my Mom got much more creative with regular fabric paint and has also played with the fabric crayons, some projects were better than others. Six years ago we were preparing for my wedding & having a dickins of a time finding the perfect material for my dress when I saw the perfect mix of colors in fabric paint. We already had a huge roll of white bridal satin that Mom had found at a garage sale (my 21 yo son was walking me down the aisle, I didn’t feel white was appropriate). So we did some test samples of different techniques and combinations. Sadly with the colors I had chosen it all pretty much came out looking like it…well, looking like it came out of a baby from one end or another. We did end up finding the perfect material in enough time for my Mom to make my beautiful gown about a week after that.

    1. P.s. I am entering this for my Mom. She taught both my son & I how to sew & quilt. She’s so very creative, doing everything from very traditional styles to art quilts & still all hand quilted at about 17 stitches/inch. She is “retired” now, but you can’t tell because she quilts just as much as ever! This would be such a boon for her passion & not only be appreciated but put to immediate use!

  28. I’ve transferred photos to fabric but would love to explore other techniques, especially batik and fabric paint.

  29. I have played with fabric dye of several different types. Some have turned out really great and some not so great! This sounds like an awesome book to help me nail down the specifics on tried techniques and learn some cool new techniques as well!

  30. I made Tie-dyed fabrics and batik fabrics in the early 1970’s. I also melted crayons onto fabric, but didn’t like the results. I have even tea dyed fabric to make it look old. I use pigma and fabric pens to make quilt labels.

  31. As a teacher I tried fist prints with my students, messy but fun. Tried a bit of my own batik,the fabric came out soooo stiff. A guide would be a great idea. Lol

  32. As a teacher I tried fish prints with my students, messy but fun. Tried a bit of my own batik,the fabric came out soooo stiff. A guide would be a great idea. Lol

  33. I have never tired to create my own fabric, but my daughter who is a graphic artist has always wanted to. She has painted on fabric before that looked really professional. This book would be an inspiration to her.

  34. I have started a tradition of “tie dye weekend” during the summer. I dye 100% cotton sheets, pants, blouses, and tees with fiber reactive dyes. I tell my friends and family to stop over and dye something while the dye vats are out. It is fun but a lot of work. I do much of the prep ahead of time. I have tried shibori and gotten some very interesting results. Some of my fabrics are very light and I want to stamp of stencil on them.

  35. Oh how I loved creating fabric out of fabric! I grew up in a “real” drapery manufacturing business. I used left over mill ends to create gowns for all my big dances! I had so many that my senior year all of the homecoming court were wearing something I created! I used brocades, shears, tapestry and so many fabrics together to get just the right look! Oh how I loved it. At 16 I made evening gowns for the military wives for their big events! I even got kicked out of home ec in 7th gr and so I had to work in the office. The principal had me design something sewn so I could receive credit for the class. I created out of a drapery tapestry fabric a fully lined, bound button holes, suit that was stunning! I was 14 yrs old. Today I create fabric from what ever and make gowns for my granddaughters. I would love this book. When my hubby was unemployed my children helped make fancy teddy bears that they helped paint, stitch just to help earn the rent!

  36. I’ve tie dyed t-shirts. I’ve also dyed wool yarn with natural dyes found around the house. This book sounds fabulous. I would love to learn how to create surface designs.
    Many thanks for the possibility.

  37. I have never tried it before but have really wanted to. I just haven’t taken the time to research the process and was afraid it might be more difficult than I needed at this time. I always want to try new things though.

  38. I took a class with my guild and dyed my own fabrics. I loved it and the fabrics I created! It was a blast and I would love to do it more often!!!

  39. I’ve never tried it but have given it a lot of thought. I’m retiring in July and really want to try new things. Thank you for the giveaway.

  40. I have died my own fabric and have tried some sun dying with limited success. Have had more success with doing “rubbings” for special fabrics for wall hangings but nothing for bed quilts. Would LOVE to do something that will not totally disappear the first time you gently wash the quilt and this book sounds like it holds a lot of answers. I would LOVE to win it and thank you for the opportunity. Terri at the Drake’s Nest in Palm Bay, FL

  41. I have tried it but just on a very beginner level and it kind of looked kindergartenish to me.
    Thank you.

  42. I have not dyed my own fabric. So I would love to get this book to try the techniques mentioned. I am self taught closet artist. Been quilting and sewing for over 35 years. I also enjoy jewelry design I would like to incorporate my own designed fabrics in my quilts. I like learning new techniques and seeing interesting designs.

  43. I am just getting back into sewing & am learning to quilt, now that my kids are grown & I have the time again. I’ve always been interested in trying new things and being creative. I think this would be very interesting. I am in the process of redecorating my bedroom & making a fabric design to go with the themes I have would be exciting.

  44. I’ve tried assorted methods but would like to become proficient in prints on fabric. I enjoy the personal, unique product!

  45. Ive dyed and painted fabric. Ive used a geli plate and rubber stamps on fabric. Ive rust dyed. Id like to experiment more.

  46. I have always wanted to try to make my own design on fabric, but as the old saying goes, You have to step out of your comfort zone. I haven’t found the right information to get me to do that yet.

  47. I started sewing at 9, making my own clothes throughout high school and college. Switched to quilting and fell in love with the Contemporary Styles. I would love to try designing my own fabric, instead of piecing everything to make it look like a design. This book would help me begin a new chapter for me: sewing/quilting/ (designing). Awesome idea. Thank you for having the contest.

  48. I have tried painting on fabric in the past with some limited success. I enjoyed it and would like to do more designing. Thanks for the inspiration!

  49. I have thought about trying to make my own designs. This would be a fun book to work through. Thanks for the chance to win!!

  50. I have tried making paper fabric and I’ve stamped and stenciled on commercial fabric to change the texture and look of the prints. It’s fun but I know I’m only scratching the surface!

  51. I have used a cell pad with several different types of stencils and blocks as well as with a prayer. Loved the effects.

  52. I’ve been reading about making fabric prints and collecting pictures for ideas. Can’t wait to give it a try as soon as I get the proper tools.

  53. I just learned how to create my own fabric design using ink and shaving cream and found out I liked it.. It would be awesome to try other methods in creating other original prints.

  54. I have done the dying. I don’t think I know anyone my age who hasn’t…lol. I have looked at things for doing this but I haven’t been brave enough to try it 🙂 I would love to though

  55. Would love to try this. So often I can’t find the “right” fabric to fit into a quilt, and have always thought it would be so great if I could just create it myself.

  56. I would love to learn how to do fabric and paper. I sew, quilt and scrapbook. Sometimes I have an idea for a project and go shopping to just come home empty handed. When I learn to do this I can make what I want in the colors I want.

  57. I would love to try this technique one day. One of the ladies in our quilt guild has done this on many of her winning quilts! Thanks for the chance to win!

  58. I have not tried to do any designing on fabric. I have seen some beautiful designs others have done, but afraid to do it myself

  59. I arm a relatively new quilter after having been mostly a rubber stamp artist using inks, paints, chalks, metallic powders, you name it. I’ve attempted some of this media on various fabrics for projects, but now that I am really into quilting, I’d love to learn how to incorporate printing on actual fabrics for quilting, to produce my own unique designs!! Good luck to all entrants to want this cool looking book 🙂

  60. Never even considered making my own design in fabric. Just got started quilting about 3 months ago.

  61. I have used acrylic paint mixed with a fabric medium and sponges to decorate a stubborn male child’s curtains, tie dye, ink and anything else I can think of. It was ok but still looked homemade. I want to expand into the beautiful world!

  62. I have not tried the “Playing with Surface Design: Modern Techniques for Painting, Stamping, Printing and More” by Courtney Cerruti. I really would like to add the book to my sewing treasures. I am a meticulous sewing person and sounds like something I would really like and have fun with. The ideas regarding Surface Design are endless and exciting. I can hardly wait to get my hands on it.

  63. I’ve painted on fabric, dyed fabric, and floral pressed fabric…. But some of these other ideas sound great! Thanks!

  64. I’ve seriously considered creating my own fabric prints, especially when I have a pattern in mind and can’t find a fabric pattern that I really like. Maybe it’s my OCD, but I’ve got to have things just right or I’m not happy with the finished project and end up giving it away.

  65. I am sad to say that I have not tried doing this..but I have often admired it done by other folks. Maybe it is time I took this challenge and found out what fun it could be.

  66. When I was younger and first starting out, I worked with friends tie dying small pieces of fabric, like fat quarters. We never did Yards of fabric, since we weren’t sure what we were doing. I experimented using fabric crayons to transfer pictures using the iron. I tried stenciling pictures on white cotton (I made 3 of my nieces small quilts using Cabbage Patch stencils). They loved them. I tried painting, stamping, dying a patterned fabric to subtly change it’s look, dying and then drying fabric in sun (sometimes using leaves to cover areas and leave an imprint of the leaf). I tried sponging randomly using multiple colors of paints. This worked out better . I’ve dyed fabric using Kool-Aid, instead of dye. Color fades or washes out faster. I just used this method making doll clothes for my nieces. But since I have gotten older and more heavily into quilting, I like to do paper piecing and bargello designs. It is more time consuming but looks cool. It was a little hard at first doing bargello making the seams match and not having to stretch fabric or ruffle fabric too match the next seam. There was a bit of ripping out seams or cutting new strips and starting over, at first. It’s been interesting and somewhat successful for small projects. I would like to read and learn more/new techniques now that I am retired and have more time.

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