Crayon Quilts


Crayons can be used to draw on plain quilt blocks. These blocks can be used as part of a quilt, either as center squares of pieced blocks or by themselves, by joining them with sashing strips or lattices. Children can become part of the quilt-making experience by drawing blocks to be set on a quilt, with some help and guidance from an adult. But coloring blocks with crayons is not just a child’s project. It can be one of the steps included in embellishing blocks, used as a base and finished by adding touches with embroidery.

Supplies for a Crayon Quilt

Crayons are the basic supplies for this type of quilt. There are two types of crayons available in the market. The crayonregular children’ crayons, such as Crayola or Rose Art are perfectly fine to use on 100% cotton fabric. Once set with heat, they become permanent on fabric. There are also fabric crayon sets available at fabric stores. These come in eight color boxes and are best used on synthetic blend fabrics (poly-cotton blends). Although the design will also transfer to cotton, the dye does not set permanently to this type of fabric. The more synthetic content in the fabric, the brighter the color will transfer. Fabric crayons are to be used on paper, then the drawing is transferred to fabric by pressing the drawing to the fabric with a hot iron. The design will transfer in a mirror fashion, so if letters are part of the drawing, remember to reverse these when tracing so that they will be pressed on the fabric the correct way.

You will need designs to color in. There are plenty of free copyright designs online. Just search for free coloring pages, free line drawings or free redwork patterns. These will lend a vintage look to your quilt. The designs will have to be transferred to fabric with a light-box and a very thin permanent marker (pigma pen type marker with a very fine tip, such as a .05). If a light-box is not available, simply taping the design and the fabric to a windowpane will work. The designs can also be printed straight from the computer printer if the fabric is pressed to a sheet of freezer paper. Iron a piece of pre-washed fabric to a sheet of freezer paper with a dry iron and feed through the printer, so that the design will print on the fabric side.

How to Use Crayons on Quilt Blocks

Pre-wash fabric with no fabric softener and dry it either in the clothes dryer on line dry. Don’t use fabric softener crayonsheets either, as they interfere with the setting of the crayons. With regular crayons, muslin or plain white fabric works best. Muslin can shrink quite a bit, so wash it in hot water. Once washed and dry, press the fabric and cut into squares one inch or so bigger than the desired quilt block size. Transfer the design and iron them to freezer paper to stabilize before starting to color with crayons. If children are involved, you can simply allow them to draw straight onto the fabric, reminding them to leave a frame all around it (thus the extra fabric all around). This extra will become the seam allowance. If need be, mark the edge off with a piece of masking tape. The color can be applied in layers, lightly for areas that need to be soft, then the crayon set with the iron, then extra color can be applied to certain areas as needed, setting with the iron between steps.

To prepare the ironing board, lay newspaper layers and over it, either a brown paper layer or paper towels. Remove crayonthe freezer paper and masking tape if you have used it. Shake the crayon block to loosen up any stray bits of crayon that might have flaked on it. Lay the block face down on the paper and lay another piece of paper over it. Place the iron set on wool on the paper, with no steam added. Press the block to set the color and remove any extra crayon wax, do not glide the iron, just press down. Press until you can smell the crayon wax, careful not to burn the paper or scorch the fabric. Be careful not to burn your fingers when you remove the paper.
You might need to move the block over the paper a few times, until no more wax melts onto the paper. Let it cool and the block is ready to either sew or embellish further with embroidery or add details and lines with a pigma pen. For every block you press, you will have to use new brown paper or paper towels, as to avoid wax or crayon to transfer to the new block you are pressing.

The method is slightly different if you used fabric crayons. The design will be colored on paper and it needs to be transferred onto the fabric. The design needs to be colored rather hard in order to get good transfer to fabric (you won’t be able to add more color to the block, since this type of crayon needs to be used on paper). Once again, prepare your ironing board as described before. Center the paper with the crayon drawing on the pre-washed and ironed piece of muslin after shaking off any crayon flakes. Since you need to press the design onto a synthetic or poly-cotton blend, set the iron temperature accordingly. Place the paper with the drawing against the right side of the fabric, cover it with a white sheet of paper and press. You will have to press until no more color transfers to the white paper.

When the crayon quilt is completed, if laundering is necessary, wash in cold water with a gentle soap. Some fading might take place. Hang to dry instead of using the dryer.

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