Fabric Stamping 101: Tips for Custom Prints From Pattern Pro Anna Joyce

Modern Geometric Pillow

Modern Geometric Pillow

Photo by: Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

If you've ever carved or cut out your own stamp, you know — dipping that stamp in paint and creating your own design can get a little addictive. In the new book Stamp Stencil Paint by pattern-making pro Anna Joyce, a whole section is devoted to the art of creating custom-stamped patterns. 

Photo by: Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

Stamp Stencil Paint author Anna Joyce at work. 

So, what inspired her love of the art? "I have a degree in printmaking, and have always had a deep love of textiles, so when I started my own business six years ago, it was a natural progression to start designing my own hand-printed patterns for fabric," Anna says.  

Luckily, you don't need a printmaking degree to get started! I chatted with Anna to get her tips on where to start, common pitfalls to avoid and how to mix and match patterns like a seasoned pro.

Photo by: Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

For people new to the art, what is a good first project to tackle?

One of my favorite projects in Stamp Stencil Paint that is fun place to start is the Geometric Throw Pillow project. The stamps are very simple to cut and print and the pillow covers sew up quickly. It is a great way to get started printing your own patterns and the end results are bold and chic.

Photo by: Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

What are some common stamping mistakes people make when first beginning with print-making? 

Making it too complicated! I always suggest starting with a simple design and a great color. Starting simple helps ensure success, and once you have a good handle on your materials your prints can grow increasingly more complicated with out becoming overwhelming.

Photo by: Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

What are some of the simplest designs to carve into a rubber carving block or moldable stamp?

Geometric shapes with straight lines and hard edges are the most simple to cut and carve. A bold triangle, diamond or rectangle are endlessly versatile and very easy to cut using a ruler and craft knife.

Beyond carving your own designs, are there any unexpected items that can be used as stamps?

Yes! You can print tiny polka dots using a pencil eraser, cut simple shapes out of kitchen sponge or wrap twine around small block. And of course printing with fruits and vegetables such as potatoes, apples and carrots is a really fun way to craft with the whole family.

Photo by: Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

What has been your biggest print-making craft fail? 

Using the wrong pigment when I was stamping on fabric. I tried to print on a soft cotton using acrylic paint because I loved the color so much, but when the paint dried the pattern was stiff and wrinkled at the edges. I had to start over with the proper textile paint. It was a good lesson to learn!

Photo by: Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

Do you have any advice for pattern mixing?

When I am mixing patterns I like to use a mix of large and small motifs in a similar color story. Big splashy florals go well with tiny geometric pattens and I love global inspired patterns such as ikat paired with crisp stripes.

How do you mix patterns in your own home?

My interior design philosophy is very loose and intuitive so we end up having a large mix of patterns in our home. We have hand stitched Kantha blankets, richly patterned baskets and rugs and tend to pair them with the cleaner, more geometric designs from my own housewares collections. 

Photo by: Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

Photo by Lisa Warninger; Photo Styling by Chelsea Fuss

As a pattern person, what types of prints are you go-tos for stencils and stamps? Are there any you’re tired of? 

I really enjoy stenciling and stamping floral patterns. I am always so inspired by the incredible lines found in nature and return to leaves and flowers as motifs again and again. Patterns that I am tired of? No way! I have never met a pattern I didn't like. Designs that might feel outdated or "over" can be updated by changing their color or scale, making almost anything feel fresh again.

Feeling inspired? Try out these DIY stamping projects from HGTV.

More Stamping Projects You'll Love

See All Photos

Gold-Leaf Dotted Lamp

Photo By: Courtesy of Emily Hart

Block Print Napkins With DIY Stamps

Eraser-Stamped Kids' Shirt

Photo By: Liz Gray ©© 2015 HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Potato-Stamped Rug

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Eraser-Stamped Invitations

Stamp Stencil Paint by Anna Joyce, published by STC Craft | An Imprint of Abrams, is available now. 

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