Saturday, September 27, 2014

Moon Shadows - Applying Oil Paint Stick

This is a photo of the finished Quilt I am calling "Moon Shadows". 

Moon Shadows

I've been talking about how I made this quilt in my last few posts. My last post described the machine quilting. Today I am going to talk about applying the oil paint stick.

You can apply oil paint stick to the quilt top before quilting, or you can apply it to the sandwiched quilt top after the machine quilting is done. You get different appearances with each technique. If you apply it before quilting the oil paint stick covers the area you apply it to entirely and gives a smooth coloration look. 

before quiting

If you apply it after the machine quilting is done the oil paint stick adheres to the “high” part of the fabric that sticks up around the stitching lines. The fabric at the stitching lines doesn’t get as much of the oil paint stick, and the background fabric peeks through. This method accentuates the machine quilting more, in my opinion.

after quilting

For this quilt I chose the latter method of stitching first and then applying the oil paint stick.

Oil paint sticks dry on the surface and get a “skin” that must be removed before using. I use a utility knife to cut the surface skin off, revealing the soft oil paint stick beneath it. I try to remove enough to expose about a nickel or quarter size part of the top of the stick. I cut off the dry skin onto a plate and then dump the plate contents in the trash. This helps prevent oil paint from the soft side of the skin getting on anything. Trust me, it happens.

removing the skin

To apply the paint, you can rub a brush across the exposed paint stick and then brush the paint on the fabric, or you can rub the stick directly on the fabric. If you are applying to a small area a brush is a better choice. For larger areas I use the whole stick. 

The brushes that I have found work best are very stiff stencil brushes. Here are the brushes in my collection.


I use a thin brush for applying the oil paint close to the edge of a shape to prevent it from getting in an area I don’t want the paint. I use a round brush for other areas.

If I apply the paint stick directly to the fabric I blend it in with a wide brush. This also works well if you have two colors near each other that you want to transition to.


Here are a couple things to be aware of:

Oil paint stick can take about three days to dry. During those three days I don’t let a painted area touch any other part of the top. So if I fold the quilt, its front side out. I usually place a piece of scrap fabric over the top of the painted area to protect everything. The paint is not truly “wet”, but it has the potential to get color on a place you don’t want it to be. It feels a tiny bit tacky to the touch.

After three days I press the painted area. I place a piece of scrap cloth or paper over the painted area while pressing. Very little if any color comes off after three days.

There is an odor during the drying or curing process. It can take a couple weeks for the odor to go away completely. It is not a strong odor, but if you are sensitive to odors you should ventilate your working area.

The oil paint dries soft. The fabric is not stiff after drying and will not crack. At least not in my experience, which is a few years of using it.

The oil paint sticks I use include Shiva sticks and those made by Winsor Newton, called Oil Bars. The Shiva sticks have a pearlescent quality which I love. The oil bar is more of a matte appearance.

oil bars I use

That’s all for today. My next post will talk about clean up and storage of the oil paint sticks. 

As always, thanks for visiting my blog!

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Eileen! I haven't tried oil sticks but will give them a try. I was thinking that the skins might be saved and used in a collage. Adding a coat of medium on top to seal them.