To achieve a more controlled pattern on fabric, it is better to print, using a linocut or stamp. Simple borders can be run around the edge of a fabric using this quick and easy method and it can be cleverly utilized for small items like cushion covers.
Obviously, the more professional you want your finish to be, the more likely you are to need proper tools; there are special lino-cutting tools, for example. But whether you use a potato, lino or a sponge, the areas that you cut out will not take up printing ink.
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A version of this method uses washing-up sponges the sort that are rectangular and have a stiff scouring base. Use a felt-tip pen to mark up a grid on the soft side of the sponge. Divide it into squares with 6mm (Kin) gutters between the squares. Cut along the lines and hollow out the channels.
Squeeze acrylic paint onto a plate and thin it with water to the consistency of single cream. Alternatively, use fabric paints. Press the cut face of the sponge into the paint. Do not make it so thin and wet that it drips.
Ensure that your fabric is stretched out flat, either using weights or, preferably, pinning it to a board. Then, carefully and lightly, press the sponge onto the surface of the fabric and you will achieve a kind of mosaic pattern. You may want to test the technique first on a piece of paper to ensure that you have the paint at the correct consistency and so that you can decide how much paint you actually need on the sponge be careful not to smudge prints you have already made as you print more.
You can make a chequerboard pattern using two sponge ‘tiles’ and two colours. Print one colour first, filling in the missing squares with the other only when it is dry.