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Laura Murray Designs

May 2018

Clouds over the Rainbow Mountains

How does nature inspire you? Considering that husband Jim and I log around 30,000 miles per year driving from coast to coast as vendors, there is plenty of time to watch the scenery roll by. My artist eye admires the graceful shapes formed by horizons and mountains.

Nature is a reliable source of inspiration, available by simply walking out the door and looking around. Photographers delight in posting internet images of their favorite subjects... and these can be found just a click of the mouse away. Once inspiration is located, the next step is to figure out how to interpret the image in fabric. For me, paintstiks provide solutions.

"Clouds over the rainbow mountains" was created in about an hour, using paintstiks, stencil brushes and one of my favorite techniques, called the torn edge.

This is truly a technique that provides success to anyone who can grasp a brush; no artistic or painterly skills required. It's great for kids of all ages, with instant feedback and gratification. Read on for technique instructions, and check out the stencil brush sale to help you stock up on supplies.

~ Laura

Torn Edge Technique

You will need a perfectly smooth, flat surface. Any imperfections (cat hair, threads, marks on your cutting mat), etc will show on your work. A Grip 'n' Grip is perfect, because it holds the fabric in place, but any clean surface works.

  • Paintstiks
  • Stencil brushes (one for each color)
  • Fabric (either solid or subtle batik), generally in a light color.
  • Copy paper, file folders or similar paper (avoid newsprint because the print may run).

This is a great technique for landscape effects, considering that nature doesn't produce straight lines, or exact duplications. The brushes blend colors during the application process. Paintstiks work on any porous surface, i.e. fabric, paper, leather, wood, etc. to provide boundless potential.

Step 1: Tear a piece of paper in a curved line.

Step 2: Place the torn edge on the fabric.

Step 3: Add color to the stencil brush (either directly from the stick or create a color palette on any nonporous surface (wax or parchment paper, plastic plate,etc).

Step 4: Rub the brush over the paper edge onto the fabric to create a soft, feathered, natural edge.

Step 5: Move the torn edge, and repeat. Use additional colors until the desired effect is achieved.


Painted Desert

Stormy Night

"Stormy Night" uses black fabric as the background, along with turquoise and gold paint. The only skill required is a willingness to play and experiment with shapes and colors. In my workshops, hundreds of students easily created gorgeous designs in just a few minutes, with a technique that never fails to produce amazing results.

Obviously, this technique is great for landscape designs. Other ideas include: garment front panel, cuff, or yoke; quilt borders or binding, etc.

How many brushes and paintstiks do you need?

It depends on how many colors used in your design. Only one color (red) was needed for rock formations vs eight used for the rainbow mountains. Find the full selection of paintstik colors here.

It's best to dedicate a brush to each color. As with all brushes, size and type produce different effects. The softer, longer bristles found in the long handled standard stencil brushes are useful for soft edge effects seen in the "Painted Desert" above. The paintstik stencil brushes (short handles) have short, dense bristles, making them useful for quickly applying a heavier layer paint on the fabric (Stormy Night). Small brushes can achieve narrow lines (Clouds over Rainbow Mountains).

Clean up is easy, using a wide variety of products, i.e.rubbing alcohol, solvents, soap/water, etc. Now is a good time to stock up and receive a 20% discount.

Stencil brush stock-up sale

Ends Friday, May 4

Take an extra

20% OFF

All stencil brushes

Use coupon code:


On The Road

Hand dyed ribbons, cording

Having just finished three shows in a three week time period, Jim and I are looking forward to time at home enjoying spring weather in Minneapolis and catching up on home projects and yard work.

From a creative perspective, I am excited about working with several nifty new garment patterns. Lots of ideas are swirling around in my brain, clamoring to become reality.

See you soon at the summer shows with new goodies!




June 14-16

Minnesota Quilters Annual Show
St. Cloud, MN
Booth, demonstrations


July 19-21

Original Sewing and Quilt Shows
Raleigh, NC
Booth, demonstrations, workshops


Aug 22-25

AQS Quiltweek
Grand Rapids, MI
Booth, demonstrations


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