Saturday, February 18, 2012

Using Markal paintstiks!

Doing one of my periodic tidy ups and see what I can find efforts I came across a box of Markal paintstiks that I must have had for several years. I can't remember when I last used them but I do know that it was fun! 

Paintstiks - known as Markal in this country and Shiva in the US - are remarkably easy to use. They are an oil and wax crayon and work on any fibre, paper, leather, etc. I have usually used them on cotton or silk. And more often than not I use them for taking rubbings from rubbing plates though occasionally I will use them directly onto the fabric. 

An unused paintstik.
The first thing to do is to take off the 'skin' that forms on the paintstik. This hardened layer protects the crayon and stops it drying out. Each time one uses a crayon it will form a new hard layer of 'skin' when it is put away, thus keeping it in a good state for the next time. This is why these crayons can be kept for years. They come in a variety of colours including gold, silver and iridescent colours. 

One places the rubbing plate under the fabric which is taped to a mat or plastic sheet to keep it in place. I find plastic floor tiles are good here. Then one rubs the crayon over the fabric bringing up the image from the rubbing plate. It is necessary to leave the fabric to dry for anything up to three days and then to thoroughly iron the fabric on the hottest setting possible for the fibre content. After this the fabric can be washed and used as normal. It is now fast to washing. 

The piece above was drawn directly onto the fabric. 

The pieces above and below are from the same piece of hand-dyed cotton. 


  1. I've always wondered what they are and what are used for/how etc! some of the ladies from the "old" textiles-group had raved about their experiments in the previous year but somehow I hadn't got the point of them. interesting results, but are they "permanent"? on the fabric, I mean? or do they wash/wear off?

  2. Sue once they've dried and been ironed and then washed they are there for life! Good for all kinds of things from quilts to clothing, especially when one wants an individual touch.

    Val x