There’s a reason why so many people like to stitch painted canvases. When your thread matches the color of the canvas below, the stitching magically improves. When canvas is colored, you can:
- Use open stitches or lighter coverage
- Use lighter coverage thread
- Make straight stitches without worrying about needlepoint dandruff
So if it’s so great why don’t we paint our own?
For me a big reason is that I’m bad, really bad, at painting canvas.
You might also be painting adverse.
But that doesn’t mean you need to avoid coloring your canvas or stick only to the more-expensive commercial painted canvases in shops.
Happily today there are many companies that make pens, yes pens, that can safely be used to color fabric. I used several different ones to color this canvas. These pens use either dye, alcohol-based ink, or ink with small molecules to create coloring that penetrates the fibers of the canvas, as paint does.
The red-orange square was colored with a ZIG fabric marker. These markers have two tips (chisel & brush) but come in a limited selection of colors.
The light blue was colored with a Y&M Fabric Marker. These come in a thin, dual-tipped pen or a pen with a thick chisel tip. The thicker pens come in fewer colors and are best for coloring large areas. You can find these at chain craft stores.
Both shades of aqua stripes used COPIC markers. These markers from Japan are popular for creating Manga. They are transparent and can be blended to make additional colors. Using multiple layers of the same color creates darker colors. That’s how I got the darker shade. COPICs come in a huge variety of colors. Dual-tipped, they are more expensive than the other markers here, but are wonderful. You can find them in art supply stores and some chain craft stores.
The areas were outlined using my favorite markers PIGMA Micron markers. They come in several fine and extra fine widths and brush tips. The color selection is limited, but you can generally find a coordinating color to outline.
Coloring a Canvas for Yourself
If you are creating an outline first, make it in darker shades of the adjoining colors; this creates fewer problems in stitching.
When filling in an area with color, Use the finer tips to outline the area, then fill with the broader tips.
You are coloring for you, the coverage does not have to be even.
Only use really thick pens for coloring large areas.
Do not use really fine pens, such as Pigma Microns, to color only to outline.
Many details can be added with stitches, don’t make your coloring too detailed.
Always let your work dry overnight before beginning to stitch. Most of these pens take awhile to dry and are not colorfast until they do.