Last week, I finished the cardinal and put it in water to soak.

I had a thoughtless moment where I put synthrapol in the washing machine while the bin was filling with water. I thought to myself — that’s a mistake — I should empty the tub and start over. But then I thought — it’s so small — it shouldn’t matter.

If I had been really thinking, I would have reminded myself that red is bad to bleed — but I wasn’t thinking so I threw the piece in the water with a Color Catcher on top (I wasn’t totally brainless).

But of course, as you can see, the reds bled onto the background. This is what it looked liked after spraying it with Shout and washing it with OxyClean in cold and hot water — many times. I couldn’t get out any more of the red from the background. (I was able, thankfully, to shrink it a little. It was just over 12″ square — and for the exhibit I made it, it needed to be 12″ square — which now it is.)

cardinal before paint


I have had this happen before — with Beach Guardians. Thankfully, the background wasn’t printed so painting it with fabric paint should work. At this point, it was my only option left.

But I put it off — and worried — and procrastinated. No one wants to ruin something in the final stage with paint. I had spent almost two weeks on this piece — and I wasn’t looking forward to that going down the tubes if it didn’t work.

I took my fabric paint and mixed it on my palette — and got really close to where I needed to be.

fabric paint


I thinned it with water and blended it into the background.

cardinal after paint

I think it works.

I compared it to my picture of the piece from last week before I put on the binding — and the background looks less green. That is really only a difference in lighting. It’s almost scary how big the color shift is. This time, I used a side light — and last week I didn’t — but I couldn’t go back & re-take the pic with the bleeding — so I just kept it like this so you could compare apples to apples.

You may have noticed that I used a binding that matches the background. I almost always use black for binding — but as I said — I was trying to make this piece a specific size — and my cardinal just barely fit in the space. The best way to give him some breathing space was to use a binding in the same color as the background. If I had used black, he would have looked squeezed on there.

Did I mention I don’t like making something to a specific size requirement?