Color-your-Day Creative

With textile artist Paula Scaffidi

I happily spotted a rainbow through my window today.
Can you recall the last time you enjoyed seeing one?

The appearance of a rainbow provides us with a “moment out” …a pause to look up
and experience color with a renewed sense of wonder.

With its bold hues in joyful sequence, rainbows rejuvenate the human spirit.
Create and give a simple pencil or art tool case to fuel someone’s imagination and your own along the way.

Amid the flurry of your early fall, make/take a short bit of time to enjoy some pure, vibrant color fun.

Add some color to your day! Zip Rainbow Cases are simple, useful and pleasurable to create.

First paint a panel of fabric and then easily sew cases. Style for kids &/or adults, and give away with fresh art tools inside if you like. Colorful, these lined cases make great gifts for anyone who simply could use a rainbow. We all need one once and a while. I sewed seven different cases from a single 11” x 13” panel of painted fabric. Fast fun!

MATERIALS and Prep for painting a panel

  • Fabric - 11” x 13”white cotton duck
    • Optional batting, uno fuse from Innovative Crafts - fuse to part (or all) of fabric back (helps maintain even dampness for color blending)
    • Prewash no softener 
  • Alternate Fabric -  11” x 13” quality, white quilting cotton 
    • Fuse 11” x 13” uno fuse from Innovative Crafts to entire back (can paint fabric dry or damp, adds heft to the thinner fabric)
    • Prewash no softener
  • Optional Fun - Template Stencils from The Crafters Workshop- featured here are Peony & Cosmic Swirl – use any YOU like; or free-form it with your own or a kid’s free-hand designs; plus stencil brush
  • Brilliant Kid-friendly Palette and Handy Applicators from Imagine Crafts
    • Tsukineko Classics All-Purpose Ink Workstation is ideal (includes the rainbow colors and more, plus a handy stand and Fantastix
    • OR individual bottles of Tsukineko All Purpose Inks in the following seven rainbow colors: 14, 12, 11, 22, 19, 18, 16 and Fantastix bullet and conical tips
    • Fabrico Versa-craft Dual Markers, also from Tsukineko in Primary colors #:114, 112, 111, 122, 119, 118 and 116 (brush and bullet tip on every marker)
  • Aloe Vera gel-clear, any variety, available at pharmacies, grocery stores, etc.
  • Tray, palette or plastic plate
  • Vinyl/plastic - minimum 12” x 14” to protect work surface
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Parchment paper – 11” x 13” or so

ASSEMBLY Materials

  • See link at the end of this post! Mainly a 9” non-metal zipper and a bit of fabric

Vibrant minds need tools at hand. Here are the seven rainbow hues in the form of All Purpose Inks from Tsukineko, ideal for fabric painting; plus a bit of gel as my fabric painting medium.

Any kid, including the kid in you will love revisiting the purity of the rainbow sequence, watching its colors flow momentarily as you create freshly painted designs for the exterior of these zipper cases. However you do it, cases created alone to give or painted with a kid &/or friend alongside …in the end nothing says happy like a rainbow shared. 

On some days, swirling a bit of liquid color is just the thing to make everyone smile. Yup, anything goes painting, design-wise. To ensure brilliant color results, I recommend ROYGBIV  (red-orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo-violet) as a palette; with each color applied to cloth always in rainbow sequence.

Designs can be anything (kids naturally know this; borrow one and watch as they paint :-).  The rainbow sequence holds designs together beautifully; creative freedom and vibrant results. So the only steps are color steps …the rest of the time is your moment out, time for pure color pleasure and imaginings.

I love creating both blended and crisp visual effects. The combo is always beautiful in my eyes.

For easy blends with stencils, mix some gel into a few drops of ink on your tray (transport the drops with Fantastix). In regions of the stencil, “stamp” (brush is vertical) neighboring colors from the rainbow. Then overlap regions to create in-between color variations. This method delivered the semi-blended look I was after. And what fun! Lift a stencil and crisp design appears. Gel use lightens the colors and provides easy blending. Perfect. 

I can feel the warmth of the sun emerging and the swirling droplets of moisture that made the rainbow appear.

Center stage, rainbow inks blend gently over uno fuse backed fabric. Prewashed and air dried until just barely damp (no gel) provides gentle blending. I used Fantastix to apply ink-to-cloth; then heat set when satisfied. I recommend the use of parchment to protect your iron whenever inks are still damp or if you've used gel. Dry to the touch, Fabricolor Markers provide the crisper lines and edges and do not require heat setting. (Kids should wear old clothes).

Visual zip achieved with a contrasting zipper color! 

Sized as a pencil case or larger, art tools are neatly stored, easily transported and always handy. Fill one with lots of children’s art markers; even building blocks. I created a perfect size to hold my full palette of Fabrico Markers. Now these are also handy when I use them in my BERNINA PaintWork Tool.

The more water, the lighter colors will dry, losing both vibrancy and wash-ability. Barely damp is fine for color fastness and ideal for blending without colors running wild. Experiment, but avoid wet fabric.

You can always cut up painted fabric and use favorite parts. Piecing helps. In the last photo, I really enjoyed the lighter blurry center fabric much more, once cut and improved by its placement next to crisply stenciled fabric. The blurry colors became light with just a few spritzes of water on dry fabric! Best not to use too much water….


A bit of breezy ribbon makes a fine zipper pull here. 

Blurry color results appear brighter here. This time I painted gel alone onto dry fabric first, then used Fantastix to color. By using gel instead of water, the colors are still really bright. The gel washes out after heat setting under parchment, with an iron. The color remains vibrant!

Rainbow Facts to Share with Kids

  • White light is made of these seven colors - ROYGBV also known as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet
  • Sunlight itself, or white light, is made of these same seven hues
  • A prism will break white light so we can see the seven hues
  • On cloudy days, raindrops are plentiful and can break the light just as prisms can …which creates rainbows!

enJOY the colors all around you!

Sewing time is approximately 15 – 20 minutes per case. Paula sewed all seven cases from one experimental painted panel and put together tips for best results, and for various size cases.

It’s simple: 

Join Paula Scaffidi for LIVE eLearning workshops at

Shops and Guild Program Chairs can contact to host or co-host a special Fiberella eLearning Group Event for shop customers or guild members.

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