Fabric painting is a great way to breathe new life into plain shirts, boring upholstery, or any dull fabric that needs something more. Learning this art allows you to become your own stylist or decorator, putting your ideas into practice. Learn how to create a pattern, trace it onto fabric, and paint it using the simple steps below.
Method 1 of 4: Preparing the Fabric
Step 1. Choose the fabric
The best for painting are natural fibers and washable 50% cotton/50% polyester blends.
Step 2. Wash the fabric so that it does not shrink after applying the paint
Use only normal washing machine, no fabric softener.
Step 3. Put a barrier between the front and back layers of fabric
To do this, you can place a large clipboard, a piece of plain cardboard or waxed paper between the two sides, preventing the paint from smearing the one that is not being painted.
Step 4. Secure the fabric in place using regular or diaper pins
Place one in each corner so the material does not move.
Method 2 of 4: Choosing Materials
Step 1. If you want to make precise, textured lines, choose fabric pens from applicator-tipped bottles
Hold the bottle like a pencil and slowly squeeze to release the ink. The applicator nozzle must touch the fabric for the paint to stick to the surface.
Step 2. Alternatively, buy paint to be applied with brushes
This product allows you to mix and alternate colors before applying ink to fabric.
Step 3. Choose brushes according to the desired effect:
- Flat, sharp-edged brushes let you paint clear lines and fill in large spaces.
- Long or short round brushes are ideal for making long strokes.
- The round pituá brushes are composed of tapered bristles, perfect for mixing colors and making short, hard strokes.
Method 3 of 4: Painting the Fabric
Step 1. Draw the desired pattern on a piece of paper using a stencil
It's good to try out several different color combinations on this model before transferring the one chosen to the fabric.
Step 2. Use a pencil or ghost pen to transfer the design onto the fabric
Use white chalk to trace the pattern onto dark fabrics.
- Use a stencil if you want to follow an accurate, ready-made design. Tape it in so it doesn't move.
- You can also draw freehand on the fabric before painting, if you feel confident enough in your artistic ability.
Step 3. Switch to the paint tool of your choice and paint over the image you just traced
Cover the outline with paint so it doesn't show.
Step 4. To make a watercolor effect, mix the paint with water until it is as thick as the watercolor
Dip a thin brush into the mixture and apply horizontal strokes.
- Spray a little water on the fabric surface after painting so that the brush strokes are a little blurry as you change colors.
- If the ink starts to smear too much or too quickly, get a dryer and dry the spot to stop the process.
Step 5. For an airbrush effect on a stencil, use fabric spray paint
This ink dries faster than other types and allows you to quickly fill complex stencils.
Step 6. To create texture, use a styling tool
You can vary and add depth to the painting just by combing small painted parts. Be careful not to mix colors you didn't intend to mix.
Step 7. When finished, let the paint dry for 24 hours and do not wash the fabric for 72 hours after painting
Method 4 of 4: Adding Embellishments
Step 1. Make the fabric shine with glitter
Just throw the glitter you want on the still wet paint and let it dry well.
Step 2. Place three-dimensional ornaments such as rhinestones and buttons
Attach them to the surface using a drop of fabric paint the color of the ornament. If the ink doesn't look strong enough, use fabric glue.
Step 3. Cut out a design on a sponge using scissors and dip the soft side lightly into fabric paint
- Do not dilute the ink too much in water.
- If you make a mistake, use a mixture of water and isopropyl alcohol to erase it.
- Practice with paper towels before passing the design onto the fabric.
- You can also use bleach to remove the paint before it dries.
- If the fabric paint bottle clogs, remove the spout, rinse in warm water, and make a hole through the opening using a straight pin.
- If the error doesn't go away, you can always cover it with some ornament.