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Updated by Rose Garalde on Feb 21, 2021
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Rose Garalde Rose Garalde
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Painting On Fabric Explained

If you are thinking about breaking into the world of fabric painting, do it by all means. Truth be told, it is not that difficult. All it takes is a piece to wear, a design, and some color. Surely, it sounds creative but it is also convenient at the same time. Fabric is one of the easiest mediums to work on.

1

A Prologue

In order to get the best results from any of your painting, you need to learn:

• To set up and maintain your painting area

• To procure the right tools for the job

• To buy the perfect fabric for excellent results

• How to employ simple stencils & paint techniques

• To keep on experimenting

2

Set Up Your Work Space

One of the most important setup requirements for fabric painting is the flat surface. For that purpose, you can use the counter-top of your kitchen or your dining room table, depending on the environment of your house. If you are truly lucky, you could have a workshop of your own with customized tables and settings, to enhance your work time there.

Start your design by working on the scraps of the fabrics first while going through the bleeding and colorfastness tests. Follow the instruction on the painting container whenever you are experimenting with something new.

Paint can get out of control sometimes, so protection in the form of plastic can come in handy. Make sure all things like brushes, cloths, color palettes, etc., are at your arm’s length. If there are specialized items that you need for your technique, keep them close too.

Pro Tip: Once a piece is done, dress a piece of cardboard in plastic and tuck it between the sides of the t-shirt or the dress. This will prevent the seepage of paint from one side to the other.

3

Efficient Tools For Fabric Painting

If you are planning to do fabric painting, there is a set of general tools that you must have for ease and efficiency. Again, if your project demands other specialized equipment, you need to have it in the best condition for maximum functionality.

Some of the tools are:

Brushes
For fabric painting, you can use whichever brush you want because there are no set benefits related to any kind. But if you need clean work and less sweating, we have listed some of the brushes that could come in handy while doing fabric painting. So, keeping them in your kit is a plus, just remember to wash them well after every use for longevity.

Round Tip – A small one for fine detailing and a bigger one to cover wide even areas

Flat Tip – They are the best when it comes to blending and shading

Liner Brush – As the name suggests, it is perfect for lining

Sponge Brush – This can also help in painting larger areas. You can also use a foam tied on a wooden stick for the same purpose

Fabric Markers
These are also called ornamental pens. They are used to outline a drawing so that you can fill the paint precisely where it should be.

You can get these from a number of places, but keep in mind the quality and application of these. Fabric markers also come with a set of instructions to get the best results. So, don’t forget to check out the manual before starting outlining with them.

Additional Tools
These can vary from one project to another, but they are also helpful in getting the work done in less time and effort. It includes stamps, both homemade and store-bought, stencils to create unique patterns and designs, dip pens, and airbrushes for special effects in fabric painting.

Fabric Paints
The quality of your work in fabric painting is much dependent on what you are using on the medium. The paints and colors carry much weight and play a vital part in the progress of your work and the final product.

4

Color Setting

To avoid any disaster after putting in hard work, read the instructions on the color pot or if there is a manual to read. It is always safer to try on a piece of rage before applying paint on the original piece. There are paints that come with the condition of ironing that helps the color to settle and prevent fading in case of washing.

5

Fabric For Fabric Painting

The best types of fabric for painting are pure cotton or other natural fiber. Silk and linen are great options because they paint well, but it is hard to use once a painting is done. if you plan to paint something for upholstery or furnishings, canvas fabric is a great choice.

Pro Tip: To work like a pro, consider using old cotton bedsheets. You can make as many small pieces as you want without impunity and experiment like crazy.

Pre-Washing

This principle is universal and carries weight in all circumstances. So, whenever you are going to paint a piece of fabric, you need to wash it, even if it looks and feels “clean”. New fabric has starch additives that could change the nature of how fabric accepts and absorbs the paint. Washing and ironing a piece of fabric before you start working on it will always go in your favor because you will have a smooth, even surface to work on.

If you need to choose colors for your painting project, remember that light colors and white fabric makes a great surface to work on.

Pro Tip: There are countless things that you can make and work on if you have set your heart on fabric painting. The most popular options are:

• Ready-Made Scarves

• Cushions

• Drapes

• T-Shirts

• Wall Hangings

• Table Linen

• Pillowcases

• Clothing & Apparel

6

Fabric Painting Designs

If you are not good at painting and drawing, fret not. You can still flourish in the field of painting if you learn to use some helping materials. For instance, you can use stencils to draw a picture or pattern and fill in the details later. Or, you can trace an existing picture using a lightbox on the fabric you are working on and then take it from there. If you are bent on doing this, there are way too many options.

Pro Tip: To nail dramatic looks that make your images come to life, try fabric pens for outlining purposes. This will get you real help in designing which is the foundation of painting.

In the end, work directly on the fabric just like painting on a canvas or a scrap of paper.

Read more about Painting