Painting on fabric is a great way to spice up old t-shirts, vintage upholstery, or any lackluster fabric that needs a helping hand. Mastering the art of painting on canvas will allow you to become your own fashion or interior designer by materializing your ideas. Learn how to develop a design, trace it on any piece of fabric and paint it by following the simple steps below.
Method 1 of 4: Prepare the fabric
Step 1. Choose the fabric
Natural fiber fabrics with 50/50 cotton or polyester aggregates work best when painting.
Step 2. Wash your fabric to prevent damage after applying paint
Use only detergent and do not use fabric softener when drying.
Step 3. Put a barrier between the front and back of the fabric
You can use a large clipboard, soft cardboard, or wax paper between the two sides of the fabric to avoid spilling the paint.
Step 4. Attach the fabric using safety pins or pins
Place a pin in each corner to prevent the material from shifting.
Method 2 of 4: Choose Materials
Step 1. Choose bottled fabric paint for precise, textured lines
Hold the bottle like a pencil while gently shaking to loosen the paint. Make sure to touch the tip of the bottle to the cloth so it sticks to the surface.
Step 2. Buy paint that you can apply in turns with brushes
This type of fabric paint will allow you to mix and alter the colors before adhering it to the fabric.
Step 3. Choose the brushes according to the effect you want to create with your brush strokes
- Flat brushes have a sharp edge and will allow you to paint clean lines and fill large spaces.
- Thin brushes, long or short and narrow, are ideal for making long strokes with the brush.
- Bristle brushes that are made up of thick bristles are perfect for mixing colors and creating short, uneven strokes.
Method 3 of 4: Painting the Fabric
Step 1. Draw your design on a piece of paper using a pencil
It is very helpful to try to draw different color combinations on this template before painting them on the fabric.
Step 2. Use an invisible ink pen or pencil to trace your design onto the fabric
For dark fabrics, you can use a white chalk pencil to trace the design.
- If you want to make a more precise or ready-made design, you might want to use a template. Tape your stencil down so it doesn't move.
- If you are confident in your artistic ability, you can draw anything on your canvas before painting it.
Step 3. Change the paint tool of your choice and paint over the image you drew
Make sure to cover the outline with paint so it won't show.
Step 4. To create a watercolor style, mix your colored paint with water until it is thick enough to write
Dip a relatively thin brush in the mixture and paint strokes horizontally.
- Spray some water on the surface of the fabric using a spray bottle after painting to allow the brush strokes to spill a bit as the colors blend.
- If the paint starts to spill a lot or very quickly, with the help of a dryer, dry in that place so that it stops spilling.
Step 5. For an airbrushed stencil, use fabric spray paint
Fabric spray paint dries much faster than other types of paint and allows you to paint tricky stencils.
Step 6. To create texture, use a styling tool
You can vary a bit and create depth by combing the paint in small sections. Be careful not to mix colors that do not match.
Step 7. Once you have finished your design, let the paint dry for 24 hours and do not wash the fabric for 72 hours after you have finished painting
Method 4 of 4: Add Embellishments
Step 1. Make the fabric shine by using glitter
Just sprinkle the glitter of your choice on top of the paint while it's fresh. Let the paint dry.
Step 2. Add 3D embellishments like rhinestones and buttons
Adhere them to the fabric using a drop of fabric paint that matches the color of the ornament. If the paint isn't enough for you, use fabric adhesive.
Step 3. Using a sponge and scissors, cut out a design and gently soak the soft part in the fabric paint
Make sure to press firmly.
- Bleach is very useful if you want to remove fabric paint before it dries.
- If you make a mistake, mix a little water and alcohol to eliminate your mistake.
- Practice on paper towels before painting your design on fabric.
- If your paint bottles get clogged, try removing the cap by soaking it in warm water and poking a hole in the opening cap with the help of a pin.
- Make sure you don't thin the paint too much if you mix it with water.
- If your mistake is not erased, you can always cover it with an ornament of any kind.