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Top Fabric Painting Techniques

If you love painting and want to try something a little different how about using your creative skills to experiment with some fabric painting. There are several different techniques including wet into wet, tie dye, block printing, spraying and stencilling. Each one gives a different effect and appearance. Be warned though as once you start fabric painting you won’t want to stop!

The ancient Egyptians were the first people to paint their clothing and now you can too. Why stop at clothing. How about designing cushion covers, party bunting, create eye-catching tote bags or show your inner fashionista with a colourful statement T-shirt and matching hair accessories. Plus, it’s a great way to upcycle old clothes and give them a new lease of life.

Check out these fun ideas at the Baker Ross Creative Station: Fabric Painting Craft Ideas

What you need to paint fabric

To get started here are the supplies you’ll need:

White or light coloured material
Ideally we suggest using 100% cotton but you can use silk and linen too. Make sure the weave is tight to ensure a good finish. If too loose the paint may drip through the gaps creating a bumpy finish.

These need to be quite sturdy to help ensure the paint soaks into the weave of the fabric.

Fabric paints
Choose from paints, sprays or pens.

Stencils and stamps
Pick from lots of pre-cut stencil and stamp designs.

Cloths or tissue
To wipe way excess paint on fabric.

Iron the material before you start and use again to set the fabric paints once they have dried.

Should I wash the fabric before painting?

Always wash the material in a little gentle detergent to remove any chemicals added during manufacturing as they can prevent paint sticking to the surface. Avoid conditioner too. Washing also reduces the risk of your final design shrinking. Once dry iron it to make the painting surface as smooth as possible.

There are several different fabric painting techniques including wet into wet, tie-dye, block printing, spraying and stencilling. Each one gives a different effect and appearance.

Getting started with fabric painting

Before you begin, always do a test patch first on a separate piece of material. This will give you an opportunity to experiment with different types of material and fabric paints to see which ones work best for you.

It can be helpful to draw your design with a pencil to act as a guide. Once done you can start painting. You may like to dampen the material a little to help the paint adhere to the material but be careful not to make it too wet or the paint will bleed and not keep within the lines of your design.

Fabric paints tend to be quite thick so use sparingly. Squeeze some onto a plastic tray and use a brush, or stamper, to add to the fabric pressing it firmly into the weave of the material.

If painting a T-shirt you must be careful not to let paint from the design on the front reach the back so remember to place something plastic or waterproof between the layers for protection.

What kind of paint do you use on fabric?

Our pack of 12 Fabric Paint Pots offers a great choice of vibrant assorted colours or choose our 3D Fabric Paints Value Pack which gives a matt, pearlised or glitter finish. Teachers and group leaders will love our cost-effective range of extra-large 150ml Textile Paint pots. There’s a handy range of Fabric Pens in 12 assorted colours which are a great alternative to using actual fabric paints, or you could even use fabric spray paint.
Check out our fabric paint section here.

Does fabric paint make fabric stiff?

Unlike regular paints, fabric paints have flexibility once dried so they won’t make the material buckle up or appear stiff.

Fabric paint removal

All great and ‘little’ artists make mistakes, so you will be reassured to know that fabric paints need to be heated or ironed before they are permanent meaning stains should be easily removed. Our top tip is to scrape any excess paint off and wash or wipe the area immediately. The paint itself usually takes up to 36 hours to completely dry and is not fixed until it has been ironed.

The Baker Ross Creative Station projects have so many great inspirational ideas for different fabric painting techniques. Why not take a look using the links below.