Fabric Painting 101 with Chris Williams

Look in your closet for your next crafting surface.
If you are looking for a fun painting surface that will amaze others, look no farther than your closet!

For years, textiles have been the surface of choice for many artists.  Imagine decorating tote bags, canvas shoes, ever popular t-shirts and jeans, or home décor items like pillows, curtains, and seat cushions!

Fabric painting is so much fun! I would love to share a few fabric painting tips as well as answer a few commonly asked questions. FolkArt® Fabric Paint will be your favorite paint for fabric.  You will love how it is absorbed into the fabric when you brush it on, yet dries to a soft feel!

What type of fabrics work best?

Cotton and cotton poly blends, woven blends and denims are all awesome for fabric painting.

Wash your garments before painting.

How do I begin?

All fabrics should be pre-washed using detergent and water following the manufacturer’s washing instructions.  This will remove sizing and allow the fabric paint to penetrate into the fibers. Denim fabrics may require two washings.  Next, line or machine dry.  NOTE: DO NOT use a fabric softener in the wash or a dryer sheet when drying. This may prevent paints from properly adhering.  If needed, iron fabric smooth before painting, however, DO NOT use spray starch.

How much paint should I use?

FolkArt Fabric paint should be applied in moderate to heavy applications using enough brush pressure to work paint into the fibers. This will ensure better adhesion and greater durability.

How can I decorate fabric items?”

Fabric decorating can be achieved using stencils like this project,

transferred patterns like these projects by Julie Lewis,

or painting freehand using the One Stroke method by Donna Dewberry.

Do I need to heat set my project?

Painted projects will air dry within 24 hours and be cured in 72.  But for best durability, it is necessary to heat set.  I recommend two methods of heat setting your painted projects:

  • Place painted items in clothes dryer and heat for 30 minutes at highest setting allowed for type of fabric; OR
  • Lay painted item right side up on ironing board, place a dry pressing cloth over painted design. Set your iron at the highest setting for your fabric and press for 30 seconds, section by section until all painted areas have been heat set. Make sure you lift and move the iron over the design rather than running it over the entire fabric like you normally would.

How should I care for my hand painted item?

As with all painted projects, it is best to hand wash in cold water and air dry to increase durability.  FolkArt Fabric paints have been tested for machine use.  If washing by machine, turn your garment inside out before washing on the gentle cycle with cold water.

I hope you enjoyed fabric painting 101! Fabric painting is a great family activity. Have fun with the kids this summer and create family camp t-shirts!

Next week, let’s have fun creating this project using Go Go Bugs Simply® Stencil.

Lady Bug Pillow by Chris Williams

2 Comments to “Fabric Painting 101 with Chris Williams”

  1. Enjoying these articles that are based on specific items like clothing, glass and wood. You stick to the one subject and give all the details which is great. Keep up the great work.

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