Fabric Painting Fun

This post may contain affiliate links. I may make a commission if you purchase through them. :)

If you’re looking for a new creative outlet to express your inner artist, add fabric painting to your list of ‘must try’ crafts.

Fabric painting is becoming very popular as many new products are introduced that make it an affordable and easy way to create custom clothing and accessory items for everyone in the family.

Painting canvas shoes has become very popular. From kids to adults, hand painted sneakers are a very cool fashion accessory. This is a great project for the kids to do on a rainy Saturday, or it would be a fun project for a children’s birthday party or a girls’ night craft get together!

Fabric Paints

Not only can you use acrylics, but there are paints made specifically for use on fabric, as well as markers and spray paint. There’s also dimensional paint that puffs up, fluorescent and glittery paints.


You can use many different fabrics for textile painting, but you’ll have the best results using natural fibers. Cotton, silk and linen are most commonly used, as their fibers absorb the pigment readily. Blends that contain at least 50 percent natural fiber are also suitable, but stay away from 100 percent polyesters.

If you’re not a sewist, purchase ready-made items like shirts, scarves, tote bags or tennis shows for instant gratification. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can paint yardage and design your own creations.

You’ll get the best results if you pre-wash your cloth before painting. This will remove any sizing and production chemicals that may interfere with the paint absorbing into the fibers. Don’t use fabric softener and iron the item for a smooth, wrinkle-free painting surface.

Painting Techniques

You can use a number of techniques to paint your fabric masterpiece. Choose one or combine them for an interesting and painterly look.

Use a paintbrush and paint just as you would on a canvas. Paints can be thinned to the proper consistency with fabric medium or water as recommended by the paint manufacturer.

Stenciling is an easy way to repeat a motif. Use stenciling brushes or sponges to apply the paint. Paint should be applied sparingly, as an application of too much paint can seep underneath the stencil and ruin the crisp edges that the stencil provides.

Paint pens and markers are an easy way to control the paint application. Wide and narrow markers allows for fine detailing where precision is needed.

Paint can also be applied with a tube dispenser when markers are not available. Stamping and block printing are other methods of getting your paint onto your fabric. Thousands of stamps and blocks are commercially made and are very popular.

Tips For Fabric Painting

Make sure your fabric has been washed without fabric softener to remove sizing and that the item is fully dry and ironed to remove wrinkles.

When painting a shirt or other double-sided piece, slide a section of cardboard between the layers to avoid paint bleeding through the top and onto the back of the item.

Tape your fabric to the work surface to prevent it from sliding or bunching.

If using a stencil to stamp a design, tape the stencil in place to prevent slippage as you tamp the paint onto the fabric.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *