Painting Fabric

I have been asked about writing this blogpost for so long now, I really apologize to everyone that it took me so long! In case you didn’t know, I painted that dress above. It won the Sew Frosting Challenge (lots more info on the dress there) and was the impetus for many new things happening in 2019 (stay tuned!!)

Today I want to share the details behind the painting process of this dress with those of you interested in doing something similar!

This was my set up (luckily I photographed it) during the 15-20ish hours it took for me to paint all the fabric require to make the dress (2.5 yards approximately).

You can see here that I used standard artist acrylic paint (because that’s what I have on hand at all times since I’m a painter) for two of the colors, and the blue is Speedball Screenprinting ink.


This was my painting set-up when I was at my daughter’s all-day robotics competition one Saturday. I am not one to waste time sitting around, so I brought all my supplies with me, scavenged some cardboard, and set it up on some lunch table chairs! Yes, lots of people asked me what I was doing and were intrigued when I explained!

As you can see in that photo above the tan blobs are very large. This is hard to do when painting fabric because of the way the fabric absorbs the paint. I thinned the acrylic ALOT with water in order to achieve this. I put one blob of paint and a ton of water on my plate, and then mixed them until I had colored water, essentially.

The blue parts of the pattern that I created were actually the speedball screen printing ink. These are the least scratchy, stiff or hard elements of the painted dress. I would’ve used only this ink but I didn’t want to have to mix colors the whole time (I only have that kit above of basic colors). They do have lots of other colors pre-mixed but I wanted to spend nothing on making this dress. (No, I didn’t spend one cent!! I used all supplies, fabric, notions, and a pattern that I already had in my stash! Also the fabric was given to me!)

So if I were to do it again, I would use just screen ink OR…….

I would add this to regular acrylic!! I got this for myself for Christma, so that I can do some more fabric painting projects soon. This says you mix an equal amount with your acrylic paint and it makes the paint less stiff (you do need to heat set it) and suitable for fabric/clothing.

Because my dress is wool I will only be dry-cleaning it anyway, or hand washing, so I wasn’t worried about heat-setting it. If you have ever used acrylic paint you know it doesn’t come out of your clothes…. HA!! But the pink dots on the dress which I did not water down nor use this lovely GAC on, are very stiff and rough. Luckily they don’t touch my skin. The dress is also lined at the top!!

I made this print up on a whim and I love how it turned out. And if you love it too, watch out because it may be available on fabric sooooooonnnnn:)

9 thoughts on “Painting Fabric

  1. Lisa Poblenz (patternandbranch) says:

    This is a really interesting process. The one or two times I have painted/stenciled on fabric, I have mixed a fabric medium into my paint so that I could wash it afterward without worrying about it fading over time (or used something made for fabric like the Speedball ink). It didn’t really soften my paint, though, so the GAC is really interesting to see. Thanks so much for sharing this process. It’s so interesting and the end result is really beautiful.

    Like

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