Crafting, Fabric Painting and Design, Uncategorized

Hand-Painting Bamboo Rayon Fabric– The Kalle Shirt

Stop. Wait a minute. Did you say something about painting fabric? AGAIN? Yes, I did. I can’t get enough and I want to tell you as many tips as I can while I am learning myself!

For this project I reached out to Measure Fabric for some supplies and special PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric to do it with. I wanted to try them out! YOU GUYS. Ummmmmmm turns out, just like in painting a real watercolor, the substrate you use can make a huge difference in how the paint is absorbed.

I used Bamboo Rayon and it soaked up that paint like it was a piece of 140 lb Arches cold press paper! I have so many ideas flowing through my mind now that I see the possibilities— I need a whole bolt of this stuff!

I’m going to give you the deets on how I created the lovely shirt I am climbing a stop sign in above. (Because I know you will want to make one too and copy my genius model pose.)


Bamboo Rayon, Large flat brush, medium round brush, thin round brush (size 1-2), Jacquard paints, palette (I use a styrofoam plate or small cookie sheet), and water cup.

STEP 1: IRON THAT DARN FABRIC. I started painting before ironing and it was effecting how the paint was absorbed so do yourself a favor and get those wrinkles out first!!!

I hadn’t learned my lesson yet here—– thus the wrinkles.

STEP 2: Make the rectangle/square background using a large flat brush. How? Get your brush just BARELY wet. Enough to help the paint move, but not so much that it makes the paint watery. Take a gob of paint and put it on your palette, then dip your brush in it. You don’t want a ton on there either (usually I spread the paint around on the palette so I don’t get big uneven globs on my brush).

This is called “dry-brushing” in watercolor. (Even though we put a tad of water– that’s just because of the fabric.) Make a few strokes side-by-side until you get the size rectangle you want.

(I apologize for the darkness of this photo. We’ve had too many days of grey and not enough light through my studio window.)

STEP 3: Once you’ve done a pattern with the dry-brushed square/rectangles (I’m going to call them “squares” from now on because its faster to type and I’m feeling lazy) you’ll add a second layer that is just one stroke on top of the bigger square. THIS stroke is watery though. You need to get a little paint on the brush but a lot of water (okay don’t go overboard but dip those bristles!). Spread the paint and water around on your palette until its a good consistency and evenly on the brush.

STEP 4: Using a round brush and another color of pain, add some leaf shapes! This is achieved with a bit of water on the brush, and a little paint as well. You put the tip of the brush to the fabric and drag it, pressing more of the bristles down as you go so that it gets thicker in the middle. Then release at the end of the shape. VOILA!

STEP 5: in the spaces between the larger rectangles, use a thin brush to make quick short lines.

OPTIONAL STEP 6: I went back in and added watery dots between each square, and on top of the original watery dots that were in the middle of the squares. I mixed the aqua and green paints together with some water to make these. (What you see above was when it was wet so the dots appear much darker.)

DONE! Now time to sew yourself something beautiful! I chose the Kalle Shirt because I’ve only made one and that needed to be rectified. I love sewing patterns more than once because it means all the time taping and cutting out the pattern is eliminated! I can get straight to cutting the fabric. Plus I know how to do it already, so it’s faster.

I made the bands out of quilting cotton so I wouldn’t have to worry about some kind of crazy pattern-matching situation. Plus I love contrast! I also lengthened the front and straightened out the curves a little bit on the pattern pieces.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Let me know if you have any questions and also if you enjoy these types of posts on my blog:) I want to give the people want they NEED;)

13 thoughts on “Hand-Painting Bamboo Rayon Fabric– The Kalle Shirt

  1. Have you had a chance to wash it yet? I am curious about how well the color holds up to washing. It turned out really beautiful!

  2. Kay Cummings says:

    It’s SO COOL!!! What did you do to “seal” the paint? Is it only hand washable …or can it go in the washing machine?

  3. picknstitch says:

    Thank you so much for this clear tutorial with details! The whole project is adorable, and I’m feeling really motivated to try it for myself. Thanks again for being so generous in sharing your creativity.

  4. katiekortman says:

    The fabric paint is in the fibers and won’t come out! Sometime I use normal acrylic and then a special medium (see previous posts) that I have to iron the fabric afterwards to “seal it,” but not with this stuff!

  5. katiekortman says:

    oh! YOu’re welcome!! I hope you DO paint some fabric! Its really exciting!

  6. katiekortman says:

    yes! It held up perfectly!

  7. elin says:

    This is wonderful! I have been thinking and plotting about fabric painting for garments. You are very encouraging! 🙂

  8. Kellie Wolke says:

    This is so cool! The link for the bamboo rayon doesn’t seem to be working, though. Is the link wrong, or is the website it links to just out of whack?

  9. katiekortman says:

    It looks like they sold out for the moment!! But they always keep it in stock so I’m sure they’ll get more in!

  10. katiekortman says:

    ITs back in stock!

  11. Cynthia Padilla says:

    That is adorable!! Thank you for sharing!

  12. PoundCake says:

    Aww Arches 140 cold press used to be my go-to (I use Arches 90 lb hot press now since I could never get yellows to scan cleanly on the cold press paper and I deliver work digitally). <3 I do miss how toothy it is! This looks like a ton of fun!

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