Painting on fabric can be a fun and easy way to add a personal touch to your clothing, bedding, curtains, or upholstery. But before you start painting on clothing fabric, it’s important to choose the right fabric paint and prepare your fabric properly. Follow these tips for using fabric paint for the best results.
What paint to use on clothes?
Not all fabric paints are created equal. Some are better suited for certain fabrics and projects than others. When choosing a fabric paint, consider the following:
- The type of fabric you’ll be painting.
Natural fibers like cotton and linen absorb the paint better than synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon.
- The project you’re working on.
If you’re painting something that will be used often, like a piece of clothing, choose a paint that’s durable and machine-washable.
- The look you want to achieve.
Some fabric paints produce a matte finish, while others are glossy or metallic.
Choose the right type of paint
Fabric paint is available in a wide range of colors and styles, which can be a bit overwhelming. But it’s not that complicated. The two main types of fabric paints are permanent and temporary. Permanent paint is the best choice for kids’ clothing because it can withstand multiple washes. It’s also good for items that you’re not likely to replace anytime soon, like couch cushions. Temporary paint is best for projects you want to be able to change easily, like a tablecloth that you want to redecorate for each holiday.
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Synthetic fabric paint is made from a synthetic polymer that bonds to fabric fibers. A polymer is a long chain of repeating molecules. Synthetic fabric paint is available in three forms:
Permanent paint: Permanent fabric paint is made with a synthetic polymer that bonds to fabric fibers. This type of paint is an excellent choice for kids’ clothing because it can withstand multiple washes and won’t come off easily.
Heat-set paint: Heat-set paint is made with a synthetic polymer that bonds to fabric fibers when heated. This type of paint is suitable for projects that will be exposed to a lot of wear and tear, such as a tablecloth that you’ll use often or a piece of clothing that will be worn frequently.
Temporary paint: Temporary fabric paint is made with a synthetic polymer that bonds to fabric fibers but can be removed with water. This is the best paint to use on fabric for projects that you might want to change or redecorate in the future, such as a tablecloth that you want to use for different holidays. Just like painting on clothes with acrylic paint! Acrylic fabric paints are a good choice for beginners, as they are easy to use and clean up. They are also relatively inexpensive.
Tips & tricks for your fabric painting process
1. Prepare your fabric
Before you start painting, wash and iron your fabric to remove any dirt, dust, or oils that could prevent the paint from adhering properly. If you’re working with a natural fiber like cotton, you may also want to pre-treat the fabric with a fabric medium to help the paint go on smoothly.
2. Sketch your design
Once your fabric is ready to go, it’s time to start thinking about your design. If you’re not confident in your freehand painting skills, sketch your design onto the fabric with a pencil or fabric marker before you start painting. This will help you stay within the lines and achieve the look you want.
3. Prime your fabric
If you’re working with a light-colored fabric, you may want to prime it with white paint before you start working on your design. This will help ensure that the colors you use show up true to form.
4. Use multiple layers
Fabric paint often looks best when it’s applied in multiple thin layers, rather than one thick layer. This allows the paint to better adhere to the fabric and prevents it from looking patchy or uneven.
5. Let each layer dry completely
Before moving on to the next layer of paint, make sure the previous layer is completely dry. If you’re working with multiple colors, you may want to use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process.
6. Use a sealant
Once you’ve finished painting, seal your design with a clear fabric sealant to help protect it from wear and tear. If you’re painting something that will be washed often, choose a sealant that’s machine-washable.
7. Heat-set your design
If you’re working with a natural fiber like cotton, you’ll need to heat-set your design to prevent the paint from washing out. To do this, simply place a piece of parchment paper over your design and iron it on the hottest setting for two minutes.
8. Pre-wash your fabric
If you’re painting something that will be washed often, like a piece of clothing, pre-wash the fabric before you start painting. This will help the paint adhere better and prevent it from washing out.
9. Paint in a well-ventilated area
When working with fabric paint, it’s important to paint in a well-ventilated area. Some paints contain harmful chemicals that can be damaging to your health if inhaled.
10. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your fabric paint. This will ensure that you’re using the paint correctly and getting the best results.
Now that you know the basics of fabric painting on clothes, you can experiment with different techniques to create your own unique designs. Have fun and be creative!