How To Do Fabric Painting

How To Do Fabric Painting

Opening Statement

While looking through your closet, you might come across some of your old clothes and new ideas start to pop up in your mind to give those worn-out fabrics a touch of creativity.

Okay! Okay! All this fabric painting might sound like it is not your cup of tea. But by following all the small steps carefully, fabric painting is amazingly effective and simple with the correct choice of pain materials.

In this article, we will be showing the most important topics that are very necessary to be considered.


Choice of Right Fabric

Before starting to paint on the fabric it is very essential to have a nice knowledge about the paint materials and also the fabric itself. The ones who want to start with fabric paint are the ones who are very practised and can paint clothes, pillows, shoes, etc. and they can make everything extraordinary in paintings.

The best benefit of painting a piece of fabric is that we know the fabric is environmentally safe and we own that piece. Painting on fabric can increase the sale of clothes which helps the local fabric businesses.


Which Fabrics to use?

We know that there are so many varieties of fabric materials and their fibres and texture also differ from each other following their material quality. If you are a new crafter then it is very much important to get all the basic knowledge of fabrics and their characteristics.



As a new fabric painter, you may have quite a list of questions regarding it like “will the paint wash off?” “will the paint crack after a few washes?”, etc. But if you know the paint colours and materials very well then the type of fabric will not be your concern.


Natural Fabric

It is correctly concluded by the art experts that paints do not stay on synthetic fabrics as they stay on natural fabrics. Cotton, wool, linen and silk are considered the best options for fabric paintings.

Occasionally the paints may start to spread and they even blend with the fabric surface these paints dry and hold the colour for a long time. Natural fabrics have the characteristics to hold most types of paints onto them.


Synthetic Fabrics

Synthetic fabrics like nylon, denim, canvas and polyester contain a high amount of chemicals for holding together the fibres. Because of this reason, the chemicals of the synthetic fabric will not be so helpful in binding the paint to the fabric. To avoid these problems it is highly suggested to wash the fabrics before using them to remove the chemicals.

From the synthetic materials, Denim is said to be a great option for fabric paintings for its versatility with paints. Denim is very durable and has the ability to hold onto the paint for a long time.


Type of paints which can be used for fabric painting

Paints add such an incredible touch to your items, don’t they? But unfortunately, not all paints are appropriate for every type of fabric, for which it is very necessary to make the selection of fabric first and then go for the selection of paints.

In the initial stage of learning fabric painting, you can use dyes, fabric paints, pigments, acrylic paints, inks and other types of paints.


Dyes and Fabric Paints

These two materials act as a very strong medium of bonding the paint and the fabric together, as a result of which, the dyes and fabric paints are the most favourable option for fabric paintings.



Fabric paints are usually used for painting a small or medium portion of fabric, whereas, the dyes use a lot of water and are primarily used for painting a large portion of fabrics. Dyes are also used to create patterns on the fabrics. Dyes and fabric paints are durable, can be washed, are very versatile and do not easily mix with the fabrics.


Acrylic Paints

If you are confused about using acrylic paints in fabric painting? Don’t waste time with that confusion and just go for the acrylic paints, these magnificent paints work best with cotton and denim fabrics.

Another question which may arise is whether the acrylic paint will wash off the clothes or not? Then the answer to your question is, that acrylic paints are very flexible, easy to use, can be afforded, has varieties of colour shades and they are permanent for the fabrics.

The only minus point at this stage is, that these paints can crack easily if they are applied very thickly on the fabric surface. To avoid this kind of situation, try mixing a fabric medium with acrylic paint which helps the paint to stick the fabric.


Inks and Pigments

Usually, most of the inks and pigments are composed of alcohol and work well for painting clothes. These two mediums can easily blend with the fabric because of their small area coverage. But if, these are used in the right way they create a very amazing liquid effect on the fabric surface.

The disadvantage of working with these pigments and inks is that they are not so watery in comparison to the fabric paints and they can fade in long run, as a result again, it becomes a challenging job to work with pigments inks.

On the other hand, Derwent Inktense Paint features highly-lightfast paint ranges pans, pencils and blocks. Once it’s dried the colour is fixed and you can work over the top of it, and, because of its permanent feature, it’s great for using on fabric such as silk and cotton!


Other Paint forms

Fabric markers are the best option for the ones who do not want to have the mess of paints and dyes and all those stuff! But with that, markers are usually used for the detailing of the art or to write a text.

Whereas, spray paints are used for covering huge fabric surfaces and giving them a soft furnished look.


Steps to paint the fabric 

Step 1 - Wash the fabric thoroughly to get rid of any chemicals and dust that the surface might have

Step 2 - Iron the fabric to get a straight and smooth surface for painting

Step 3 - Attach the fabric tightly to a flat barrier so that it stays fixed in one place

Step 4 - Moisten the fabric before you start your painting session.

Step 5 - You are good to go for painting the fabric!


Closing statement

As one of the rules of painting, it is not at all mandatory that you can only paint on paper, you can paint on what so ever surface to pour your heart out in a creative way. The basic steps and points explained will help you start the creative journey of art career and customizing your old faded clothes or fabrics.