Category Archives: Series – fabric painting paints & supplies

All posts on fabric painting supplies and tools and how to use them

No 70 – Series: Fabric Painting Supplies – Special Fabric Paints, Part 3 – Fabric Spray Paint

Fabric Spray Paint – A flexible way to create & enhance designs/backgrounds on fabric

Dear friends of Your Colourful Mind,

This is the last post of our little series on special fabric paints.

In the first two posts of the series we focused on fabric markers (Post No 68) and fabric liners (Post No 69).

Now we discuss the characteristics and application opportunities of fabric spray paint.

What is fabric spray paint and how do we apply it?

Fabric spray paints belong to the category of special fabric paints which are designed for and inseparably combined with a special application method, – in this case the spraying method.

Fabric spray paint comes in bottles which contain thin paint. We can buy fabric spray or prepare our own in a plastic bottle with a spray nozzle.

Depending on the spraying distance (and the nozzle size), we can create fine spray mist or an intense colour layer.

The spray mist will not only land on your fabric but also on the surfaces around it. 🙁

Thus it’s very important to cover the working area well with newspapers or an old blanket or similar.

And if we work outside, we should be aware that windy conditions can make accurate spraying difficult to impossible: the spray mist is carried away with the wind. 🙂

How can we use fabric spray paint in fabric painting projects?

Fabric spray paint is ideal for freehand spraying, stencilling and some other techniques.

It offers many different opportunities for the creation of unique designs or for the embellishment of apparel (and décor).

  • Fabric spray can be used to paint large areas of fabric evenly. 

This is especially useful if you wish to paint on a light-coloured fabric but need a more colourful background.

We spray the whole fabric or parts of it with one or more spray paints, and let the paint layer dry before we apply another technique on it.

  • Fabric spray paint can be used to change/correct the colour of our clothes.

Some time ago we have already seen how easy it is to give our clothes a new outlook with the help of spray paint (Post No 25).

And it also supports us if we are not so happy with the results of our fabric painting projects (Post No 11).

  • Fabric spray can be used to create resist effects

with the help of stencils, masking tape or pieces of cardboard and other objects which are placed on the fabric.

In this case, certain areas are omitted when spraying, which allows to create patterns and designs in an easy and quick way.

Have a look at some examples in Post No 13 and No 66.

We should make sure that the stencilling materials lie flat on the fabric (e.g. by using a stencil adhesive spray) to avoid paint slipping under the stencil,

And before we start spraying, we have to cover those areas on the fabric with papers that are not to be painted.

  • Fabric spray paint can be used to apply tie dye techniques

We first tie off individual sections of the fabric with cotton threads, then spray the fabric with one or several colours and leave it to dry. After drying we remove the threads.

And repeat the spraying process if we want stronger effects.

The next post will present an example of the tie dye technique.

How do we set the spray paint?

We should strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions because they strongly differ from one brand to the other.

Some brands offer sprays which don’t have to be heat-set and are set after 3 days of drying time. Other allow heat-setting in the oven or suggest ironing.

Get inspired, have a look at the “Fabric Spraying Projects” in our Gallery!

 

The following examples will also be added to the Gallery:

fabric-spraying-on-t-shirt-simple-shapes-on-sprayed-background
post70-fabric-spraying-on-t-shirt-simple-shapes-on-sprayed-background
fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-creating-texture-with-fabric-spray-paint
Post70-fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-creating-texture-with-fabric-spray-paint
fabric-painting-on-childrens-t-shirt-tape-stencils-spray-paint
post70-fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-tape-stencils-spray-paint
fabric-spray-paint-on-t-shirt-for-simple-fast-designs
post70-fabric-spray-paint-on-2-t-shirt-for-simple-fast-designs

 

 

 

The next post will present two further spray paint project examples.

In both cases we will first apply fabric spray paint to create a nice and colourful background before we then use stamps and stencils to add a pattern design.

 

What are your experiences with fabric spray paints? Would you like to share them with us?

Please, send images of your work to margot@your-colourful-mind.com.

And don’t forget to SIGN UP TO OUR BLOG TO RECEIVE A SHORT EMAIL WHEN A NEW POST IS PUBLISHED. This helps to make sure that you don’t miss out on any new project presentations and discussions.

Cheers,

signature - Margot

 

No 69 – Series: Fabric Painting Supplies – Special Fabric Paints, Part 2 – Fabric Paint Liners

Creating colourful drawings with FABRIC PAINT LINERS

Dear friends of Your Colourful Mind,

Last time we started our little series on special fabric paints with the discussion of the capabilities and limitations of fabric markers (Post No 68).

Fabric markers are not the only type of special fabric paints which are designed for and inseparably combined with a special application method.

Today we have a closer look at fabric spray liners, next time we will focus on the different uses of fabric paint spray.

What’s a fabric paint liner?

A fabric liner is a little squeezable bottle filled with paint and with a tip at the top.

The drawing or writing is done by directly leading the tip over the fabric while carefully squeezing the bottle.

A liner can be used in similar ways as a fabric marker and is especially suitable for creating special highlights, embellishments and lettering on plain fabrics or on painted fabrics.

Can we create our own fabric liner?

Some fabric paint brands offer fabric liners ready to use in squeezable bottle, but we can also create our own liners by filling fabric paint into a squeezable bottle with a nozzle.

It might need some experimenting to find out how liquid/diluted the paint has to be.

Why does the application of liners need some practice?

Depending on the quality/characteristics of the fabric and on the difficulty of the design, it can be a bit challenging to do the lines or drawings very accurately with a fabric liner.

If you squeeze too little, the line remains thin or contains breaks, if you squeeze a bit too strong, the line immediately becomes thicker or you even might smudge it.

To make sure that the paint is flowing nicely and predictably, you can start by doing a short line on a piece of paper or paper towel before moving the tip of the bottle over the fabric.

 Here are some examples of fabric paint liner projects:

fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-doodling-with-fabric-paints-liners
post 69-fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-doodling-with-fabric-paints-liners

 

fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-drawing-outlines-with-fabric-paint-liner-then coloured in with paint brush & fabric paints
post 69-fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-drawing-outlines-with-fabric-paint-liner-then coloured in with paint brush & fabric paints
fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-drawing-outlines-with-fabric-paint-liner-then coloured in with paint brush & fabric paints
post 69-fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-drawing-outlines-with-fabric-paint-liner-then coloured in with paint brush & fabric paints-example 2
fabric-painting-on-jeans-drawing-outlines-with-fabric-paint-liner-colouring-in-with-fabric-paints
post69-fabric-painting-on-jeans-drawing-outlines-with-fabric-paint-liner-colouring-in-with-fabric-paints

Have you worked with fabric paint liners already?

You might wish to share your experiences with us. Send images of your work to margot@your-colourful-mind.com. Thank you!

And don’t forget to SIGN UP TO OUR BLOG TO RECEIVE A SHORT EMAIL WHEN A NEW POST IS PUBLISHED. This helps to make sure that you don’t miss out on any new project presentations and discussions.

Cheers,

signature - Margot

No 68 – Series: Fabric Painting Supplies – Special Fabric Paints, Part 1 – Fabric Markers

What should we know about special fabric paints such as fabric markers, liners or spray paints?

Dear friends of Your Colourful Mind,

We discussed the types and characteristics of fabric paints some time ago (see Posts 52, 55 and 57) already.

Today we have a closer look at special fabric paints.

Fabric paint applicators

Paint brushes are the traditional and most frequently used paint application tools but they are, of course, not the only option available if we wish to transfer paint/colour to fabric.

Craft shops offer different special fabric paints which are designed for and inseparably combined with a special application method, e.g. fabric markers, liners and spray paints.

We will use this and the next posts to have a closer look at special fabric paints and to discuss their capabilities and limitations.

Fabric markers

Fabric painting with a fabric marker rather than brush/paint is particularly useful when it comes to painting thin lines or doing lettering.

The Christmas t-shirt was completely designed with fabric markers. First the letters were freehand-drawn with markers, then coloured-in with markers.

fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-lettering-with-markers - example Merry Christmas
post 68 – fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-lettering-with-markers – example Merry Christmas

 

We can also use markers for stencilling and stamping. And they make it easy to colour in smaller areas of the design.

The following t-shirt with its stencilled design is a good example.

fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-stencilling-with-marker
post 68 – fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-stencilling-with-marker

 

fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-preparing-stencilling-with-marker-1
post 68 – fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-preparing-stencilling-with-marker-1
fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-preparing-stencilling-with-marker-2
post 68 – fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-preparing-stencilling-with-marker-2

Thus, markers are helpful tools if we wish to transfer a design idea onto the fabric.

If we then wish to reinforce the outline of the design, we can re-do it with a paint brush and fabric paint.

The colouring-in of the design can be done with markers, or, if bigger areas of fabric are to cover, with fabric paint and brushes.

Fabric markers come in various sizes, they can have thin or thick or even brush-style tips.

The smoother the fabric and the finer the grain, the easier it is to draw with a marker.

During the drawing you should not leave the marker’s tip on the fabric when you pause because the colour might bleed out. Lift the marker as soon as you stop drawing.

Similar to “permanent” markers but available in much more colours, fabric markers don’t wash out, although many brands require heat setting.

Fabric markers come in various sizes, they can have thin or thick or even brush-style tips.

Some brands offer just a few different colours, others a broad and colourful range of different types of markers. Unfortunately, the better ones are also the more expensive markers. 🙁

Testing different brands over a longer period showed that after 10 washings nearly all marker paintings had lost a lot of their original colourful power.

fabric-painting-with-markers-colour-durability-test-on-2-tea-towels
post 68 – fabric-painting-with-markers-colour-durability-test-on-2-tea-towels

 

But if we choose quality markers the colour quality is nearly as bright and strong and durable as that achieved with regular fabric paints.

The following test compares the colour-durability of quality markers and of fabric paints.

First the design outline was traced with a marker. We drew the same design on two white tops.

fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-design-tracing-with-marker
post 68 – fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-design-tracing-with-marker

On one shirt the colouring-in was done with markers, on the other with brush and fabric paints.

fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-colouring-in-one-with-markers-and-one-with-paints
post 68 – fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-colouring-in-one-with-markers-and-one-with-paints

After 3 washings, both tops haven’t lost much of their colour-strength:

fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-colouring-in-with-markers-paints-comparison after 3 washings
post 68 – fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-colouring-in-with-markers-paints-comparison after 3 washings
Further examples of fabric marker projects:
Example 1

A ruler helped me to draw the lines with a marker, then I filled the squares with some simple shapes and patterns, and finally I coloured them in, using different brands of fabric markers.

fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-designed-with-marker-freehand-drawing-then coloured-in
post 68 – fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-designed-with-marker-freehand-drawing-then coloured-in

 

 

Example 2

Here, the lines and the circle shapes are freehand drawings, done with a marker. The colouring was done with paint brush and fabric paints. Finally, the shirt was sprayed with fabric spray paints.

fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-drawing-shapes-with-marker-then coloured in with fabric paints and brushes
post 68 – fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-drawing-shapes-with-marker-then coloured in with fabric paints and brushes
 Example 3

In this case, geometric foam shapes were used as simple stencils. I placed them on the t-shirt and draw around their edges with a fabric marker. Again the colouring was done with paint brush and fabric paints, and the work was finished with some fabric paint spraying.

fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-drawing-shapes-with-marker-then coloured in with fabric paints
post 68 – fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-drawing-shapes-with-marker-then coloured in with fabric paints

 

What are your experiences with fabric markers? Have you worked with different brands?

Send images of your work to margot@your-colourful-mind.com. Thank you!

And don’t forget to sign up to receive new blog posts via email. This helps to make sure that you don’t miss out on any new project presentations.

Cheers,

signature - Margot

No 57 – Series: Fabric Painting Supplies – Fabric paints – Overview, Part 3

Can we mix fabric paints? If yes, – how should we do it?

How can we take care of our paints? And of our painted fabrics/garment?

Dear friends of Your Colourful Mind,

In recent posts we already learnt some useful facts about fabric paints.

Today, we focus on part 3 of the

Three posts to study Fabric Paints:
  • Fabric paints, Part 1: Which types of paint can we use for fabric painting? Which are the differences? – Post 52
  • Fabric paints, Part 2: What’s the relationship between different fabric painting techniques and paints? Which characteristics of fabric paints are especially important? – Post 55
  • Fabric paints, Part 3: Can/Should we mix paints? How can we take care of our paints? And of the painted fabric?TODAY

Can we mix paints to get custom colours?

Most textile paint brands offer a wide variety of colours which in most cases makes mixing unnecessary. But, of course, if custom colours are needed, the ready-made paint colours can be mixed and an infinite number of shades can be produced.

It is not recommended to mix different brands together, since each one is formulated differently.

The colour mixing can be done by pouring colours into a clean plastic cup or palette and then mixing them using a paintbrush or other tool. The lightest colour should be poured first and then slowly darker colour can be added and stirred until the desired shades are show up.

It is better to mix too much than too little colour. If not enough is mixed to finish the project, it might be difficult to replicate a custom colour. If some custom-mixed paint is left, it can be kept and used in another project again.

The same applies to the dilution of paints: diluting paints in a very accurate and replicable way is not easy. Thus, if bigger areas of fabric are being painted or if a diluted paint colour is needed again and again, it makes sense to prepare and keep a bigger amount of diluted paint in a plastic bottle.

Are painted fabrics machine washable?

Nearly all fabric paints and also the textile-medium-acrylic mixtures allow machine washing of the painted fabric, as soon as the paint has been heat-set.

Only a few brands offer paints which don’t need head-fixing. The manufacturer’s directions should be followed.

Those directions usually also inform about how long the paint should be left to dry after the painting and before the fixing process: often several hours, but sometimes even days.

Most instructions demand that the heat-setting has to be done by ironing the fabric with a dry iron, sometimes it is recommended to put the fabrics in a clothes dryer for some time, or fixing of the paint in the oven is possible.

An alternative to the different heat-setting methods is to allow the paint to cure for a long period, such as some weeks, before washing the fabric for the first time.

After the heat-setting the painted fabrics should be washed separately, once. After that, they usually can be machine washed together with other clothes, up to 40° or 60° C.

It is recommended to wash and iron the painted fabric from the reverse: Wash and iron inside out.

How can we take care of the paints?

The paints themselves are sterile, thus if contamination is avoided, they can be kept for years.

For each painting process, the amount of paint needed should be poured on a palette or, if it is planned to dilute it with water, into a container.

Water or medium should never be poured into the paint bottle or jar, also never should brushes or other tools be dipped into the original container.

If paint is left after the painting, it should not be poured back but into another little container with a lid.

This is, at least for the moment, the end of our studies of fabric paints. Do you have any further questions? Please, don’t hesitate to send them in! Fill in the comment-form below or send your email to margot@your-colourful-mind.com.

Make sure that you don’t miss out on future discussions and project presentations:SIGN UP TO RECEIVE NEW BLOG POSTS VIA EMAIL  .

Have fun with your fabric painting projects, and share images of the results with us  :),

signature - Margot

 

No 55 – Series: Fabric Painting Supplies – Fabric paints – Overview, Part 2

What’s the relationship between fabric painting techniques and different types of paints?

Dear friends of Your Colourful Mind,

In the first part of our posts on fabric paint, we talked about acrylic paints and special fabric paints and discussed their differences.

We still have to go through two further posts of the sequence of

Three posts about Fabric Paints:
  • Fabric paints, Part 1: Which types of paint can we use for fabric painting? Which are the differences? – Post No 52
  • Fabric paints, Part 2: What’s the relationship between different fabric painting techniques and different types of paint? Which characteristics of fabric paints are especially important? – TODAY!
  • Fabric paints, Part 3: Can/Should we mix paints? How can we take care of our paints? – Post No 57

Today, we continue studying fabric paints by answering the questions of part 2:

What’s the relationship between different fabric painting techniques and different types of paint? Which characteristics of fabric paints are especially important?

In our broad overview of fabric painting techniques we learned that at the beginning of each fabric painting project we have to decide whether we wish to work with a dry or with a wet technique.

short table referring to fabric paints

 

As this excerpt of our table from post No 50 shows us, the decision has to be made so early because we have to know whether we will create our design on wet or on dry fabric before we can choose the right type of paint.

Different categories of fabric paints

Fabric paints can be differentiated based on their consistency: their degrees of opacity and viscosity determine how we can use and apply a fabric paint.

The range goes from very thin or diluted paints via transparent paints to opaque and usually thick paints.

Thick vs. Thin Fabric Paints (viscosity)

  • Thin paints have the consistency of water which makes them malleable and easy to brush or spray onto the fabric.
  • A thinner paint also is softer to the fabric and less stiff after drying.
  • Thin paints are always transparent (but not all transparent paints are thin paints).
  • Transparent paints and even opaque paints – which usually have a thick consistency – can become thin paints when diluted with water.
  • It might need some experimenting to find the right degree of dilution with water for the different painting techniques.
  • Auxiliary mediums such as a fabric medium or a colourless extender can also be used with fabric paints. They make thicker paints more spreadable and extend the working time before the paints dry.
  • Thinner paints may not have the colour-saturation of thicker paints.
  • Thinner paints take longer to dry.
  • Thin paints tend to bleed into the fabric and the colours around them, which makes them perfect for water-colour projects. The disadvantage is that we have little control where thin paint flows, the paint can seep out into areas on the fabric where we don’t want it.
  • For direct painting techniques such as stamping, printing or (freehand) painting, thicker paints are better: they don’t bleed/blend and stay where we applied them. Their disadvantage is that the thickness makes it more difficult to spread the colour evenly over larger areas of fabric.

Transparent vs. Opaque Fabric Paints (opacity)

  • Transparent and opaque paint behave differently and their typical characteristics have different effects on the painting results.
  • Most fabric paints are transparent. If the label doesn’t say otherwise, the paint more likely is transparent than opaque.
  • Transparent paints sometimes can have a thicker consistency but usually transparent paints are thinner than opaque paints.
  • The degree of transparency can be increased by transforming thicker transparent into thin(er) paints. (see above)
  • On light-coloured fabrics and on layers of light colour, transparent paints help us to create subtle effects. They don’t cover the colour and shapes beneath, instead they let them shine through.
  • On dark-coloured fabrics or on dark colours, we have to use opaque paint which completely covers the colour beneath. There is no transparency and we can’t see through a layer of paint we have applied onto the fabric.
  • Adding water to opaque paint will not only lighten the colour but also lessen the paint’s opacity. If this is not desired, white colour can be used to lighten the opaque paint.
  • Metallic and pearlescent paints are usually opaque.
  • Although opaque paints can be transformed into thin and transparent paints, they are not suitable for some techniques, e.g. salting or sun printing.

Short summary:

When deciding which type of paint to use, we first have to consider the painting technique and the effects we wish to create.

For example:

  • On dark-coloured fabric we use (thick) opaque paints.
  • On light-coloured fabric we may also use (thinner) transparent paints.
  • We also use transparent paint if the colours or shapes underneath the paint should shine through.
  • If we wish to cover what is underneath we choose opaque paint.
  • A (wet) colourwash technique needs thin paint.
  • Stamping or stencilling should be done with thick paint.
  • etc. 🙂
The best way to understand the relationship between fabric painting techniques and fabric paints is to play around and experiment a lot with different paints.

Of course, in the beginning often the results of our projects might differ from what was on our mind when we started.

But each time we learn a lot and the growing experience and knowledge will also increase the fun! 🙂

What about your experiences? Would you like to share some of them? Just fill in the comment-form below or send images of your projects by email to margot@your-colourful-mind.com.

Also, make sure that you don’t miss any design contribution and learning opportunity: SIGN UP TO RECEIVE NEW BLOG POSTS VIA EMAIL .

Have fun,

signature - Margot