Category Archives: Series – learning effects from fabric painting projects

No 67 – Series: Learning effects from fabric painting projects – How to protect the back side of a 2-sided piece of fabric

An important decision BEFORE you start a T-SHIRT-fabric-painting project:  What’s about its back side?!

Dear friends of Your Colourful Mind,

Whenever we wish to start a new fabric painting project,

We have to prepare the equipment and supplies and tools we might need during the project.

This includes, for example:

  • Deciding on the design and on the technique we wish to apply
  • Preparing the working space, e.g. covering the table with an old blanket or table cloth or with a plastic sheet to protect it from paint stains
  • Washing and ironing the fabric/fashion items we wish to paint
  • Getting the fabric paints and all necessary tools out (what exactly we need very much depends on the technique chosen)

There is one additional preparatory step which is not always but sometimes necessary:

  • Slipping a protective layer into a two-sided fabric item

If we wish to paint a t-shirt or a cushion cover or a similar two-sided piece of fabric, we also have to decide whether and how to protect the back side from the paints which might soak through from the front.

Protecting the back side of a 2-sided piece of fabric

We can use cardboard or plastic sheets or old newspapers or similar objects which have a flat and even surface and can easily be slipped between the two sides of the fabric.

As I mostly paint  t-shirts, I organized a set of plastic sheets which I cut to the right sizes of long- and short sleeves and the t-shirt body.

fabric-painting-plastic-sheet-inside-the-t-shirt-keeps-its-back-clean-here: picture of cut plastic pieces-p67
fabric-painting-plastic-sheet-inside-the-t-shirt-keeps-its-back-clean-1-p67

At the beginning of a new t-shirt project, I place the cut plastic sheet pieces between the front and back layers of the shirt:

fabric-painting-plastic-sheet-inside-the-t-shirt-keeps-its-back-clean-2-p67
fabric-painting-plastic-sheet-inside-the-t-shirt-keeps-its-back-clean-2-p67

 

Working WITHOUT PROTECTING the back side of a 2-sided piece of fabric

Sometimes I am just lazy during my painting preparations and skip this important step. But it also happens that I deliberately decide NOT to use a “paint-soaking-through-protection”.

This decision can have good or at least interesting consequences but it always includes the risk that an otherwise perfectly executed project ends with an ugly back side.

Whenever I work on a t-shirt or shirt which I wish to give as a personal gift to a friend or family member, I don’t risk an unpleasant back side experience.

But with the fabric painting projects I do for myself I am not so cautious.

Here are some examples:
Example 1

The circles were printed with a round foam brush on a WET t-shirt with thin blue fabric paint.

The front side looks good, – the colour bleeding was intended.

fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-wet-fabric-front side
Post 67 – fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-wet-fabric-FRONT side-EXAMPLE 1 for painting without protecting the back side

The back side doesn’t look very nice! Or does it?

fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-wet-fabric-back side
Post 67 – fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-wet-fabric-BACK side-EXAMPLE 1 for painting without protecting the back side 2
Example 2

This is also the result of a wet technique. I used a large paint brush to apply the light-blue paint on the wet fabric. The red pattern was added later, when the fabric was dry.

fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-wet-fabric-front side
Post 67 – fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-wet-fabric-FRONT side-EXAMPLE 2 for painting without protecting the back side

Here, the back side is really ugly. Or, what do you think?

fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-wet-fabric-back- sidep67
Post 67 – fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-wet-fabric-BACK side-EXAMPLE 2 for painting without protecting the back side

Example 3

This is a project which we discussed in Post 60 already, again a wet technique was applied.

fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-wet-fabric-front side
Post 67 – fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-wet-fabric-FRONT side-EXAMPLE 3 for painting without protecting the back side

In this case, the paint went strongly through to the back, and that looks nice, doesn’t it?

fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-wet-fabric-back side
Post 67 – fabric-painting-on-t-shirt-wet-fabric-BACK side-EXAMPLE 3 for painting without protecting the back side

Summary/Learning points:

I can’t say that I “hate” the effects that the paint-soaking had on the back sides of the t-shirts.

But that’s definitely a matter of taste! What do you think about it?

The main learning point here is that

We should always make a clear and deliberate decision:

  • Do we wish to risk
  • or do we want to avoid
  • that the paint from the front side of the 2-sided fabric might soak through to the back?

How do you prepare yourself whenever you work with two-sided fabrics? Help us to learn from you and your experiences!

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

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Cheers,

signature - Margot