fabric-painting-with-markers-featured-image-black-white t-shirt with freehand drawn shapes

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

3 thoughts on “No 68 – Series: Fabric Painting Supplies – Special Fabric Paints, Part 1 – Fabric Markers”

  1. Hi Margo,

    again beautiful examples of fabric painting, this time with the markers.

    Best Ferdi

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