FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ABOUT FABRIC PAINTING
Painting on fabric is easier
than ever before! Armed with a couple of great ideas and a surface to paint on, you
can change your existing wardrobe in a flash using a wide assortment of fabric dyes,
pens, color sprays, and dimensional paints to embellish just about
anything! Create a new focal point for your outfit with a hand-painted t-shirt, a pair
of jeans, a jacket, or even a cap! It's easy to make an inexpensive apron
blank into a thoughtful and creative handmade gift. Or use a cloth
bag as your canvas and try your hand at personalizing a bag for every
occasion. You don't have to be an artist , even a freehand splash of color
will make it your own'. Once you get started, you'll be on your way
to the creativity and joy that's in store for you with fabric
Here's a list of some of the most frequently asked
questions from fabric painters that can help you get a greater understanding of the
fun that awaits. You'll find ingenious tips and techniques to make your work a
What is the best fabric to
Select washable natural-fiber and
natural-blend fabrics. For best results, use 50/50 cotton/polyester blends. Test
paint in a hidden area of your garment or yardage to ensure compatibility. Paint
colors may vary on colored or textured
How do I prepare fabric for
Wash and dry new fabric items and
yardage to remove sizing. Do not use fabric softener. Do not skip this step. It is
essential! Place shirt board or waxed paper between fabric layers. Pin fabric in
place for a smooth working surface.
is the best way to paint right from a bottle of fabric paint?
Hold the bottle comfortably in the crook of your hand
like a pencil so you can move it easily along a pattern as you squeeze out lines of
color. Always hold the applicator tip against the fabric, squeeze and drag tip along
fabric surface so that paint seeps into fibers. This is what bonds the paint to the
fabric. Dimensional designs need flex points' on fabric for durability
and movement. Instead of making long continuous lines, make one 3 to 4-inch line at
a time, and pick up the tip and start again by placing the tip just past the end of
your first line. Repeat until you've created the desired
How do I choose brushes for fabric
Choose your brushes by the effect you
want to achieve. Flat shaders feature a chiseled edge that makes them ideal for
creating a clean edge. Flat shaders are also ideal for creating S'
command leaf strokes and for filling in large areas. The liner brush is long or
short tapered and is ideal for creating long, flowing lines such as stems, tendrils
and scrolls. The scrubber generally features round, tapered bristles ideal for
stippling, as well as adding and blending color on
How do I keep air bubbles from
forming as I paint?
First, store the bottle
Dimensional Fabric Paint is equipped with a unique CapStand™ that
allows paint to be easily stored upside-down. Next, tap the bottle firmly (tip
downward) on hard surface. Flush out bottle by squeezing out a small amount of
paint, and wiping tip clean.
What is an
easy way to practice fabric painting?
Preprinted paper towels are great for practicing linework.
How do I vary the type of line I can
paint with dimensional fabric paint?
dimensional lines, hold bottle like a pencil and gently hold tip to the surface,
squeezing and moving bottle over fabric. For raised line work, hold bottle at an
angle, allowing more paint to escape. For flat line work, hold bottle straight up
and down, allowing less paint to escape. To make a comma shape, hold bottle straight
up and down and squeeze out a dot of color, pulling it toward you and quickly
releasing pressure. Paint will naturally form a graduated tip. A comma can quickly
turn into a heart by adding a second comma as a mirror image with tips
What is the best way to transfer
a design onto light colored fabric so that it is ready for
Any line art pattern may be slipped
under fabric. Use a disappearing ink pen to trace over the lines. For multiple
images, move pattern in various places and trace accordingly. Paint over lines and
once painted design is completely dry, spritz water over residual lines of
disappearing ink to remove.
Can I use
charcoal pencil to transfer designs onto light colored fabrics?
Yes. Trace line art pattern using charcoal pencil.
For words and lettering, trace mirror image. Carefully position the pattern,
charcoal side down, on the fabric. Hold the paper in place and rub over lines to
transfer the pattern. Repeat as needed for each motif. Peel back paper to reveal
What is the best way
to transfer designs onto dark colored fabrics?
Using a chalk pencil and the tulle trick', you can easily transfer
any design to dark fabrics. Tape down the line art pattern onto the fabric. Tape
tulle netting over the pattern. Trace the pattern onto the tulle with black
permanent marker. Position tulle netting in place on the fabric and tape it to
secure. Retrace lines with chalk pencil. Remove tulle netting to reveal chalked
lines. (You may also use new Tulip® Bright Lines™ Iron-on Transfers, available
in a wide variety of designs. These iron-ons can be used on both light and dark
How do I add shake-on glitter to
a fabric painted project?
Shake-on glitter is
great for adding an instant touch of sparkle. First, transfer your pattern to fabric
using desired method. Paint as desired. Sprinkle glitter onto wet paint. Let dry for
24 hours. Do not wash for 72 hours.
to I create a combed effect with fabric paint?
The combing technique results in raised ridges of
color that take on different patterns, including zigzags, spirals, swirls and
crosshatching. Here's how: Working in small sections, brush a generous amount
of paint onto fabric. Immediately remove paint with combing tool, combing through
paint in short strokes in different directions to create a variegated look. Wipe off
paint with a paper towel as it builds up on tool. The thickness of the paint
application determines the thickness of the ridges. Repeated combing over the same
area will muddy colors. To avoid this, work from top to bottom or left to right,
combing only once or twice over a single
What is the best way to set
embellishments with fabric paint?
easily set rhinestones, buttons and charms with fabric paint, instead of glue.
Choose your paint to match the fabric or the color of the stone; or choose
contrasting colors for added depth in design. Squeeze a bead of paint about the same
size as the rhinestone onto surface. Place stone on top of paint. Gently tap
rhinestone into paint so that the paint comes up around edges to form a setting. Let
dry flat. Remember, designs with embellishments take longer to dry, so be sure and
allow for plenty of drying time.
seen splattering' on lots of projects; how do I do it?
Splattering in one or more colors is an instant and
fun way to create a colorful background or is a great look by itself! Cut open
plastic trash bags and spread over work surface. Insert paper towels in garment
openings to protect inside of fabric from paint. Mix equal amounts of paint and
water to light cream consistency. Mix thoroughly with brush. Add water as needed to
adjust consistency. Hold brush on bottom third between thumb and middle finger with
index finger extended. Tap firmly. Use index finger to tap brush, while snapping
wrist downward to snap' paint from brush. Splatter fabric with one color,
or for variety, create stripes. Position foil strips across garment. Splatter on
areas between foil. Use same foil strips to cover previously painted fabric, and
splatter remaining areas with second
How do I work with compressed
sponges on fabric?
Compressed sponges are fun
and easy to use. The surface of a compressed sponge is flat and firm enough that you
can easily trace or draw a design onto it. Cut out the shape with scissors, place it
in water and watch it expand! Squeeze desired paint colors in a zigzag onto foil.
Press sponge into desired color to ensure an even coat of paint. Press painted side
of sponge onto fabric, using even pressure. For an additional accent, outline
sponged images with dimensional paint. This technique looks best on white or
How do I create a
sponged background on fabric?
Use sea sponges
to create a sponged background on fabric. With their different textures, sea sponges
are ideal for creating beautiful blended and layered effects. Here's how:
Squeeze desired paint colors and a small amount of water onto foil. Wet sponge;
squeeze out excess water. Gently press sponge into one paint color.
sponge on paper towel to remove excess paint. Gently press loaded sponge onto fabric
in a random pattern. Add a second color randomly in open areas, overlapping to
soften. Blot excess paint on paper towel between colors to prevent muddying. Add a
third color randomly in open areas. Remember, it's easier to add color than to
take color away, so be sure and dab off an adequate amount of paint. It helps to
practice first on a scrap piece of
What is paper printing and how do
you do it with fabric paint?
Create a new look
in hand-stamped designs with only paper and simple line art! Use the line art from
iron-on transfers, coloring books or other printed material. Place blank paper over
design and trace over the lines with dimensional paint. Larger, open designs work
best so that paint colors won't run together. Position painted side of paper in
desired location on fabric. Holding the paper to secure, gently press down over each
painted line to transfer paint to the fabric. Carefully peel back pattern to reveal
printed image. To make multiple patterns, photocopy your design.
What's the best way to use oversized
foam or rubber stamps on fabric?
stamps give you a clean consistent design from image to image. Squeeze desired paint
color onto foil. Tap sponge into paint and sponge evenly to coat stamping surface.
Avoid overloading. Press painted stamp onto fabric, applying pressure evenly on all
areas of stamp. Lift stamp straight up to reveal stamped image. Re-paint stamp to
make additional images. Try using more than one color to create visual interest. If
stamp builds up with paint, clean the stamp with soapy water, let dry and
How can I use real or silk
leaves in my fabric painted designs?
way to achieve the look of nature is with fresh leaves. Squeeze out two or three
complimentary paint colors onto foil. Place leaf, vein side up, on foil. Paint leaf
with all colors, overlapping slightly. Carefully place painted side of leaf on
fabric and cover with a paper towel. Press over entire leaf area, applying even
pressure. Lift paper towel and leaf to reveal stamped image. Repeat steps for added
images, using a fresh leaf each time. Embellish leaf with dimensional paint as
I've heard you can use
fabric paints to create a batik look. How is it done?
Use Tulip® Matte™ Dimensional Fabric Paint as a
resist' to create the subtle decorating looks so popular today. Cut
stencil and peel. Position stencil on fabric and press firmly into place to prevent
paint seeping under the edge. We recommend that you dab on desired Tulip Matte
colors, but any fabric paint finish will be acceptable. Peel off stencil. Let dry.
Choose 3 colors of Ultra Soft™ Tulip paint. Using plastic cups, thin colors
with water to ink consistency. Brush the lightest color randomly over and around the
stenciled motif. Repeat with second darkest color. Fill in remaining areas with the
I have seen watercolor
painting with fabric paints. Is it difficult to do? How is it done?
A watercolor look on fabric results in a
distinctively subtle effect often seen in today's popular looks, and is ideal
for floral designs. A watercolor wash is often used as a soft background
is attractive by itself. The intensity of color depends on the ratio of water to
paint and the thickness of the fabric. Mix desired paint color and water to ink
consistency. The amount of water can be varied to achieve desired intensity of
color. Load brush with this watercolor wash and paint random stripes horizontally,
moving brush from side to side. Holding spray bottle approximately 8-12-inches away
from fabric, spritz water on fabric, making sure it is evenly saturated. Clean the
brush between paint colors, swishing it through water and blotting on a paper towel.
Load brush again with a different paint color, paint and spritz as before. Repeat
the process again to add a third paint color. If necessary, spritz again to
accelerate the spread of paint. For best results, use equal parts paint and water.
Do not use less water than paint. Paint colors generally dry lighter than how they
appear wet. Paint becomes more difficult to spread as it dries. Use a hair dryer to
quickly prevent paint from spreading
How long does it take for fabric
paint to dry?
That depends on how thick the
paint is. For a typical application of Tulip® Dimensional Fabric Paint, allow 24
hours to dry and 72 hours to cure completely before
Do fabric paints need heat
No, most fabric paints, including
Tulip® and Scribbles®
brand fabric paints do not require heat
What is the best way to care for
fabric painted pieces?
For garments, refer to
the care instructions. If painted on yardage, refer to the fabric bolt. If the
garment or fabric can be machine washed, turn inside out and use warm water on
gentle cycle with a mild detergent and fabric softener in a warm rinse. Cold water
may cause fabric paint to crack. Line dry. Do not dry clean. Do not use harsh
detergents or bleach.
If I make a mistake
with fabric paint, what should I do?
paint is still wet, apply rubbing alcohol or use wet wipes containing alcohol. (This
may change the color of some fabrics; test on a hidden spot first.) If you
can't remove paint, embellish your blunder! Use a little artistic license to
add some originally to the design! Or, attach embellishments such as rhinestones,
mirrored appliqués, ribbons, jewels, metal studs or beads to the
How do I remove paint from cloth
after it dries?
Sometimes fabric paint will
peel off a fabric, depending on the fabric content. If it does not peel off, use
acetone to remove, working on a test patch
How do I remove fabric paint from
hair or skin?
Under normal conditions, fabric
paint will peel off skin. If not, repeated washings with a mild soap will remove
fabric paint from skin. Repeated washings with a mild shampoo will remove fabric
paint from hair.
Why won't fabric
paint stick to the fabric I want to paint?
First, make sure you have removed sizing by machine
washing and drying your fabric or garment without fabric softener. Next, when
painting, be sure to touch the tip of the bottle to the fabric, making a better
How do I unclog the tip of my fabric
Remove the tip, rinse in warm
water and poke a T-pin down through the hole making an opening wide enough for the
paint to flow through. If you simply poke a pin through the tip, without removing
the clog, the clog will find its way to the tip again. You may also use
Aleene's® CleanAway to unclog fabric painting tips.
We hope these questions and answers take
some of the mystery out of fabric painting and provide some inspiration to take on a
couple of projects of your own. Happy painting!
here for some project ideas using fabric