Jan 172011

Creating Painted Fabric Designs for Fun or in you like, for profit

Once you learn how to paint on clothes or begin  to paint on fabric, it’s as though all other mediums take a second place. To paint fabric in a unique and creative style can become a great (almost addictive) hobby and with a little practice perhaps a lucrative one. One of the great things about this type of  painting is that it is something you can do from the privacy of your home with just a few key fabric painting techniques. Another benefit is that it can be done indoors or outdoors using a small amount of space.

Creating a custom fabric is ideal for the startup or the seasoned artist. The use of wet paint on fabric is somewhat liberating as any little mistake you may encounter can be fixed; whether wet or dry. If the acrylic paint is wet then you may scoop it up and paint over it. If it is dry, you can also paint over it to make it appear as an original part of the design.

The beauty in painting on fabric is that whether you are a skilled artist or just a beginner, you can use paints to create fabulous patterns on the most basic of fabrics. Painting patterns can be as simple asfabric painting techniques geometrics or simply monochromatic color combinations like different shades of pink.

Painting Options

There are a number of  painting options and techniques available today to paint fabric. I’ve dabbled in a number of them. My start was in tee shirt design and then I moved on to texture designing on fabrics with acrylic paints. I use this technique on a number of fabrics to create designer handbags, shoes and more. Although painting with acrylics is my first love, I also want to share with you some general information on painting on silk fabric.

I say silk fabric but you may wish to use an alternate silk-like fabric to create your fabulous designs like I do on occasion. This technique can also be used on linen fabrics. Once the fabric has dried you may wish to highlight some areas with the acrylic paint for extra flavor.

For sometime it seemed as though silk painting was the only means until the advent of acrylic paints.  Some believed silk painting was reserved for a select group of skilled artists, but thankfully that mindset has also changed. With the right material in hand and a few handy tips, we can all have a go at silk painting and really enjoy the process.

Silk Painting

One of the great things about silk painting is that you need no prior training as an artist. In fact, no experience is necessary to enjoy or come up with amazing designs. You can get creative with the application of simple colors or be adventurous with the use of bold colors and shapes.

I believe that one of the most impressive elements of silk painting is the actual silk fabric. Silk, a natural fiber, has an exquisite look and feel all by itself. Coupled with the dyes, the sheen of the silk fabric just beams through.

Although silk painting is easy and you may start out with a plan, that is great. However, the very nature of the silk dyes rarely allows you to stick to your plan. But don’t be alarmed the outcome can be far more attractive than you might have imagined or planned. I absolutely love to watch the dyes flow as they skirt across the fabric.

To add flavor to your silk designs, you can add coarse salt to the wet dye. Try a little first just to see how your dyes react with it. The salt absorbs the dyes, creating the most beautiful designs imaginable. When the dyes dry you may shake the salt off your fabric.

Another nice technique in silk painting is the use of a resist. The resist does just about what its name says. It resists or stops the flow of paint. This is handy if you are painting a leaf or a fish or anything really that you wish to contain in a specific area. Well, in that case you would use the resist to stop the paint from flowing over its boundaries. Resists come in clear and several other colors including gold.

Once you have completed your design and allowed it to dry, follow the instruction of the dye manufacturer for setting the design into the fabric. Once the dyes are set your fabrics become washable and dry cleanable. I’ve used this technique on linen and silk-like fabrics and got some great results. Who says you can’t experiment. You might just come up with some great fabric painting techniques of your own!

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