Dabbling with Fabric Painting

Dabbling with Fabric Painting

I like painting. I like clothes. But I never thought to combine to two, until recently…

It was a total accident that I started to dabble with fabric painting. I had sewn a toile for my self-drafted vest top and, while it fit well, it was bright yellow—not really my colour. I wanted to spruce it up and personalise it, and that’s when the idea of painting came to me.

pebeo fabric paints in carrying box

After a little research, I ordered a Pebeo starter box and some Tulip Glitter paints. I didn’t really know what I was doing but I like to get stuck in! I printed some lettering onto A4 paper, cut it out and used that as a stencil to stipple onto the vest. I liked how it looked but when I removed the paper, horror of horrors, I had smudged black paint all over the front.

I decided to make this into a “feature” and splash, smear and smudge paint all around the lettering. The end result was this Ariana Grande inspired vest top. (‘Into You’ is one of my favourite songs!)

duncan's vest top into you

The vest is so thick with paint, it’s actually quite funny—it’s like wearing a sheet of plastic!

Since my own experiments, I saw a Fabric Painting Workshop advertised on Facebook. It seemed like good value at £20 for the class, which included all the materials plus a blank T-shirt and tote bag to work with. So I signed up and tottered over to CassArt in Angel one wet Sunday.

Hand Painted Club logo and fabric paints

After a quick test run on the tote bag, we turned to the main event—our T-shirt painting. The first step was to stick down our pre-selected stencils, then tape off the rest of the area (to avoid smudges, lesson learned!)

We worked in an unusual style—blindfolded—to let us play about and experiment without intellectualising our colour placement and choices.

fabric painting while blindfolded

My design was a graphic Unicorn and I picked muted colours, a soft grey and shimmering gold. When we took our blindfolds off we were given time to add extra elements and colours.

duncan's unicorn stencil in gold and green

The class was fully booked (one extra, in fact!) and everyone seemed to have loads of fun and we got lots of goodies to go home with!

I would definitely recommend trying out some fabric painting. The kits are cheap and it’s a perfect activity for wet weather days. You could start with just one or two colours either on a home sewn garment, or on an old item you have lying around. If you’re in London and interested to find out more about classes, check out Wojtek’s Facebook page for information about his Hand Painted Club.

To finish off, here is a cheesy little thing I made, totally freehand, in a couple of hours for a Steps concert. *Glitter Alert*

Deeper Shade of Blue fabric painted vest top

Thanks to Wojtek for a fabulous class and for letting me use his photos. (That hand-painted Beetle is amazing!)



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