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Category: How do I paint on different types of surfaces?

Question: How do I paint on fabric?

Answer: Painting on fabric can be a lot of fun! One of the most important things to remember is to stay relaxed. When I teach a fabric painting class, I always start with my students practicing on white cotton fabric (or even an old sheet will work!). This way, you get a ‘feel’ of how the paint and brush move on the surface. Always pre-wash the fabric before you begin in order to remove the sizing.

Lucky for us, there are several options from which to choose when painting on fabric. This makes practicing on an old piece of fabric that much more important. This way, you can decide which method you like best!

1. Plaid Textile Medium. You can either mix the medium directly into your paints or dip our brush into the medium before you pick up your paint (similar to the way Floating Medium is used). At this point, you can paint your design. One thing you might find it the fabric is a bit stiff after it’s been painted (even after it is washed).

2. Water. That’s right! You can use plain water to paint the design on your fabric. Dampen your fabric before you before you begin. Now, “loosen” your paint with water and paint your design. When you use this technique, you will get a more watercolor appearance. The edges of the design will be more blurred. If you want it to be more defined, when dry, you can use a permanent marker (e.g. a Sharpie pen) to outline the design.

3. DecoArt So Soft Paint. These are wonderful paints that remain soft after they have been placed on the fabric. The paints are used directly from the bottle. They are nice and creamy and coverage is usually with one coat.

4. Final Coat. Final Coat can be used mixed with paints as a textile medium. The paints will remain flexible and the colors vibrant.

Remember to heat set the paint. Use an iron on the hottest setting. Prevent the paint and fabric from burning by placing a cloth between the fabric and the iron. Or, it can also be heat set by placing the garment in a clothes dryer at the highest setting.

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