How to Paint Cloth


Painting cloth is a creative way to add an original touch to clothing or a wall hanging, as well as add texture to your art work. Before starting your project, it's important to recognize that painting on fabric is different than painting on paper. While fabric acts as the canvas for your design, it requires special paints and supplies, especially if you plan to wash your garment. Additionally, certain types of cloth are better for painting than others.

Things You'll Need

  • Cloth
  • Textile paint
  • Spray bottle
  • Flat shader paint brush, liner paint brush, scrubber paint brush, foam brush or paint sponge
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Choose a cloth for your canvas. Consider using 100 percent cotton, silk, muslin or a 50/50 cotton/polyester blend for best results. If you have never painted before, don't start with silk because it is an expensive fabric.

  • Pre-wash and pre-shrink your cloth by washing it in hot water and drying it on the hottest setting. Silks are usually dry-clean-only fabrics and should not be pre-washed.

  • Wet the area of cloth you plan to paint using a water-filled spray bottle and lay the cloth on a flat surface. Skip this step if you are painting on silk.

  • Choose one or multiple colors of textile paint. It is very important to use textile paint so that the paint lasts even through washes.

  • Select the type of brush you want to use or use a combination of brushes for different effects. Flat shader paint brushes, liner paint brushes, scrubber paint brushes, foam brushes or paint sponges are the best types of brushes for painting cloth.

  • Create clean edges and leaf strokes, as well as fill in large areas with a flat shader paint brush.

  • Use a liner paint brush to paint long, flowing lines such as scrolls or stems on flowers.

  • Use a scrubber paint brush to blend colors.

  • Use a sponge or foam brush to create a sponge effect.

  • Let the paint dry for 24 hours after after you have finished your design.

  • Iron your painting to make the design permanent.

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  • Photo Credit Ableimages/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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