Fabric Painting: 3 Easy Steps
Fabric Painting is a great school project for Mother’s Day scarves or classroom banners. It is also a consistent collectible at artisan markets.
• Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow fabric paint in your choice of colours – available in assorted sets and class packs. Single colours are available in 2 oz and 8 oz sizes.
• Any lightweight fabric: Dye-Na-Flow works on both natural and synthetic fibers.
• Pencil OR Auto-fade Pen
• Soft synthetic paint brush
• Jacquard Water-based Resist, clear OR Jacquard Metallic Permanent Resist OR PÉBÉO Outliner
• Squeezable applicator for resist and metal tips (or a plastic syringe)
• Iron for heat setting fabric paint
• Synthrapol for washing fabric (optional)
Preparation: Prewash fabric to remove dirt, starch, and sizing.
Painting with Dye Na Flow is fun for accidental colour theory. For best results and to prevent muddy colour mixes have students select only warm or cool colours. The above example shows analogous colours, which are three or four colours adjacent to each other on the colour wheel. Examples: yellow, orange, red or yellow, green, blue.
- Simply apply Dye Na Flow to prewashed fabric with a brush, squirt bottle, sponge, or airbrush.
- Let dry.
- Iron fabric for 3 minutes on dry setting appropriate or fabric.
- Wash in cool water with Synthrapol and rinse.
In the resist technique, lines are drawn on the fabric with Jacquard Water-based Resist or Pebeo Gutta and the Dye-Na-Flow is applied within these lines. The fabric paint will flow and spread on the fabric until it reaches the resist lines. The resist acts as a boundary between colours much like lead in a stained glass window. These islands of colour can be blended, highlighted or accented with other colours. Download this project Idea
- Draw your design with an auto-fade pen onto the fabric OR place an easy-to-see (e.g., marker) drawing behind your fabric and trace it with a pencil.
- Pour the Water-based resist or Gutta into a plastic applicator bottle with a metal tip.
- Hold the resist bottle like a pencil. Gently squeeze the bottle until the resist begins to flow. It is a good idea to practice on a separate piece of fabric until you get the feeling of drawing smooth, flowing, continuous lines.
- Begin drawing your pattern. Move steadily, but not so quickly that you leave gaps in your lines. All lines must be connected, or the paint will bleed through the gaps in the resist line.
- Once you have completed the design, carefully examine the lines, making sure the resist has penetrated through to the back. Fill in any gaps. Let the resist dry completely. Use a hair dryer to speed drying time.
- Mix and apply the paint. Although Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow is available in 30 colours, you can also mix your colours. Using the colours full strength will yield the brightest shades. For less vibrant colours or for watercolour washes, the dyes can be mixed with up to 25% water.
- Dip your brush gently into a colour. Touch the brush to the fabric about 1/2” from the resist line. The dye will migrate the rest of the way. Paint all areas inside the resist lines. For large areas, work quickly painting the colour from corner to corner. Always work wet to wet. Never go over a dry area.
- After you have finished your piece, let dry completely. Heat set according to instructions.
A beautiful starburst affect can be achieved by sprinkling salt over the fabric while the Dye-Na-Flow is still wet.
- Paint, squirt or sponge the Dye-Na-Flow on the fabric in an all-over pattern.
- Sprinkle the salt onto the fabric. The salt should be applied immediately while the fabric is still very wet. The salt crystals will begin to soak up the dye as it dries.
- Let the salt sit on the fabric until the paints are dry.
- Brush the salt off the fabric.
Kim Fjordbotten (August 2020) As owner of The Paint Spot, Kim Fjordbotten is passionate about helping artists use materials and make art. She is available as a speaker and educator for teachers and art associations. The Paint Spot offers exhibitions, workshops, and beautiful art materials to inspire your creativity.
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