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Fabric Painting on Canvas

I love those little bottles of dimensional fabric paint — all the colors, formulas (pearlescent rocks!) and the potential of it all. What I don’t like is its finished appearance when used straight out of the bottle!

You know, those plastic-looking uneven blobby lines sitting on top of the fabric. Ugh.

After having done a few Tulip brand fabric paint demos years ago, I adapted a technique from one of them and came up with my own style. This is version 2. (I’m sure one day version 1 will show up here on the blog!)

Both involve smashing the lines of paint flat with plain paper. Yup, flat. Flat as a pancake. Flatter than a pancake — flat as the fabric!

Then, maybe, going back in and adding the tiniest bit of dimension and detail with the same paint. The t.i.n.i.e.s.t. bit. And it must be done immediately while the first (smashed) layer is wet. Otherwise it peels right off when it is dry. Which I didn’t know when an elementary school juggling club and I made club tshirts one afternoon. :(


These pieces of olive canvas will soon become shopping bags. This is yet another community service project that my quilt guild has going. (*my* quilt guild! :) I feel like I belong now.)

With donated fabric, we stitch up basic totes for the local food bank to distribute. Mostly to the seniors who live nearby who will hopefully bring them back to use the next time, right?

But we don’t want the bags to be boring. We have the time and inclination to make them fun, colorful, and unique.

I know this isn’t a style that everyone will appreciate. It’s messy. It’s loose. A bit out of control. But that’s what makes it work.

Since the guild has a loose schedule for these bags, I brought some home to mess around with a few bag fronts. When I saw the purple fabric with the olive leaves, I knew immediately that I had to use it on this olive canvas.

I really like olive and purple together. All shades of green and purple, actually. I nabbed a piece of fabric from our family’s babysitter when I was in grade school that was purple and green plaid on cream because I liked it so much and she didn’t want it anymore. I don’t know why I came home with it, because I didn’t even sew yet! And green wasn’t even my favorite color then.

Inspired by the purple print fabric, I pulled some colors of paint, transferred a few of the flower designs using dressmakers tracing/transfer paper, and had some creative and messy fun!

Since I have about 2500 sheets of OLD tractor feed printer paper (does anyone know what that is anymore?) I can smash a lot of painted lines.

I’ll try to snap a photo when this one is finally turned into a bag. The purple fabric will be a wide pocket on the opposite side, and a strip of it will also be along the top inside edge of the bag. Although the paint is well cured, I don’t have any stuff to do the straps with!

If you have some of these dimensional paints tucked away somewhere (and you know you do!), try something different with them, like my smash-painting technique. You don’t even need to come up with your own design, but be sure to get creative!

Get creative!


  • Jonhyang - Sehr schรถne Blogs wie Sie Ihre Stoffe mit einer interessanten Weise und mit einem interessanten und wunderschรถnen Farben zu malen. Sie verwenden Sie Ihre eigenen Lieblingsfarben auf Ihre Lieblings-Kleidung zu malen.09.22.2013 – 1:23amReplyCancel

    • admin - Thank you very much for your comments! I enjoyed looking through your products at your website, too. I had forgotten about puff paint; I first used it 26 years ago on a baby T-shirt. I may have to find it again here in the US and play with it. –Gail09.22.2013 – 1:09pmReplyCancel

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