Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hand Painting Fabric Using a Stencil DIY

I wanted to share with all of you a great technique for printing a graphic on an existing garment using a stencil. This project is a nightgown I printed a light blue flock of birds on in a diagonal to create the look of an already printed fabric. To have a more organic look you can print your image as randomly as you want. 

graphic image
medium weight plastic or velum to make the stencil
exacto knife
fabric paint
sponge or paint brush

Step by step:
1. First, create a graphic that does not have too much fine detail. I chose a graphic representation of a bird in flight. I drew it on a piece of paper and cut it out to make sure the scale was correct. You can also use a pre-made stencil which you can buy at most craft stores.
2. Then I traced my paper image onto a medium weight plastic sheeting and cut it out using an exact knife. You can get plastic at most arts or crafts stores, velum can also work. You want the material to withstand multiple paint applications so avoid using paper or cardboard which will absorb the paint and may distort your image.
3. I then marked on my garment where I wanted to print each bird. I marked the fabric with a straight pin where the center of the stencil will be. You don't have to mark your layout if you want to be spontaneous and make the pattern random. 
4. Now it is time to start printing! Lay out your garment with a piece of paper inside so the paint doesn't' leak through and get on the wrong side of your garment. Lay your stencil where you want your image and hold it flat to the garment and start painting using a sponge or paint brush depending on your preference. The sponge will give a nice 'distressed' look while a paint brush will make a very solid image. I like to use Jaquard fabric paints which are a nice thickness for stenciling. You can also use acrylic paint and add some fabric painting medium so it won't wash out of your fabric. You don't want your paint too watery as it will leak under the stencil and distort your image. Always do a test pint on a scrap piece of fabric before you start printing on your real garment.

5. After you are finished painting one side of the garment let paint dry completely. Flip the garment to the other side keeping the piece of paper inside the garment. Print the other side and let the whole garment dry for 24 hours.
6. Now it is time to heat set the paint so it doesn't wash out. You can either heat set using a hot iron or throwing the garment in a hot dryer for 30 minuets, home dryers are not hot enough so go to a laundry mat. When ironing use a press cloth between the garment and the iron and move iron in small circular movements over each printed image for 10 seconds each. Now you have a custom made hand printed garment! So cute and easy!

I have more fun fabric painting techniques I will post in the next coming weeks so check back for more DIY tutorials!

posted by Sarah

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