Adding artwork, color, and creativity to fabric can be a fun and useful way to spend an afternoon. Fabric paint comes in all sorts of colors from dark and rich, to pretty and pastel, to glow in the dark highlighter shades. With some fabric paint, an idea, and just a little know how, you will be well on your way to updating and customizing a drab garment in your wardrobe or creating an original piece of art to proudly display in your home or give as an exciting and unique gift.
Before you begin, there are some important things to know about fabric paint and its uses. An equal parts blend of cotton and polyester makes the best surface for fabric painting. However, any washable, natural-blend fabric should do. The material should be washed and dried first, being careful not to use fabric softener. It is advisable to test your paint on a scrap of the material or an unseen area of the garment first as the color of the paint may show up differently on varying fabric colors or textures.
When working with fabric paint, you can paint directly from the bottle holding it like a pencil and squeezing raised lines onto the fabric, or you may opt to use brushes. When painting directly from the bottle, be sure to make contact with the fabric, dragging the tip along its surface. This allows the paint to seep deep into the fibers of the fabric and form strong bonded flex points with the material. You should also only make lines of about three or four inches in length at a time, raise the bottle, and then begin again at the end of the first segment until you have reached the necessary length.
Squeezing fabric paint directly from the bottle can vastly limit your results. Using different types of brushes with fabric paint allows you to create a wider array of visual effects with more precision. Using brushes, you can blend, shade, and fill in areas as well as create clean edges and beautiful flowing lines.
If an air bubble in the paint reaches the tip of the bottle while you are painting, it will pop and cause unwanted paint to splatter outside of the line you are working on that may be followed by an unexpected rush of paint. For this reason, fabric paint bottles should be stored upside down in order to prevent those annoying air bubbles from the forming in the paint. In addition, before you begin painting, you should always firmly tap the tip of the bottle down onto a hard surface, squeeze out just a little paint, and then wipe off the tip. This will help ensure that you get smooth, clean lines free of bubbles or unexpected globs.
You can even use fabric paint in place of glue to set various embellishments of your choosing onto your artwork or garment. Using fabric paint rather than glue allows you to match the paint as close as possible to either the fabric or the embellishment to make it less noticeable. You may also choose to use a contrasting color to add even more depth and personal flare to the design.
If you wish to create that ultra cool paint splatter effect, you will need to mix a little water into the paint to thin it out to the right consistency. Squeeze out some of the desired color and mix water in with a brush until it reaches a light, creamy consistency. Now, hold the paint over the desired area and tap it with your index finger while simultaneously snapping your wrist in a downward motion toward the fabric. You may need to add water if the paint begins to thicken while you are working.
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