Learn Fabric Painting Techniques: The Basics | Rekha Krishnamurthi | Skillshare

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Learn Fabric Painting Techniques: The Basics

teacher avatar Rekha Krishnamurthi, Mixed Media and Digital Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      Types of Fabrics


    • 4.



    • 5.

      Prepare Your Fabric


    • 6.

      Trace The Design


    • 7.

      Stretch The Fabric


    • 8.

      Painting Practice


    • 9.

      Apply Fabric Paints


    • 10.

      Heat Setting


    • 11.

      Final Thoughts and Thank You


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About This Class

In this 30 minute class, you'll learn the basics of fabric painting.  Topics covered in this class include:

  • Best types of fabrics to use
  • How to trace your design onto fabric
  • How to apply textile paint
  • How to embellish your design with metallic color
  • How to heat set your completed design

For your class project, you are encouraged to download the pattern provided, watch each lesson and then put into practice what you just learned. By the end of this class, you’ll have a fabric painted design to add to your project portfolio.  

This class is intended for beginners who want to learn the basics of painting on fabric. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Rekha Krishnamurthi

Mixed Media and Digital Artist


I’m a mixed media/fiber artist, printmaker and digital designer who loves to teach, inspire & empower others to acquire new skills and gain knowledge.

I design and handcraft product that I sell on my website, DivineNY.com, and Etsy .  My product line includes marbled ring dish sets, hand dyed kitchen & table linens, block print wall art, silk painting kits and DIY craft kits.  I'm involved in every aspect of my business - from product design, to product packaging, digital marketing, shipping strategy, writing SEO friendly product titles/descriptions/tags and much more.   There is a lot to do when running a small business and at times it can be overwhelming! But this is what has pushed me to develop streamlined business processes and a strong... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi, My name is Ray Ca. I am a fabric artist, creative designer and creative entrepreneur. I sell heavy products of painting kids and other crap tips on my website, divine dot com, as well as in my FC and Amazon shops. I like to experiment with different kinds of creative techniques, but one of my favorites really is fabric painting. Still painting and fabric dying in this beginner workshop, I am going to show you basic fabric painting. You'll learn the basic elements off fabric painting about fabric paints, how to transfer design onto fabric, how to apply paint onto fabric and then finally have to heat said it as well. For your class project, you will be given a basic design that you can download, and you can use that to follow along with me as we go through each lesson. Let's get started. 2. Class Project: for your class project. I provided you with a very simple pattern to download. You could find it in the view notes section, download and print the pattern and then watch each lesson and put into practice what you just learned. By the end of this class, you will have completed design to add to your project portfolio. And remember to poster completed design to the project board of this class. And if you have your own design idea and you rather use that instead, please go ahead. I would just love to see any creative ideas that you have. 3. Types of Fabrics: and family painting works best on natural fibers such as cotton, burlap or bronze. Still, natural fibres tend to take in the paints and dive very beautifully and evenly, and natural fibres generally have a really nice feel to it. Now. For this class, I will be using cotton muslin to demonstrate fabric painting techniques. 4. Supplies: Now I like to use jacquard textile colors. When I paint on fabric, you can see it comes in a wide range of very beautiful, bright, bold colors. The texture is really great. The it sticks to the fabric really well. And once your fabric print is designed and finished and dried and you need to wash it it it holds well in the wash as well. And D Card also has a line of metallic paints. Lumiere, which I really liked use just add like an embellishment or just a nice touch to my design. If you don't want to invest in the card textile colors, you can use acrylic paint as well. If that's what you have on hand, feel free to use acrylic paint. I have not worked with acrylic paint on fabric, so I would not be able to provide specific guidance on it. But I do know that you can use an acrylic paint, and like I said, my preference has always been the card textile colors. Next, you definitely wanna have a range of paintbrushes. I normally just use paintbrushes that are meant for acrylic painting. You could get them at Michael's or a Blick art or even Amazon on. You probably want to get a whole range of brushes because you will be using multiple brushes, especially as you mixed colors and your blending and things like that. And here's another range of brushes that I got on Amazon. You doesn't want to have a water soluble marker. You can get this on Amazon as well, and this is a great tool to use to outline your design, and it will just sort of disappear. And so it won't interfere with your design once it's painted, so you'll want to get a water soluble marker. I do recommend getting a light bucks, but there are alternatives if you don't want to invest in a light box or you don't have one . When we get to that segment, I will share with you some alternatives. If you don't want to use a light bucks and you definitely want to get just some containers of water, I like to use these small little glass jars. You probably want to get a few containers of water. They could just be in a plastic cup. It doesn't have to be anything too fancy, and you might also want to get a paint tray. You can just, you know, work right out of the paint jars. That's totally fine, but I always like to have a paint trade. This is a ceramic pain tray, but you could easily just use a very simple plastic paint tray. This is handy when you're trying to make some colors or blend colors or thin out colors. You could do that on the pain trade before applying it to the fabric. And then finally, of course, you want to have your cotton fabric, and we'll go more into details about how to prepare your fabric in one of the next segments , and then also you'd have to have your pattern. So I have provided a pattern for you to use for this class in this project. But if you have a different pattern, feel free to use that as well 5. Prepare Your Fabric: so there's three steps involved to prepare your fabric before you start to paint on it. Step one is to wash your fabrics. Opri washing means that it will remove any residue that might be on the fabric, which will then ensure that you have better consistency with the paint when it's applied to the fabric. And but overall it will reduce the risk of blotchy collars, and you can use any mild detergent. But I prefer to use center Paul and my preferred brand is Jacquard, but there are other brands available that you can use. So what is center Paul? Well, it is an industrial strength pH neutral liquid detergent, and I usually prewashed my fabrics in just my regular washing machine. I simply will add a cap full of Simferopol, and you put it into the machine washing and then dried in the dryer, just as I would a regular laundry load. But I do recommend that when you're washing your fabrics for that you're gonna use to paint and die on. You should wash them separately, and don't mix it in with your regular laundry. Do your laundry separately and then wash your fabrics that you're gonna paint on separately now, step to once you have prewashed your fabric and is totally dry. You definitely want Teoh iron your fabric to get out. Get rid of all the wrinkles and you could just iron on a medium heat or cotton setting to make sure all the wrinkles are removed. Now for 1/3 step in preparing our fabric is that for this particular class, I want us to use fabric pieces that air cut down to size that are 8.5 by 11 inches, and that's just the size of regular printer paper. So go ahead and take a piece of printer paper and place it on your fabric and then using the water soluble marker. Or you could even use a pencil in this case because we're just gonna outline the edges. But I'm just going to use a water soluble marker, and then I'm gonna just mark my edge so I know where to cut and we'll have ah, a few pieces of fabric that are 8.5 by 11 inches, and that's what we're gonna work with for or a project for this class. So go ahead and cut your fabric down to size. Okay, so you should now have three fabric pieces that have been cut down to size to 8.5 inches by 11 inches. And having I recommend having three cause one will be for our design that we're gonna paint onto one of these pieces. A second piece of fabric will be for us to practice brushstrokes, and then the third piece is just extra in case we needed, in case we want to test what the color looks like on a fabric piece of for applying it. Tore design. Um, so go ahead and make sure you have at least three pieces, and if you want four just as an extra, that's fine as well. 6. Trace The Design: Now in this segment, I will show you how to trace a design onto fabric. First, you want to make sure you downloaded the pattern that I provided for you. I covered this in the project overview segment. And if you click on view notes, you should be able to see this pattern, including any other notes that I have included. And now you want to place the pattern under your fabric just like this, Make sure everything's lined up and you're just gonna use regular straight pins to pin it in place. And I've done that right here. Okay? Just really simple. Just you Straight pins pin it in place. Yeah. When I trace a design onto fabric, I like to use a light bucks use. I have a small light blocks, and I just use this to help me, Uh, you know, see my pattern and I'm able to just trace through it, and I'm using my water soluble marker, and it makes it very easy for me to see my divine and then trace it. And I'll just move my pattern accordingly. As I am progressing through the tracing. Now, if you don't have a light box and you don't want to invest in one. That's totally fine. You can also just take your fabric and the design and just hold it up against a window, a window that faces outside and you can have natural light coming in through because that natural light will just filter through and you will still be able to see your pattern and be able to trace it that way as well. So just remember you're gonna use a water soluble marker to do your tracing. Over time, this marker will fade, and that's perfectly fine, because by that time you would have had your paint apply to your design, and you do want the markings to fade. So go ahead and finish tracing the design, and I will see you in the next segment. 7. Stretch The Fabric : before we stretch our fabric and start painting, I want you to cover your workspace with either a brown craft paper or some other kind of covering. I'm just using untold piece of posterboard that I have. And I'm just covering my workspace with that because when you do paint on fabric, the color will seep through a little bit, so it is important that you cover your space appropriately. Okay, now, when it comes to stretching the fabric, there are two ways to stretch the fabric. So one way you can use an embroidery hoop, as I've done here. And the reason you want to stretch your fabric and so that it give gives it a bit attention . And it's just easier to paint, and your fabric will be moving around as you are painting so you can use an embroidery hoop . Or you can just take your piece of fabric to your table into that table covering and usually I that this is how I normally will just paint on fabric. I normally just tape it down, but I do want to show you both options, using the important hoop or just taping it. Dad, I'm just using a washing tape. You can use masking tape and that will secure it while you're painting. Now, in the next segment, I will show you different paint strokes, and we're actually gonna practice first on one of these extra fabrics that we cut out before on before we start, actually painting or design. So let's go ahead and practice painting just on some plain fabric to get used to how the fabric works and how the paint works and how it applies to the fabric. So I'll see you in the next segment. 8. Painting Practice: now what I want you to do is just get acquainted with the paints, um, with the paint brushes and, you know, just practice painting on some of the scrap fabrics that we had cut earlier. So, as you can see here, I have added my paint to my paint tray. I've just used a plastic spoon to scoop it out, and I recommend maybe just starting with two or three colors, just again to get the feel for things. So I want to show you a couple of things you don't wanna have, like a rag nearby so that you can, you know, absorb some of the excess water. So just dampen your brush a little bit and pick up some of the color, and we're gonna use a flat brush. We're starting with the wider flat brush to pick up some of the color and just apply it and see how it goes on the fabric so you can push it and you can see that when I'm adding less water. It's definitely more boulder and thicker. If I add more water, pick up more water on my brush and I pick up a little bit of color but really more water. It's going to make it lighter, and that's the thing. That's how you will lighten. If you want a lighter color, you're gonna add more water, and you can see here is getting lighter. And if I wanted to use the other teal color, I would use a different brush. This is why it's important to have multiple brushes so that when you're using multiple colors, it's just a little bit easier. So I'm going to use a different flat brush. I'm gonna wipe up some of that excess water, pick up some of my paint, and I'm going to start from this side. So I wanted to be darker and bolder, overhears. I've got less water, and as I want to make it a little bit more transparent and a little bit more later, I'm just gonna add more water, and then you could just start to blend it. So you have a nice little wash. And what I did hear that I just took my water soluble marker, and I just do have drew a really quick sketch because I want to show you if you were actually painting the design, you probably want to use a smaller brush like a thinner brush. And you know, once again, I don't want too much water just yet. Um, if I want to make the pedals darker, I'm gonna pick up the paint, and I will just follow my lying and then just paint. And if I want to make it thinner on the ends, I'll just add a little bit more water so you can see it's lighter as we as I go to the upside of the pedal. So I want you to take a few minutes and just practice practice on the fabric just to see how the paint flows. Get a feel for it. Feel comfortable before we get started on painting are actual or actual design, which is over here. Okay, so take a few minutes and do that, and I will see you in the next segment. 9. Apply Fabric Paints: we're now ready to start painting our design. So I've actually completed a version of the design that you can see here and that we can use to reference as we're painting or design. And, you know, I have my paints already. I have water got actually too small water containers. I'm going to start by using this smaller brush, and we're going to start by painting the leaves on. And I also want to point out, you'll notice that I am not stretching my design on the embroidery hoop or taping it, Um, for my for this purpose, because this design is really simple and fairly straightforward. I feel it's best for me that I just paint directly flat on the surface. I don't really need to have the stretcher of the embroidery hoop, but if you would rather like stretch it, then go ahead and either tape it or use the embroidery hoop. If this design were something much more detailed or intricate, then yes, I probably would recommend that we stretch it, but because this is fairly simple and also as I paint, I do like to rotate my fabric around, and it's just easier for me and that's why I don't want to tape it down. So we're going to start first by painting thes leaves like the flat leaves. And for this, I'm going to use Apple green as the color. And I might be mixing in a little bit of white if I wanted to get a lighter shade of green . So I've gone ahead. I've used these small plastic spoons and I have just scooped out some of the green, the apple green and just a little bit of white to get started. So you can go ahead and do that. And what I want you to do is take your brush and just dip it a little bit in the water and always remember to have a rag next spot next to you so that you can, you know, take off that excess water if needed. But what I like to do is just dampen the brush and pick up some of the color from the pain trade just like this and just start to paint within the lines. And as we when you did the practice, you know that as you add a little bit more water, it's gonna lighten up and you'll get sort of a variation of greens, and that's that's okay, because we can always add more color to dark in it. And we can mix it with white if you want to lighten it for this class. This is a fairly basic painting class, and so I'm not focusing too much on the color blending and just really keeping the colors basic as they come out of the painter. In a future class that I plan to teach, I will get more into the color blending If, okay, one leaf is done, so go ahead and finish painting the rest of the leaves, and then we will start on, um, a small purple flowers. The smaller flowers will paint them in purple and then we'll continue on our design. Now let's start to paint the smaller flowers right here, and I'm going to use Violet as our color. I've already skipped out some of the color and added it to my paint tray. Make sure that you clean your brush after using the green, and you're gonna you do the same thing you're gonna damp in your brush. You can wipe off any excess water and pick up the paint and be careful. This is a small flower, so you don't want to go too much out of the line. So then you can just start to literally tap it and add the color that way. - So far, we have finished the leaves, the green leaves, the small purple flowers, and now we're going to paint these larger flowers. For this I am using or orange and again, I've just used a small spoon. I've added some of the orange paint to my paint tray, and I'm gonna switch brushes for the other, the leaves and the small flowers. I was using a small brush. Now I'm going to switch to a little bit of a bigger brush because there's just more room. So go ahead and do the same thing. You're gonna make wet your brush, take off that excess and you could hear for an alteration. What you could do is damping the fabric a little bit and then pick up some paint and you'll just see that it is, um, it just spreads a little bit more easier. And if you dampen your brush some more and push the color, it's going to lighten it, so if you want the ends to be a little bit later, add a little bit more water. - So I want you to finish the pedals on the larger both of the larger to flowers, and then we'll continue on with the rest of our design. We're now going to paint these flowers and red and the centres of these flowers in red as well. But before we start, I just wanted to show you. If you take a look at this flower, you can see a little bit of bleeding here, and that's because I added a little too much water. So just be mindful. The more water you add, it's going to bleed more, and sometimes that's great for a certain type of effect if you want to achieve that. But if you want more solid and precise designs, you want to be mindful of how much water you're using. So for these flowers, I am using a true red, and I've already again added that to my pain tree. And I'm using the small brush because these are smaller pedals and we're going to do the same thing that we did with the other flower and when you're finished painting these pedals , Just remember. Then you're going to also paint the centres of these circles the center of these flowers in red as well. So go ahead and take a few minutes and finish this and then we'll continue on with our design. Okay, so we're now ready to finish the last few elements of our design. So for this flower right here, I am going to use sapphire blue, and you can see that I've already painted the inside parts of that flower in Turk Wise. And for these leaves over here, I'm going to use an emerald green. And then don't forget to finish the inside of these two red flowers with the same purple that you used for the smaller flowers. So go ahead and finish the rest of this design. And then there's a few more final touches that we will add. Okay, we're down to our final few stages of our design, and, um, I want you to take a really small thin brush and use a dark green or, in this case, emerald green. Just dip a little bit. Make sure you don't have too much paint on it, and just on these leaves that are the flat leaves just draw like inside. Just do a little bit of shading like this, A little bit more definition on the leave and you want your lines to be thin. So make sure you don't have too much paint on there, okay? And then clean your brush and the final step. This is my favorite part where I love to work with metallic, and I love to embellish my designs with metallic. So make sure you have a clean brush and use a very small thin brush wipe off the excess water and embellished with gold where you want to. So I'm actually going to start with the small purple flowers. I'm just gonna just add a little bit of gold to each of these pedals. Yeah, this blue flower, I'm actually going to outline these little details inside the flower. Okay, so continue to finish that I'm going to add gold, a bit of gold toe all of these flowers and maybe even the leaves a little bit. Something like this. Where have you can see it? Added the gold here. So go ahead and finish that. And, um, then we will be pretty much done with their divine will be getting ready to set the color, and we're done 10. Heat Setting: now, the last thing we need to do is to heat set our design and heat. Set the paint. So once you finish your design, you want to let it sit there for maybe 24 hours that it completely dry, and then the next day, turn your design over on the riverside. Take your iron on a cotton heat, setting over a medium heat setting and just iron the riverside of your design. So these particular pains the jacquard textile pains. These are set with heat, and what that means is that you need to heat said it in order to make that color permanent , so that when you do wash your fabric, the paint will not come off. So just take a few minutes and completely heat said it, and that will make your paints permanent and your design permanent and you are done. 11. Final Thoughts and Thank You: I hope you enjoyed this dinner fabric painting class and you feel inspired to continue to practice. You can have a lot of fun with this by taking your designs and painting them on T shirts, tea towels, decorative pillows and so much more. Please be sure to share your project and your completed design with me in the project section of this class. And you can also share it with me on Instagram by tagging me at divine and why, and just stay tuned because I am going to be launching additional classes that are more advanced in fabric beating. And if you would like to be notified, please be sure to follow me. So thank you again for being part of this class. And I can't wait to see the designs that you have created, and I will see you next time.