I absolutely adore painting on fabric!  In fact it was when I was painting on silk back in the 90's that I actually discovered my love for painting. 

This last month I've been awakened several times during the night having dreams of painting on fabric again.  So I decided to embark on this adventure again... if for nothing else but to satisfy that itch I seem to be experiencing!

Having only silk dyes which need to be steam set, I decided to go on a search for other products that would be suitable for fabric and could be heat set with an iron.  I found several surprising choices that I decided to experiment with.  Some of them are specifically made for fabric, some mention fabric, and some don't mention fabric at all!  I'll be going over these products and their results later in this post. (Most can be seen in right Amazon link in right column)

To start off with I chose an inexpensive, simple white cotton canvas apron from Hobby Lobby.  Since this was an experimental situation...I chose to NOT pre-wash my apron, as I wanted to see what would happen if I didn't. 

Next I went to my stash of new products that I've picked up lately for other projects.  Much to my surprise, I had quite a few that mentioned using them on fabrics...even if that was not their sole purpose.  One of these products are Inktense Watercolor Pencils from Derwent. Surprised?  I was too!!!  Many of the scribbles and scralls on this apron were created with the Inktense pencils...then intensified by lightly going over them with a clean paint brush and water. 
The green triangles and pink rectangles were Inktense Pencils
In the children's dept at Joann's Fabrics I happened upon some very fun Faber-Castell water-soluable gel paint sticks that I have been incorporating into some of my recent paintings. Smooth, Slick, Vibrant and Versatile!!!  You can scribble these straight onto your fabric and have a very crayon appearance or add water to your scribbled paint and it liquifies and spreads like a water color.  I should add here that I kept a heat gun close by to avoid my watery paints from flowing too quickly...you can also use a hair dryer. The flair in the bottom left corner of the pic above was made mostly with the gel sticks...then I added the black lines with a Micron pen later after the paint was dry.
This flower was created using several different products: Jacquard Textile paints, Dye Na Flow, and regular acrylic paints mixed with Golden GAC 900 Fabric Medium (pics of all these products can be found in the Amazon link in the right column).  Textile paints are extremely easy to use, no mixing...just paint straight only the fabric.  They tend to have slightly a slight transparency so they work best over white fabric or fabric that has been pre-coated with a white paint and allowed to dry.  I love the transparency as you can add layers of other colors on top to create even more colors!  (When I purchased my fabric paints... I only chose Yellow, Maroon and Turquoise so I could create my own colors from mixing those)  If you dont want to mix your colors...their are tons of great premixed colors available out there! 

I also chose to utilize some of my regular acrylic paints so I added a 1:1 ratio of Golden GAC 900 to them before applying.  You can add the acrylics straight to fabric without the Fabric Medium, however that area will be very stiff, even after washing.  The Fabric Medium helps to soften the touch of the acrylic paint, making it more flexible and comfortable for wearing.  Also, straight acrylic on fabric may tend to crack after a while...due to lack of flexibility.
The rectangles on the right are Jacquard Textile paint, edged in Inktense Pencils and a Black Marvy Fabric Marker.  The purple curlycues are Inktense Pencils next to Jacquard Textile paint and the white dots are white acrylic paint, using the back end of my brush to make the dots.
Another product I used here and there were Tee Juice Fabric Markers.  They come in 3 size tips (i think).  I have a set of the mega tips with a large dauber end.  That is what I used to create the purple and green polka dots all over the negative space on the apron.. along with smaller black dots created with my Black Marvy Fabric Marker.

Lastly, I have to confess my funny blond moment! After spending all that time playing around on the top portion of the apron I get down to the pocket area... I sat there staring at the pockets imagining what I wanted to do next... it really was clear to me what I wanted to do so it didn't take long to grab my paint and start painting. It was then that I noticed that something was just not quite right... it wasn't making sense in my brain how these pockets were supposed to work... WELL DUH!!! I had just painted the entire backside of the apron!!!  I just CRACKED UP!!!  Laughing at yourself truly does help things a LOT!  soo.. My special experimental apron has Inside pockets instead of Outside pockets!

Before I end I want to tell you how to "fix" your paints to your fabric.  I took my apron and laid it across an old dishtowel on my ironing board with the paint side down.  I then too my iron, set on cotton since my apron was cotton, and began one small section at a time, ironing each section for around 30-45 seconds before moving on to the next section.  I did this for the whole apron.  I then turned it over and used my pressing cloth between my iron and my apron and did the same thing again.  The reason for the cloth to always be between the painted side and the iron or board is because some of the gel paints can come off during the heating process and you dont want them on your ironing board or your iron... so better safe than sorry!

Now, due to my project being experimental... I went ahead and washed it in cold water and ran it through the dryer to see which products held up the best!  Everything held their vibrancy pretty well with the exception of the Faber-Castell gel paints... they faded a little (especially the black outlining on the bottom of the apron).. but nothing that takes away from the whole of the project...so I would definitely use them again. I prob would use the Tee Juice or a Fabric Marker for these black lines next time.

Hope you enjoyed this!  I think I may have to make a few more of these and some other funsie fabrics for Christmas presents!!!

p.s. Please note that the Pentel Fabric Fun colors are like crayolas, and are not water-soluable.  I only used one color, dk blue, and it washed wonderfully!



  1. Wonderful! I am surprised by how vibrant the colors are even after washing. I see some fabric painting in my future!

  2. This is awesome Selah...love, love it!! You and I are very much alike...I could so see myself painting on the wrong side..lol!

  3. Beautiful Selah!! Makes me want to experiment even though I've never painted on fabric, your colors are so lush and vibrant :)))

  4. Love your apron - beautiful colours.

  5. WOW and WOW! Absolutely LOVE your apron and the fabulous patterns that you excel at SO well! This is stunning and beautiful and VERY exciting! You never fail to knock my socks off Selah! Gorgeous experimentation! You go girl! And I LOVED seeing KiKi in the background! This new project is super-exciting! LOVE! <3 xxx

  6. I love the colors and designs on the apron....and enjoyed a little chuckle about the painting being on the inside...not just blonds...I'm brunette and sometimes do things like that too.