Paint The Fabric Red – A Guide On How To Paint On Fabric Permenently

Paintings are a great way to express yourself artistically. But fading paint can destroy your work. So how can you preserve your artwork?

Painting on fabric is a fun hobby for some people. But it can also be a challenge to get the paint to stick. So if you want to create beautiful paintings that last, you’ll need to take extra care.

Paint The Fabric Red - A Guide On How To Paint On Fabric Permenently

Step 1: Gather Materials

You’ll want to gather your materials. You might need:

  • Fabric
  • Cloth
  • Pens
  • Ink
  • Some papers (used for practicing sketches, etc.)
  • A ruler
  • A pencil

Step 2: Planning Your Design


If you’re really looking to get creative, why not sketch something out first? Sketching provides an excellent way to test out ideas quickly without spending any money.

It allows you to try things out and see if they work well together or conflict somehow.

Once you’ve sketched a few things, it is easier to come up with final designs.

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Design Software

There are several free software programs you can download online to help you create your own designs.

Most of these programs allow you to view images from your computer and manipulate them freely.

To save your picture, simply right-click and select “Save As.” For more information about this software, google it.

Photoshop Elements has also become a powerful tool for textile designers. Check out online tutorials to learn how to use it.

The critical thing you need to know when using these tools is patience. While they are fun to play around, they are challenging to master.

So be patient and focus on learning all the features available to you because you won’t want to go back once you start using them.


If you’d rather not go through the trouble of making a custom stencil, simply print off a copy of the template onto canvas paper, cut around the edges, and carefully apply the stencil over the top.

Repeat the process until you cover the entire surface of the canvas with colorful designs. Finally, use spray adhesive to secure the stencil to the canvas.


Determine the size of the area you wish to color.

Depending on the type of material used to construct the piece – cotton, wool, silk – and the colors you want to use – you may need to determine a final size before starting.

Once you’re satisfied with the dimensions of the coloring space, draw them on graph paper, if desired.

Step 3: Selecting Your Fabric

To choose fabric for your project, you must first decide on your size. There are many sizes – from small place mats to large quilts.

Before you begin designing, you may want to sit down and do some research about your intended project.

You’ll probably want to consider the following as you determine the size of your project:

  • Number of layers
  • Size of each layer
  • Width/Length Ratio
  • Weight
  • Color
  • Pattern
  • Texture
  • Cost

You’ll also want to pay attention to color combinations and textures. For instance, if you’re planning a plaid quilt, try to think of colors that match well together and feel cohesive.

If you’re planning a striped piece, think about repeating patterns. Finally, remember that the best fabrics are usually those that have not been used before.

So, if you find a fabulous print that has never been used before, grab it! If not, shop around until you see something that fits your style and budget.

Step 4: Painting The Fabric

The first step is to prepare the surface that you’re working on. If you’re planning to use watercolors, I recommend starting with a primed canvas.

Step 4: Painting The Fabric

Most canvases come prepped; however, some don’t. So start by applying 2 coats of primer straight onto the canvas. Let it dry thoroughly, and then use a third coat.

Using a brush or sponge, apply an even coat of paint directly onto the fabric’s surface. Use a medium-sized brush if you want to work quickly.

You may find yourself having difficulty applying the paint evenly. Be patient!

When working with acrylic paints, you need to let them dry before adding another layer. To do so, place a sheet of paper towel underneath the fabric and leave it alone until the color begins to dry.

It might take anywhere between 10-20 minutes, depending on the paint brand and the temperature.

Continue doing this with every new coat of paint. Once all the color you want is on the fabric, allow it to dry overnight.

Making The Paint Last

Here are five ways below to ensure your painting lasts longer.

#1 Use A High-Quality Primer

While acrylic paints and other water-based paints work well on fabric, they do not always adhere properly.

This means that if you apply them directly onto cotton or linen fabrics, you may end up with a stained appearance or an unsightly scar after finishing the piece.

A good primer will provide a surface that helps the paint bond to the fabric.

You can use a water-based priming solution (such as Golden Acrylic) or a spray-on version (like Krylon Primer). Both have proven effective.

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#2 Apply Layers Of Paint

Many artisans prefer to start their canvas by layering multiple coats of thinned paint over a solid base coat.

They then carefully mix additional colors to achieve the desired effects. When using this method, let each layer dry before applying another one.

It’s essential to remember that different fabrics absorb paint differently. So a single color might look fine when applied to cotton but could appear muddy once used to silk or linen.

#3 Use Heat

Heat makes it easier for the paint to penetrate into the fabric fibers. Some artisans recommend placing the fabric inside a clothes dryer while still wet to speed up drying times.

Others use a hairdryer to help draw out moisture trapped within the material.

#4 Add Stabilizers

Stabilizers prevent the paint from migrating away from where it was initially applied. The most common types include gums, resins, and binders.

Sometimes these additives are added at levels higher than those used in traditional paints.

For instance, an acrylic gel coating called Fusabond is often used to permanently attach canvases to frames.

#5 Use Fabric Sealant

Using a clear sealant such as Crystal Clear Glazing Medium keeps the paint from fading and prevents any dirt or grime from settling on top of the final image.

Fabric Paints

An important thing to consider is what kind of fabric you want to buy. Most fabric paints come in three forms: water-based, acrylic-based, and oil-based.

Water-Based Fabric Paints

These paints tend to be thicker and last much better. However, they can cause problems if you wash/dry them too quickly.

Acrylic Based Fabric Paints 

This type of paint tends to be thinner and harder to wash off. There are many brands available, all with varying qualities.

Oil Based Fabric Paints 

These paints give you much better control over how you apply them. Your choices can be a bit more diverse.

However, they can also cost more. One advantage of oil-based paints is that the paint allows you to manipulate it over a long period of time.

There are many kinds of oils available to choose from. Oil-based paints can be sprayed, rolled, brushed, etc.

Where To Buy Fabric Paints

Many art stores sell fabric paints. While they cost more than regular acrylics, they offer a range of finishes, including matte, glossy, metallic, and faux leather.

Some of these paints can create stencils applied to other surfaces such as wood, metal, and glass. In addition, different colors can be mixed together to create custom shades.

Paint Brush Selection

Next, how do you plan on applying the paint? Do you want to brush it in or dab it on? Also, think about what size brushes you are going to use.

In general, larger diameter brushes are better suited to thick paint applications. Smaller diameters should be reserved for light application.

Once you have decided on the various tools needed, you can pick out the right paint or mixture. There are many paint brushes out there. To name some examples:

  • Flat
  • Curved
  • Round
  • Oval
  • Square
  • Hair

To use a paintbrush, dip it into the paint and apply it to your work surface. You don’t need to get rid of every speck of excess paint, just enough to cover the entire area you wish to paint. 

Don’t drip any paint onto the floor or other surfaces nearby. Once you’ve covered the whole project, remove the empty brush, rinse it, and store it.

If you’re painting something large, use several smaller brushes (such as a round, oval, or square) instead of one big one.

For example, suppose you are trying to create a particular pattern. In that case, you may choose to use numerous sizes of a specific shape.

The Best Way To Clean Fabric Brushes

Whether you’re using brushes from a professional artist or just a cheap set bought at Walmart, cleaning cloths, sponges and scrubbers are essential for keeping your tools sharp.

However, since fabric paints tend to be harder than watercolor paints, you need something tougher to clean them with than simply water. 

An excellent old toothbrush works well. Just rub a bit of soap around the bristles and then run the brush through warm water.

This will loosen up the paint and remove any excess debris.

Don’t worry about getting too much grease out; you only want to wash away whatever will harm the fabric.

After rinsing the bristles under running water, pat them dry with a soft towel.

Fabric Pens

The next item to look into is pens. If you’d rather use a pen instead of a brush, then make sure you get one made of felt.

These are perfect for adding fine lines. They are inexpensive, easy to make neat patterns and last forever.

When choosing a pen, remember the width of the line you want to create. Some pen nibs are designed to draw straight lines, while others draw curved ones.

It’s always helpful to take the time to read through the directions before purchasing a new product.

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If you want to add text directly onto the fabric, you should definitely check out the stamps section in a craft store.

Many people prefer to use stamps for their designs. Like the pens above, they are inexpensive and handy.

If you take the time to practice, you’ll soon find out which kind of stamp works best for whatever you’re creating.

Choosing Your Color Palette

Once you decide which paint you will be using, you need to decide on the appropriate color palette.

Think about whether you want the whole background to match the tone of the fabric or whether you want something bolder.

If you use dark tones, think about using white accents to bring out the color. Here are some basic ideas:

  • Mix contrasting colors together to get a balanced effect
  • Combine 2 similar shades to create a new shade
  • Use a monochromatic scheme

Drying Time

Once you are done painting, wait until the paint has dried completely before moving on to the next step.

Depending on the thickness of your color, it could take anywhere from 10 minutes to 3 hours. When you are ready, move the piece to your desired location.

Once dry, you can then start to use your fabric without worrying about getting smudged fingers.

You can either hang it up or lay it flat to finish drying when you are finished. Either way, remember to keep the fabric clean, so it doesn’t fade or become dull.

Extra Fabric Painting Tips

If you’re planning on doing a lot of work, it might be worth considering buying an airbrush. Airbrushes are similar to spray cans, except they use a pump system instead of compressed air.

They allow the user to control the amount of paint being sprayed onto the surface. Airbrushes are expensive, but they do provide a wide range of settings.

You can even buy an inexpensive model that has five preset settings. Some models even allow for multicolored paint spraying.

It’s important to note that while this tool can be helpful for applications like textiles, it’s not suitable for children.

Many beginning painters make the most common mistake is overloading their canvas with paint. To avoid this problem:

  1. Create a test area first.
  2. Lightly sketch out a few shapes or lines onto the fabric using the same technique described above.
  3. Once you’ve determined what looks right, move on to adding more detail.
  4. Remember to keep the final shape simple. Adding more information only adds unnecessary complexity to the piece.

Before moving forward:

  1. Take some time to practice.
  2. When you’re ready, select various fabrics from which to choose and then decide what kind of artwork you would like to produce.
  3. Keep in mind that this process takes patience.

You don’t necessarily know how well the paint will stick until you get started.

So once you’ve decided on a subject matter, find a place where you won’t be disturbed. This way, you won’t risk getting distracted as you explore ways to portray your idea into reality.

Paint often dries quickly and once dried, it does not smear or bleed as it would with oil or acrylics.

Because of this, you should not need to worry about any dripping, and no special cleaning is required afterward.

However, make sure that you do not leave your art sitting too long out in the sun. Direct sunlight can degrade the pigment within the paint.

Once you’ve completed your painting, you can hang it up on its own wall using shop-bought hanging strips.

Or, you can put it up on the wall alongside other paintings and prints. Whatever method you choose, your finished piece will definitely look great!

With the addition of a frame, your original fabric painting becomes a framed print. 

If you want to improvise your design, there are several things you could do.

As you begin creating, remember that you’re not drawing or painting anything in particular — just allowing yourself to follow your instinct.

Your brain will not give you specific instructions, so you’ll probably feel pretty lost at times.

That’s okay, though — as long as you’re having fun and following your instincts, you’ll end up with something beautiful!

How To Paint On Canvas

To begin, lay down an old sheet or piece of cardboard in the bottom of a shallow bucket.

How To Paint On Canvas

Next, Prime the canvas and apply the colors until you’re happy with the design. Make sure any spills or drips of paint stay in the protected area.  

You’ll need to decide which colors you want to include in your paintings. Some artists choose their own colors – others select complementary or analogous colors.

When deciding whether to use primary or secondary colors, keep in mind that there’s no hard rule.

Try some paint samples until you find the combination that appeals to you. Choose colors that inspire you.

How To Paint Your Clothes

All you really need to paint on your clothes is a cloth, a brush (try using a hairbrush for best results), and a bit of paint.

If you happen to have a sewing machine at home, you might also want to embroider a design onto it. You could also iron the fabric to make the clothes neater.


To make tie-dye, tighten elastic bands in a unique pattern around your fabric. You might want to wear gloves while filling the tub to prevent staining.

Then, take the dye and apply it to the material in desired patterns. To create exciting designs, twist the fabric several times during the drying process.

This method works best with natural dyes such as indigo and madder root. Still, you can easily experiment with other ways to get great results.

Or, use a plastic tub filled with liquid dye and dip one edge of the fabric into the tub, moving it carefully through the substance.

Leave the entire material to soak for a while. This will distribute the dye evenly across the fabric. Then, fix the tie-dye with salty water, letting the excess drip off. 

Using Bleach To Create Patterns On Fabric

To use bleach on fabric, simply pour the bleach into a bucket of water. This works well on denim. To create a tie-dye design:

  1. Use elastic bands to secure the fabric.
  2. Dip the material into the bleach and allow it to soak for 12 hours.
  3. After the soaking period is complete, remove the fabric from the bleaching solution.
  4. Remove the elastic bands afterward.
  5. Rinse it thoroughly under running water.
  6. Wring out the excess moisture.

RELATED: All You Need To Know About Sheer Fabric

Removing Unwanted Paint From Clothes

Use baby soap or a specialist paint remover to remove your paint splatter from clothing. Baby soap works best for eliminating splatters, but it also removes color and stains.

If you have a stain that you cannot remove, try rubbing alcohol or acetone.

These products are harsh, but they work wonders for stubborn stains. Use these techniques sparingly, as excessive scrubbing could damage the garment.

So, while I would say the results aren’t totally guaranteed, I think it is worth a shot. There are many tutorials online that teach people how to do this.

Final Thoughts

With today’s technology, many people can now create unique designs for their clothes.

From silk scarves to jackets, even T-shirts, people all over the world are trying their hand at this new form of expression.

By learning how to do this simple technique, you too could make a beautiful piece of art with your clothing one day.

Painting on fabrics is easy. All you need is basic knowledge of fabric paints, good quality fabric paint brushes, and patience to achieve great results.

The trickiest part of painting on cloth is creating a smooth transition from the background color to the subject.

The key to achieving a seamless blend lies in using the right tools and methods. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Fabric Paint?

Fabric paint creates designs by transferring ink from an artist’s brush to fabric. It uses natural dyes to give materials texture and depth.

You can use any color fabric paint, but the most common choices are black and white.

How Long Does It Take To Dry?

Most fabric paints take two days to fully dry. But there are fast drying options available. Look for products that say “waterproofing” or “quick dry.”

These treatments prevent water absorption, making the paint easier to work with.

Amanda Brown

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