Fabric Painting 101: Lesson Two

 

Now it’s time to gather supplies.

 

Paint

I recommend starting with at least the three primary colors:  red, yellow and blue.  You can also purchase starter kits with six or eight paint colors at some craft stores.

            fabric painting supplies 

 

Applicators

I mostly use inexpensive foam paintbrushes, one to two inches wide.  I also use kitchen sponges cut into small pieces.  If you want a wider variety of brushes, check the craft and hardware departments of deep discount stores.  I found my favorite brush, an espresso machine cleaner, on the clearance table at a general store. 

 

Fabric

Two yards of bleached muslin cut into fat quarters is enough fabric to start.  I like fat quarters because they are big enough to test a technique, yet small enough to handle easily.  Pre-washing is a personal choice.  I rinse my fabric right before I paint so it’s damp.

 

Work Area

In the house I paint on a piece of foam core board on my kitchen counter.  Outside I either place the foam core on the trampoline or place large sheets of Styrofoam insulation on sawhorses.  The insulation requires a piece of wood underneath for support. 

 

Do not paint fabric on a porous surface, like wood.  The wood will absorb the paint – permanently!  I you want to paint directly on wood, cover it with plastic and tape the plastic down.

 

Palettes

I use deli containers, Styrofoam plates and trays, and frozen meal containers to mix and thin paint.  These items should never be reused for food.

 

Miscellaneous

You should keep a spray bottle filled with water next to your work area.  If you do not want to stain your hands and nails, you should wear thin rubber/plastic gloves.  Stains should wash off your hands within 24 hours.  When painting outside, I use pins to secure the fabric to the work surface.

 

As we move into specific techniques, we will use other items as noted.

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