Fabric Painting 101: Scrunching

Scrunching is a simple technique.  Painted fabric is scrunched up and left to dry.  This creates hills and valleys, causing the paint to pool in some areas.  The overall effect is texture and movement.


Wet the fabric.  I do this to wash off surface dust and help the paint spread.  If you wash the fabric, do not use fabric softener.  Also, do not iron.  Wrinkles add to the texture.

Paint the fabric.  Light colors will show less pooling than darker colors.  I used five shades of green in my sample.

Scrunch the fabric, spray it with water, and do not move it until it has dried.  Consider scrunching in patterns, like circles or diagonal lines, for added effect.

        wet scrunched fabric

Once the fabric is dry, heat set the fabric with a hot iron.  The fabric may continue to look wrinkled, but the “wrinkle lines” are texture created by the paint.

        scrunched fabric 


This is a fun technique to play with because no two pieces of fabric turn out the same.

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