Film Articles & Info
Paint Articles & Info
Stenciling with Fabric Paints
Paints Part 3: Stenciling
with Fabric Paints
Fabric paint is a paint that is specially formulated to be used on textiles.
Water based fabric paint like other types of paint is an emulsion of pigments,
synthetic binders and a solvent.
The solvent in most fabric paints is water. Fabric paints usually require
a heat setting process to make the dry paint permanent. This usually involves
ironing the garment after the paint has dried.
Fabric paint also contains a number of additives to give it various characteristics
such as softness and the ability to stretch without cracking. Sometimes
fabric paint manufacturers offer a number of additives that allow the
paint to adhere to partly synthetic or totally synthetic fabrics.
Pearlescent, assortment of fabric paints are available both online and
offline.metallic and iridescent fabric paints are readily available from
many craft stores and art suppliers. Fabric paints do not change the color
of the fibre such as a fabric dye would. Instead the paint adheres to
the surface of the fibres
You use fabric paint much like you would use ordinary paint. Fabric dye
is different from fabric paint. Fabric dyes, change the colors of the
textile fibres at a molecular level. Fabric paints are emulsions of pigments
suspended in synthetic binders much like acrylic paints. Fabric paint
adheres best to natural fibres like silk linen and cotton. A large assortment
of fabric paints are available both online and offline.
Some fabrics are treated when new, and will tend to resist fabric paints.
In this case they should be pre washed. Most t-shirts that I have painted
did not require pre washing. Cotton lycra is great for fabric painting.
Make a note to read the washing heat setting and general care instructions
on the label or from the paint manufacturer before using them.
Sometimes fabric paint manufacturers offer a number of additives that
allow the paint to adhere to partly synthetic or totally synthetic fabrics.
Pearlescent, metallic and iridescent fabric paints are readily available
from many craft stores and art suppliers.
Standard Colors and Super Cover
There are two main types of fabric paint. They are often labeled as
"standard colors" and " "super cover". Super
cover paints are formulated for dark garments or fabrics. Super cover
paints tend to be thick and buttery.
When you apply a super cover paint over a dark garment, you will not
be able to see the fabrics color through the paint layer. If you are painting
light colored or white fabrics, use standard colors. You can also dilute
standard fabric paint to simulate water color effects.
The best super cover paints are professional water-based silkscreen paints.
Professional fabric inks give superior results especially on dark colored
materials.These types of screen ink have high pigment strength and superior
Both regular and "super cover" fabric paints can be brushed
or airbrushed onto the fabric through most stencils. Heavy body or super
cover paints can also be applied through the stencils with a plastic spatula.
This method yields a smoother and thicker result that when applied with
Artist acrylic paint will adhere well when applied over fabric paint.
The dragon image on the right was stenciled with base colors of super
cover paint over black cotton lycra fabric. Once the fabric paint was
dry, acrylic paint was airbrushed over the top to achieve the various
colors and effects. The fabric was then heat-set with and iron.
The fabric was then used to make cotton Lycra tights or leggings.. This
dragon design sold quite well over a 12 year period which gave me an opprtunity
to observe the natural wear and tear of the painted design.
I have always advised my customers to hand wash these garments gently
to preserve and extend the life of the image.
Even after 12 months of wear, many of the stenciled designs were as fresh
and brilliant as the day they were painted. Not everybody took care to
hand wash. Garments that were machine washed still lasted a long time
but the colors were nowhere near as brilliant.
In some cases where the tights were machine washed in Hot water with
strong detergent, the acrylic layers had more tendancy to fade at a much
Fabric paints can also be applied to canvas. I have many tikes used super
cover paint to prime a canvas with a suitable backgroud color before applying
the stencil work.
Brands of Fabric Paint
Matsui, Permaset, Tintex, Neopaque, Aquatex, Createx, Lumiere, PROfab,
PRObrite, Speedbal, Versatex, Jacquard, Pebeo Setacolor, Jones Tones.
© youstencil.com.au 2010
All YouStencil designs are protected by
international copyright laws.