Painting on Fabric (A Tutorial)

Boo and I did some fabric painting this weekend! She made a cute rainbow applique top and I transformed a stained t-shirt into a bright, fun top!

We started with this Setacolor transparent fabric paint starter kit:

Other materials we used:
Freezer Paper
Light colored knit or woven fabric (or an old t-shirt)
Disappearing ink pen

First, I cut out freezer paper and ironed it to the back of my white knit to stabilize it for Boo to paint on (waxy side to wrong side of fabric).

I used a disappearing ink pen to sketch out a rainbow shape for a guide:

I mixed each paint color with a bit of water and spritzed the fabric a little to dampen it so the color would flow onto the fabric easier:

The artist at work:

After the entire rainbow was painted…..

…..we sprinkled it with a little table salt and spritzed it with a light mist of water again to get a “crystal” look….

…..and then laid it in the sun to dry (with a guard dog):

The artist added some light blue paint to some more fabric for clouds:

Once the fabric was dry I removed the freezer paper from the back and ironed both sides of the fabric for 2-3 minutes to set the paint:

To make the rainbow applique I ironed paper-backed fusible adhesive to the back of the painted fabric and then sketched out the rainbow and clouds on the paper:

I cut out shapes and ironed them to activate the fusible adhesive paper:

I used my sewing machine to secure the appliques and add decorative stitching:

The artist happy with her work:

I did some painting of my own inspired by this landscape painting I did last year using an old t-shirt:

I dampened the entire t-shirt and painted in horizontal lines across the entire shirt:

I just kept adding color until I was happy with the look. Then I sprinkled it with salt and left it to dry in the sun.

Turned out totally cool and unique!


  1. D&G Stories says

    Boo is wearing a Boston Red Sox shirt! I'm from New England so I loved seeing that! :)

    The painted shirts are super cute, of course too.

  2. felicia says

    Super cool! I forgot about the salt's been a long time since I've done any watercolor painting.

  3. SewLindaAnn says

    Thank you for the morning inspiration. I don't have young children, but you always have something that's super creative and fun to try and lots of nice things to see. Just wanted to say, have a great day.

  4. casserole says

    Love, love, LOVE!!! I have a sneaking suspicion there will be a Dharma Trading order in my near future.

    I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing.