June 26, 2011

How to Paint on Fabric Hand Painted Designs, Chair Cushions, Pillows, Christmas Stockings, Hand Painted Fabrics

crab cushion DIY
I love to paint on fabric. You can create whatever design you need.
I recently posted on my Facebook page about this Crab Chair with Painted Cushion
and I got quite a few comments and emails asking about painting on fabric
so I thought I would share how I paint on fabric.

hand painted fabric cushions
This is a couch I painted for a local surf shop.
I painted the rattan frame with tomato red spray paint. 
The original cushions were dark blue so I added the waves and swirls.

hand painted couch sofa cushions
I've always used regular acrylic craft paints when painting fabric.

There are specific fabric paints and textile mediums you can add to acrylics 
to make the dried paint feel softer. They also have different directions on "setting" the paints by 
putting it in the dryer, air dry, or with a warm iron.
If I were painting on an article of clothing, I would definitely use textile medium
or fabric paint so the item would be softer. 

For furniture fabric, I've always used straight acrylic paint with no textile medium added.
I find that the more the item is used, the softer it becomes.

If you paint on fabric it doesn't flake, peel, wear off or come off in the wash.
It's just like when you get paint on your clothes... it doesn't come off
and a good portion of my clothes are proof of that!

hand painted couch cushions
Like I mentioned, this couch is in a surf shop where it gets a lot of use and 
has been sat on with wet, sandy swimsuits and has held up beautifully.

DIY painted beach bags
I also painted these canvas beach/tote bags for the same surf shop.
I started with plain canvas bags.

hand painted beach bags
When painting on canvas like this, I always lightly mist the fabric with water before painting. 
I find that is the fabric is very lightly dampened, the paint will apply more smoothly
 and to sink into the fibers of the fabric more easily.
You can also thin the paint with just a bit of water but not too much or it will bleed. 

 Although bleeding paint is fine if that is the look you are going for, 
I used that technique in the pics above.

painted canvas bags DIY
When painting on fabric, be sure to put a plastic bag inside so the 
paint doesn't seep through to the other side.

hand painted beach bags
I painted the handles too and had so much fun painting all the patterns.

seafood print dining chairs
This is a set of chairs I painted a long time ago...way before digital cameras.
I recovered the seats with canvas and painted with sea life and lemons.

poppy print dog bed cushion
This is a cushion I made from fabric that I painted with poppy flowers

hand painted dog bed cushion
I used it in this Dog Bed I made from an end table.
On an intricate design like this, it's much easier to paint the fabric THEN 
make your cushion...ahem...not that I've ever done that!

hand painted dog bed cushion
I painted a big paw print on this dog bed cushion...

 custom dog bed cushion
And I made another paw print cushion on this dog bed from an end table.

coastal shell painted pillow

hand painted Christmas stockings DIY
These are my little family's Christmas Stockings that I painted.
I purchased pre-made canvas stockings and 
painted designs on them for each family member..

zebra Christmas stocking
A little zebra action for my youngest...

rubik's cube stocking
A Rubik's cube design for the oldest...

hand painted Rubiks cube stocking
I actually used a bottle of fabric paint with the squirt top to paint these red squiggles..

diamonds and animal print Christmas stocking
Diamond and animal print for me :)

hand painted sealife stocking
I've since painted lots more Christmas stockings with sea life patterns that I
sold in my Etsy shop for about 3 years but I am no longer making them.
I didn't realize until I started putting this post together how often 
I actually have painted my own fabric!

If you need special fabric for a project, why not paint your own?
It's easy, durable and will definitely be one of a kind.
Thanks so much for reading!

Come join me on Facebook, InstagramPinterest 
or visit my shop featuring my mosaic art and my youtube channel 
where I show short clips of current artwork.


  1. So glad you shared at my paltry little party. I absolutely jump when I see something from Lucy. :)
    This is such a great post. Damn. I'm going to grab my paints and paint up the first piece of fabric that crosses my path. The bags are very cool. I am going to show them to one of the artisans in my group that has done bags in the past but seems to be in a bit of a funk. These would have to jump start those creative neurons.
    The stockings? Delightful. I never would have thought to paint them. That same artisan also has done Christmas stockings and I don't want to step on her toes but I would love to give that a whirl. Maybe just for the fam.
    Then the piece de resistance - the sofa. OMG. Want it! I love how you painted NAVY cushions. Inspired and then to have it look like Starry Night. I am on my way to negotiate a sale. :)

    I will be featuring you this next week. I'd love to feature you every damn time but then everyone would know you are my fave. :)
    Have a great week.

  2. Wow! these are simply gorgeous and I love the fact that you used acrylic paint in lieu of fabric paint and textile medium. Everything looks so gorgeous and colorful... loved the canvas totes and the chair cushions with sea creatures... gorgeous! My favorite is the flower cushion on the dog bed... beautiful work! Amazing talent!Thanks for sharing with us. Dropping in from Motivated Monday. Have a lovely week!~Poppy



I've moved to Lucydesignsart.com to focus on my mosaic art. I'm no longer creating dragonflies or mermaids.

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