fabric paint


I’ve put all of the fabric painting tutorials into one big photo post.

Includes silk painting with resist (Elven Banner), free-hand painting on stretch fabrics (Jareth from Labyrinth), fake embroidery with puffy paint (Peter of Narnia), graphite transfer paper with fabric paint pens (Tali from Mass Effect) and regular Tulip fabric paint (TARDIS lab coat).

Maybe this format is better?

So I just learned a really useful tip! Throw out your fabric paint. That shit sucks. Pull out your acrylic paint and buy some of this stuff!
Golden Medium GAC-900. Basically your acrylic paint can work as fabric paint and be softer, last longer and it won’t crack like fabric paint does.
You can run the mix through an airbrush, you an screen print with it. It’s awesome! You basically will never go back to that shitty ass tulip brand again.
You mix 1:1 acrylic and GAC then you heat set it. Read the directions carefully on your bottle.
Also do this IN A WELL VENTILATED AREA. GAC contains a small bit of formaldehyde, so be aware of what you’re using.
Hell even if you’re airbrushing or painting with regular acrylics/oils you should be working in good ventilation. Be safe! Have fun!

Painting Shirt Symbols (Freezer paper method)


  • Your shirt
  • Fabric paints and brushes
  • Freezer paper
  • Cutting board of some kind
  • An iron
  • A sharpie
  • An xacto knife
  • Optional hair dryer

For this tutorial I will be making my fantroll’s symbol shirt.

1. Get the symbol and upload it to a Word doc. Set the zoom to 87%. This is the exact width and height of a standard size piece of paper. (give or take a few millimeters)

EDIT: Wow i just realized that it totally depends on the size of your screen. On my screen it’s 87% but on yours it could be like… 70% or something.

Resize it to the preferred size. This is where the paper size comes in handy. You can simply hold up a piece of paper to the screen and judge the size from that.

Print it out.

2.  Tape the paper to something you can cut on with an xacto knife.

Get your freezer paper that was mentioned in the Materials Needed

Take a piece and cover the symbol.

Tape it to secure it. Make sure it’s nice and tight.

To make things easier you can trace over it with a sharpie or something so you can see better.

3.  Cut it out with the xacto knife. Make sure not to make any extra cuts in the paper!

You can throw away the cutouts…. or keep them. Doesn’t matter.

People are weird.

4. Get your shirt and put something inside so the paint doesn’t bleed through.

I have a screen printing shirt guard which has a waxy coating thing that prevents the paint from bonding to the guard.

Cardboard works too but you have to make sure when painting that you occasionally lift the shirt up from the cardboard so it doesn’t bond to the cardboard. It really sucks. It does.

5. Drape the freezer paper template over the shirt. Position it accordingly.

6. Get your iron. Make sure to have it on “NO STEAM”

LIGHTLY iron the freezer paper on the shirt. This means for only about 30 seconds or so. Just don’t iron it toooo much. But you also have to make sure to iron it enough.

7. Prepare the paints! Here are some examples of fabric paints. I highly recommend the “MATTE” paint over the “Slick" paint. And just stay away from ”puffy“. There’s also SOFT in a different bottle which is slightly better than MATTE. 

Slick has a hard feeling and shows brush strokes while matte, if you do it correctly, has a smooth feeling.   

*Note on acrylic paint: It cracks. It gives the same result as slick but doesn’t last.

Never use water based acrylic paint. Ever. IT DOESN’T WORK.

Get the color right.

8. Paint. Paint AWAY from the seams. NEVER TOWARDS.

Keep going. You might need a few coats of paint.

9. Take the freezer paper off before it dries completely. It’s pretty hard to do this after it dries unless you paint and then forget about it because you were on tumblr for an hour.

Throw the paper away. You can’t use it anymore.  


This is an example of not ironing the freezer paper enough. This is also an example of painting towards the seams opening it and letting paint get through.

It sucks but we gotta live with it. While it’s still wet you can use your fingernail or a knife to scrape off the top layer of paint. It will still show but luckily we have something for that. 

Please if you messed up on a shirt that is not black do NOT touch it. You lose. Good day sir.

Onto the next step!

10. To quickly dry it use a hair dryer. Do that for a little bit. Get all up in its business. Dry that thing.


Now’s a good time to look at yourself in the mirror and admire your luxurious mustache that you put on your mirror. 

Lightly feel if it’s dry.

Yep it’s dry.

11. Now to fix your mistake if you made one. Which I hope you didn’t. It really sucks. For black shirts just simply get a sharpie and color over the mistake. You can also use black paint but why. Just why. MORE paint?! 


Looks alright to me!

I couldn’t find the right sort of fabric for the Monk’s bodice and shorts, so I decided to buy a grey knit and paint the checkered design on.  Last week, I did an experiment with fabric paint and acrylic paint.  The reason was I didn’t like the fabric paint selection in the store.  They didn’t have the right shade of red (it was more of a pink really), but when I went to the acrylics section, there were so many shades to choose from!

I started out by blocking out parts of my fabric with masking tape (using it for actual masking of things for once).  Then I dabbed the paint on with a sponge.  Be careful not to use too much side to side action when applying the paint because it might get under the tape.  Once the paint is dry, remove the tape.

As you can see, plain acrylic paint on a knit fabric does not work too well.  It doesn’t stretch with the fabric, it’s too stiff, and little bits of paint flake off.  The solution?  Fabric paint medium!  This stuff is pretty awesome.  You just mix it with the acrylic paint of your choice and yay instant fabric paint!  It improves how much the paint adheres to fabric, flexibility, and how much it stretches.  Additionally, it doesn’t appear to alter the color at all.  The only downside is the fabric medium tends to water down the acrylic a bit, so you might need to apply more than one coat.  So yeah, next time you can’t find fabric paint in the color you want, just make your own :-)


Fabric Painting Tutorial

HELP! question about fabric paint

does anyone have any recommendations for fabric/clothing paint that will not feel stiff when dry? i would like to paint on shirts but i’m worried that it won’t feel soft or translate properly.  any recommendations are so appreciated!



EDIT: thank you for all of the suggestions!