It’s out with the old and in with the new! Update your old classics or upcycle a pre-loved favourite without throwing away your clothes. Re-use, recycle and add some creative flair to your wardrobe, with these 16 fabric paint projects to try.
1. Go old school
Have fun experimenting with different painting styles before picking up the brushes. This older, traditional tattoo style art looks great on an upcycled jacket, so have a play with different styles and designs first before hitting the fabrics.
Fabric like denim is pretty tough and rigid while a t-shirt will need a little more prep work before starting. Tape the fabric to your work surface to keep the fabric taut while you’re working, it’ll avoid any messy movement in the fabric.
2. Painted pockets
Stuck for ideas? Take a leaf out of Monet’s book and try recreating something like this waterlily pond. Turn your old jeans into a classic masterpiece and have fun experimenting too. Fabric paints are a good paint to use on jeans, unlike acrylic paint, fabric paints have an additive so your paint can stick and grip to the fabric better. To lock in your fabric paints after you’ve finished creating your masterpiece, grab an iron and go over your art to keep it all locked and loaded.
3. Let creativity out of the bag
If you’re looking for a simpler fabric paint project, grab a reusable bag and get ready to unleash your creativity. Fabric art markers work well for these types of projects. Just be sure to pop a sketch book through the inside of the bag to stop any markers from bleeding through to the other side of your tote bag and it’ll help keep the fabric from moving around, then you’re ready to get doodling!
4. Go abstract
Inspired by stained glass windows, we love the abstract twist this project has taken. When it comes to deciding what paint to use on jean jackets, consider fabric art markers too, they’ll work wonders to create bold, wavy lines on your fabric, before turning to the fabric paints to add your bold colours.
5. Reach for the stars
For a fabric paint project that’s truly out of this world, give this idea a go. Think planets, aliens, rockets, stars, whatever you can dream up. Painting on an old, thrifted pair of jeans, isn’t just a fun weekend project, but also a great way to upcycle a pair of jeans and turn them into wearable art.
6. Feeling tropical
Create a tropical touch to a t-shirt like this toucan idea, whether you paint the bird in the centre of the shirt, create a fun design with different coloured toucans or add a statement to a pocket, the options are endless!
7. Take a walk on the wild side
Take some inspo from of the great outdoors and grab your favourite colours like this fabric paint project of a galaxy tiger, that’s been painted on the back panel of a denim jacket. Tape your material down using masking tape to make sure your masterpiece doesn’t move while you’re creating – plus it’ll also give you a handy, clean border to work with, once you remove the tape from the design, so you’ll have crisp and clear borders at the end.
8. Bold abstract faces
If you have a boring, stark white t-shirt sitting at home that needs a bit of creativity thrown in the mix, try this abstract fabric paint project. We’ve shown you all the steps you need to re-create this project here, so grab your white t-shirt and a pack of our dual tip fabric markers and get creating!
If you’re looking for a challenge, try sticking to a monochromatic fabric paint project like this idea. Stick to one colour like black on red fabric, gold on black fabric or light blue on white fabric. It’ll help to sketch your design with a graphite pencil before committing to your project, especially if you’re relying on the one colour to provide the details. Go as big or as small and detailed as you like, but above all, just have fun with it!
10. Pet portrait
Wear your fur babies and create a fabric paint project using a pet portrait.
You can use acrylic paint to paint on fabric, though for long lasting results, fabric paints are the best paint to use on jean jackets, to keep the colours locked in. Whether you’re a cat or a dog person, we can all agree that this pet project is adorable.
11. Add motifs
You certainly don’t need to stick to one specific design when it comes to fabric paint projects. We love this abstract motif design and it’s a fun way to jazz up a white singlet. If you’re using a polyester fabric, run the iron over it first, to relax the fibres, then keep the fabric stretched using tape (this will make sure it doesn’t move around when you’re painting). Then you’re ready to pick up the paints and let your imagination run wild.
12. Try a surreal tote
Stuck for ideas? Next time you’re thinking about picking up the markers, try a surrealism inspired tote bag. It helps to sketch your design first, but in true Surrealist style, grab your fabric art markers and try free hand drawing, for some spontaneous fun. To paint in the Dali style, combine objects with human features, play with proportions and sizes, explore the dream realm and see where your creativity takes you.
13. Geometric prints
Have a play with shapes in your next creative session. From rectangular outlines to circular blocks, experiment with different sized shapes and colours. Plus, you can leave small gaps between the shapes for added interest or choose to keep the shapes together and make them tesselate.
14. Test your skills with skulls
If you’re looking to add something new to a pair of jeans, try a skull! Add a touch of colour like purple or orange in the eyes of the skull to make the design pop. It’ll help the skull look a little less grim, plus it’ll look great against blue jeans.
15. Over the moon
Whether you’re someone who picks up the fabric paints often or just once in a blue moon, it’s worth giving this full moon fabric paint project a try. Add star dust and constellations, planets or even satellites around the moon, the ideas are limitless.
16. Fresh Kicks
If you’re thinking that fabric paints can only be painted on denim or t-shirts, think again! Amp up your shoe game and try your hand at painting sneakers. Consider the colour of your sneakers first before painting. For example, this Hokusai wave looks fab on white sneakers, but it would have a different effect on patterned sneakers. Then grab a graphite pencil and plan your project. You can protect parts of your sneakers by using masking tape to stop the paint from splashing on the midsole (a fancy term for the rubber part) or any mesh details, you’d like to keep slick. Then you’re ready to get painting!
If you’re looking for different ways that you can use fabric paints (we don’t blame you, they’re pretty fun to play with), check out these 10 fabric paint techniques or browse our range of fabric paints here.