How to Make Custom Colored Fabric on

PROJECT: Custom-colored fabric

It’s time to color your own fabric! I was inspired to share this idea after meeting with my friend Linda Young (organizer of Art Unraveled!) for coffee last week. She was so thrilled with some fabric she painted that she brought samples to share.

My suggestion is to color a large batch at one time so you will have it on hand for other projects. Aside from scrapping, use your custom fabric to make jewelry, embellish clothing, purses and anything else you can think of.

Sure, there are oodles of fabrics ready to go at the store, but think of how cool it will be to hold up something you made and say, “I even dyed the fabric for this project.”

Visit your local scrapbook store today to partake in all kinds of paper-friendly activities.

Custom Painted Fabric

1 yard of white (patterned or plain) cotton fabric (make sure it has stain guard on it)
Fabric paints (any combination of): watered-down acrylics, squirt, squeeze or spray on fashion dyes, fabric markers
Medium resealable bags or plastic wrap
Water-based acrylic paints
Plastic gloves
Rubber bands or string
Washing machine

Directions: Pre-wash the fabric (no fabric softener), but don’t dry it, allowing the color to take. Cut into four pieces so you can dye each piece a different shade. Put on the gloves.

To create a tie-dye look: Put rubber bands or string around different sections of the fabric. Using the squeeze, spray on or squirt on dye, apply color to various areas of the fabric. I like to keep my colors in the same hue: for example, purple, fuchsia and pink for one piece of fabric, or blue, green and teal, or yellow, orange and red, etc. Once fabric is covered with dye, put each piece in a separate bag or plastic wrap. For intense colors, let set for several hours, less for lighter tones. Cut off rubber bands or string, rinse in sink, and then run through washing machine, followed by the dryer. Iron and use.

Hand-painted fabric: Work on a covered surface. Wet piece of fabric and lay it flat. Dip brush in fabric paint and apply to the material as desired. You can make stripes, circles, paint pictures, use rubber stamps, etc. Use gold paint with a thin liner brush to add accents. For shimmer, spray on permanent glitter. Let dry for several hours and then wash in machine. Dry and iron.

Variations: Use white fabric with black patterns, and your end result will have even more dimension. Buy a package of Inkjet fabric sheets and use them to copy your pictures, scrapbook papers, small trinkets, newsprint or wrapping paper. Peel off the backing and sew the sheets together. You can also make your own paper by color-copying your custom fabric onto paper.

Now for part two of this project…I didn’t have room in my newspaper column to add this, so I’ll post it here. I am now hooked on coloring my own fabric because of Tulip’s One Step Fashion Dyes.

How to Make Custom Colored Fabric on

OK – before I go any further, I have to let you know that now that I’m part of the Duncan familia, I have full-access to any and all of their products. It’s like crafty heaven because I can try out all the goods. and just like I’ve always done on this blog, whatever I make and play with, I’ll post it here! So consider me your inside source!!

Back in the day, I used to tie dye Patrick’s band shirts. I used watered down acrylics in spray bottles, as well as pickle buckets of dye for dipping. I used to have to make them in the back yard and I hated that our pretty green grass got tie dyed as much as the shirts. After a couple years of doing that, I gave up and swore off tie dye.

When I started working with Duncan, they gave me some of these One Step Fashion Dyes to try out. At first, I flinched. I didn’t want to revisit the pickle bucket era! I tried it anyway, and dang – all those crazy steps are removed! It’s all about shaking and squirting now!

The Fashion Dyes come in individual plastic bottles with gloves and rubber bands. At he bottom of the bottle is powered dye. All you do is fill the bottle with water and shake, shake, shake – and you are good to go!

I took white cotton fabric, wet it, cut it and rubber banded it. I lined my kitchen counter with a large plastic trash bag, set out the fabric and squirted the dye.

From here you can follow the directions from my craft column.

If you want more of a painted effect, you can use the Tulip Soft Fabric Paint, which is very cool because it dries soft and light and doesn’t crack. I combined my colors and watered them down just a bit to get that striped look in the top photo. I also used the gold paint and aliner brush to add some starbursts and squiggles.

Last time I was at Duncan’s headquarters, they gave me fabric markers to try out!!! I have yet to use them, but when I do, I’ll post the details here!

One more thing about custom-colored fabric. This is how I make the fabric for my purses! Look what Traci Bautista did with these paints!

At first I didn’t want to share how I did it, because it looks very labor intensive, when really it is pretty easy. But I’m here to share ideas and turn people on to new things, right? It’s all about inspiring others! So maybe there is something new and wild you can do with your custom-colored fabric. Did you know you can also color copy it to make your own paper?

Stretch it, baby, stretch it!

Author of Crafty Chica’s Art de la Soul: Glittery Ideas to Liven Up Your Life ($19.95, Rayo Books, an imprint of Harper Collins).

Love & light,

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Kathy Cano-Murillo

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Hi, I’m Kathy, The Crafty Chica! My specialty is creative motivation. I’m an artist, author, and speaker and this is where I share my craft tutorials, artwork, articles, books, product lines, and workshops!

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