Monday 9 December 2013

Material Mondays - Painted Recycled Fabric

Painted Recycled Fabric

I have been having fun painting fabric for use in a variety of creative projects.  I found out by error that acrylic paints don't come out when I was painting while wearing an item of clothes that should have been covered up, but wasn't.  After washing the paint didn't come out, and so acrylics alongside fabric paints became part of the tools used to create designs.
I have also been using a lot of recycled materials that would normally be unusable for making another item of clothing prior to painting because they are too tatty, but once painted the materials take on a different texture and then can be incorporated into your design as you wish.
The first three fabrics were taken from a school uniform trousers made from a polyester and cotton mix and to prepare the fabric I used gesso as a base and then applied the paint, pens and stamps.
On some of the fabric like the one below which is a school shirt which I used as a mop up while painting other projects came out with quite nice patterns and will make a great lining for another project.
old school shirt
Here is a shirt decorated with paints and stamps and used to line the inside of my bag journal.  You can check how I made the bag journal HERE
using school shirt to line the inside of Recycled bag journal
Here is the inside of the journal once completed with more painted fabric used as pockets
recycled bag journal and inside pages

When you use fabric that has already got an unusal pattern within it it can create some great effects
Baby wipes - I used them quite a bit in the studio, as a means for clearing up, but when they get soaked with paint, they begin to take on new life and I can hear the sewing machine calling for some experimentation.
baby wipes can be used in creative projects
I also found some scraps of leather that I have begin to experiment and play it has a great texture and I am looking forward to using it in a project.
Old leather can be given a new lease of life by painting
Back to the school uniform trousers, because the material was quite thick I didn't need to coat it in gesso first. I wanted to experiment with different mediums and so used derwent artbars and applied glitter on certain places on the piece below, 
fabric portraits using artbars
This piece used gesso as a base then I used artbars again along with pearlised glue, and fabric paint. The colours do come up slightly brighter.  I used a sewing machine to highlight some of the features and the flower.
I have not yet decided what I will be using this piece for, will have to give it some thought.  Have you tried experimenting with fabric?  It would be great to hear about some of your work, so do leave a comment and link to your post.
Using stitching to add to the effect of the fabric portraits
If you are considering learning how to take part in creative activity check out Craftsy online courses, at the moment they are doing a special offer on some of their classes, and they are offering some free mini courses. Click here.


  1. What amazing ideas. I have quite a bit of fabric scraps (leftover from quilting scraps--scraps of scraps), and have found by accident that acrylic doesn't wash out, too.


  2. Susan, I would love to see what you come up with...quilts.... beginning to really appreciate all the wonderful designs that can be created.


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