How to Stencil on Fabric

Hello creative friends! It’s Do from Do Dodson Designs! We’ve all had that one time where we wanted a certain look or design, and we couldn’t find the fabric we wanted. It happens to me all the time. Instead of settling for second best, why not create your own designs? Learning how to stencil on fabric is easier than you may think, and you have total control over the fabric, design, and color. Let’s get started!

Materials List:

How To:

What type of fabric?

Well, you can use any fabric you like. But some of the best results are on natural fiber, like cotton. That’s my preference.

If you have never stenciled fabric before, start with a tighter weave. The fabric is more stable and easier to work with. With a loose weave, the paint could fall through the fibers and show on the backside.

Do I need to pre-wash the fabric?

I suggest that you pre-wash your fabric. Here’s why:

  • Fabric shrinks, especially cotton, but it depends on the fabric you choose.
  • Fabric can shrink unevenly, and that can distort your design.
  • It removes the manufacturer’s chemicals and protective agents.

If you decide to pre-wash, it’s necessary to iron the fabric afterward. This helps the fibers to lay down and makes the fabric easier to work with. You’ll need a smooth surface for the best results.

To prevent bleed-through to the other side of the fabric when stenciling, try using a parchment paper barrier. Slide a piece inside the pillow cover, and you won’t be sorry.

Step 1:

Cover your surface first. Secure your fabric and design down with painter’s tape. My design was a bit larger than I wanted, so I used painter’s tape to kill the edges. This is a great way to customize your stencils. Also, be mindful to line up the fabric grain so that your design is properly aligned.

Step 2:

Using a repositionable adhesive spray on the back of your stencil can be very helpful if you want that crisp, clean look with your stencil design. Fabric can shift and move, so it’s recommended.

Step 3:

For this Pillow project, I’m using a new product by Dixie Belle Paint Co. called Gemstone Mousse in Golden Gem. It’s a bit thicker than paint, and it’s water-based, so I opted to thin it down a bit with water. To cover this large stencil on this 18X18 pillow cover, I used about 1 tsp of the mousse and a few drops of water to create the consistency I needed. Mix well before application.

Apply it in layers in a tapping motion (up and down), careful not to push the paint under the stencil. Applying too much paint will cause bleeding under the stencil.

Read the rest of this informative tutorial at Do Dodson Designs here!

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