Messing about with fabric and paint

Feb 23rd

I have been wanting to try mixed media for ages and with a couple of work free days, thought it was about time I started!  Here are some of the results and then a list of what I learned and what I would change next time.


Combining different fabrics and having a mix of free motion stitching and decorative stitches built into the sewing machine.  Lessons learned:

  • Free motion stitching is like patting your head and rubbing your tummy!  I found it easier, though more scary, if I kept the machine running fairly quickly, but my hands moving the fabric slowly – took some practice, but each time I try it does get easier!
  • Do bring both threads up before you start, it really does stop them from knotting.
  • It is hard to undo once you have finished, so always a good idea to practice first!

Painting the fabric and then using a bit of free motion stitching for the word labels and the figures.

  • I used fabric paint diluted with water, but also dampened the fabric a little so that the paint would bleed into each colour.  I purchased some little bottles of fabric paint which are great to give you a good selection of colours to begin experimenting with.  More on what I learned about fabric paint later…..
  • Writing is more tricky with the machine, but it can be done.  Do trace your words first so that you have guide, otherwise it is hard to keep the letters level and equal.  I used a vanishing fabric marker.  My handwriting is not the best, so I printed the words out on paper and traced them.
  • Adding a touch of colour to the words with a fabric pen adds some detail and is easy to achieve!

Painted fabric with stencilled words

  • Again, diluted the paint with water so that it would flow and bleed.
  • Painted with the mind of a child!  Started with the yellow/orange splodges and then built up the petals around them.
  • I didn’t worry at all about symmetry or if they looked like real flowers – think like a child, makes life much easier!
  • Kept painting without waiting for the previous to dry, so that it would all bleed and mix into together.
  • Painted the purple background last so that there was still some fabric showing through.
  • The stencilled words were added when the flowers were dry – more about stencilling below – as you can see this first attempt, not quite right!


Painted fabric

  • After experimenting with the fabric paint I wanted to try a stencil.  Made this stencil with my Cricut Explore machine.
  • OHP transparencies make really good stencils – for my Cricut I used the Chipboard Light 0.55mm custom setting
  • As I needed a lot of paint, I used some acrylic paint mixed with acrylic gloss medium which thins the acrylic down and stops it from drying like cardboard!  This just happened to be the medium I had, but any acrylic medium would work also.  I mixed equal parts, and then did a sample piece.
  • Seal the paint once dry, with a dry iron, from the reverse.  And yes, I washed it, and yes it was fine – didn’t run or fade – result!

Addition of free motion stitching and another stencil to turn into a purse/bag

  • I drew the pattern for the stitching with a vanishing pen first, didn’t trust myself to go free form!
  • Used basic cheap batting as this is a small piece.
  • I backed the fabric and batting with a used tumbler dryer sheet – they make really useful  lining sheets and better than throwing them away!
  • Writing stencil was made as above, but the lesson I learned here, was that you have to separate any letters with an enclosed space, like e, o, a, b etc or it leaves just a big hole!
  • This time I did use some prepositional spray with the stencil, it made a huge difference!
  • Keep your stencil brush dry and don’t dilute the paint, it will run – as I now know and you can see from the first attempt above!  You really don’t need too much paint on your brush, keep it light and dab away.

This is the stencil I made and if you use Cricut Design Space, then you should be able to access it to use in your own projects.  I have never shared a Design Space project before, so I hope this works for you –




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