Fabric Design Ideas

July 3, 2019
Fabric Design Ideas For

Sometimes it’s hard to find that perfect boyish fabric you’re looking for. Maybe you can’t find it because you’re not even sure what you’re looking for. Or maybe you wish the boy’s section had as many options as the girl’s? Maybe it can.

Last CTB, I shared a post about Selecting Fabrics for BOYS. And today we’re going to take it a step further. If you can’t find the right fabric….why not make your own? With items from around the house?
Toilet paper rolls, noodles, tape, paint….whatever you have, grab it! And let’s start making.
Soon you’ll have a wall full of new textile options.
First some notes on Fabric and Paint:
Now it would be awesome to have a real screen printing kit to make professional looking stuff. Some day I’ll tackle it. But for now I’m still doing it poor man’s style with simple paint, freezer paper, tape, etc. In a way though, it feels easier. If you’ve never worked with fabric paint or freezer paper, read my tutorial HERE.

If you don’t have fabric paint you can use Acrylic paint, which is very inexpensive and comes in every color imaginable (metallics too). When using acrylic paint on fabric, however, it’s good to mix in a Fabric Medium such as this to make the paint a bit softer for wash and wear. Of course if you’re antsy like me you can just paint a shirt without it, and your daughter will still love it.

Follow the directions on the back of the Medium bottle but typically you mix 2 parts paint to 1 part medium. And I’ve found that old baby food containers are great for small paint projects!
Also, keep in mind that paint and markers react differently to all types of fabric. Lightweight fabrics will seep up paint quickly, while tightly woven fabrics like canvas keep the paint right on the surface So just experiment with whatever woven and knit scraps you have around till you find what you like.

Some of these projects will work for an entire piece of fabric, something you can cut up and make into a pair of shorts, a bag, or even a jacket. But some work better on a small piece of fabric to use as a pocket or applique.

Oh….and a blowdryer is wonderful for drying the paint so you can quickly peel away and admire the new look.

Okay, ready for 13 ideas?
There are many ways to make stamps but with items from around the house, here’s one idea:
Cut a shape from craft foam. If the foam is pretty thin, cut a few layers of the shape and glue them together. Then glue the Glue Stick lid to your foam shape and you have a stamp!
You can take the lid off when you’re done if you still need it. Plus
the lid works great for pressing firm on the fabric with your stamp. When it comes to painting, I’ve found that brushing the stamp with paint each times works better than dipping.
When you’re done stamping always follow the directions on the back of your paint bottle to Heat Set the paint. This “seals” the paint on your fabric so it doesn’t fade or wash away. Use a dishcloth to cover your fabric and iron for a minute or two.
Pretty self-explanatory but for some reason it never dawned on me till the other day! Grab whatever circle objects you have around the house and use them to stamp!
Make the circles uniform and systematic….or be crazy and unruly.
I wanted this to work better than it did. It does work and I like the final result but it just takes some time to dip, drag, drag back the other direction, dip again, etc. So be patient.
Fluorescent Pink?! Yes (but not for Owen). I love wide stripes and I’ve painted them before on woven fabric here:
So this time around I wanted to try it on white knit fabric. Could I really paint an entire t-shirt worth of fabric? Sort of. I used 3 inch-wide painters tape to create stripes, pressed paint on the edges first then filled in the spaces. But it was hard to keep the knit from stretching as I painted. So it got a bit wavy and wonky.
Nonetheless I pressed forward, washed the fabric, then sewed a Basic Tee. And…it kind of worked. Well. It’s a Work in Progress. It’s still kind of wavy but I’m sure he’ll wear it.
I think a better option for creating knit stripes is this:
Follow my detailed Goodnight Moon tutorial HERE.
The brother to Stripes above, this would be great on a shirt pocket….or side pockets on pants. Simply tape stripes on the diagonal, paint, dry, and peel. Leave it as-is or tape stripes on the other diagonal to make gingham checks.
This is my favorite way to decorate T-shirts. It allows you to make a really specific image stencil for painting. The true poor-man’s silk screening. If you’ve never used it, check out my tutorials here and here.
Tape a large piece of Freezer Paper to a cutting mat, draw an 8×8 inch square (or any size you want), then draw 2×2 inch squares in the middle. You could be really precise and only cut out every other square with your cutting knife. But it’s easier to cut out the entire square first, cut out four lines, then use scissors to cut out 8 squares from those pieces. Iron the outer square to your fabric first, then iron every other square to the fabric. Paint, dry, and peel!
There are so many items around the house that will make interesting designs. Try a sponge, feathers, coins? noodles, string, yarn, etc. Here’s what it looks like when you crumple foil and dip it in paint:
Sometimes when painting on darker fabrics, it can take a few layers of paint to get it really even looking. So you might go the other direction instead. If you add equal amounts of water to the paint to thin it out, you can paint a nice thin layer over your stencil. The paint it not as vibrant but that’s sort of cool too.
Try the inverse of painting, by bleaching. Check out my tutorial HERE or use a bleach pen to create designs.
Faux Bois (pronounced “foe bwah” and meaning “fake wood” in french) is so fun. And it’s not hard to do! You draw long lines with slight curves here and there and some knots mixed in. No hard rules. I tried it three different ways….
First I used a Paint Pen (middle photo above)which looked great but the pen was not so great. It kept drying it up and barely lasted for the whole piece of fabric. Next I tried a brown Sharpie (right photo above) and liked that best! It was easy to do and the thin lines were nice.

Last I tried it with acrylic paint and it was okay. I didn’t have a small enough brush to make thin lines. But on a large scale print it would look cool.
Lastly….why not give your child some markers and let them give it a go?
Owen is a Star Wars fanatic. Lover? Obsessor? Yes. So we tried out these Crayola Fabric markers. I taped white knit fabric to cardboard and he did his best C3PO and R2D2. I had to help him hold the fabric taut as he drew. But…(*Update*) some of you mentioned to iron freezer paper on the back of the knit fabric to stabilize it while drawing on the front side. Brilliant! Totally doing that next time.
And just like that you’ve got a pile of new textiles to use or inspire your new BOY projects (and girl ones too!)

Hang them on the wall to get the full effect. It’s fun to picture how they’ll hang on clothing….or in a swatch book? (if I had something cool like that)

I asked Owen to pick out his favorite and he immediately went for the wood, all 4 of them.
Good choice. And I pick the stars.
Okay. Off to sew. Have a great day!


This is part of Celebrate the BOY, a series hosted by me and Made by Rae.

Here’s what we’ve done so far:
DAY 1: Dana: 5 Steps to the Basic Tee • Rae: Saffron Pants and Color Roundup
DAY 2: Dana: Pants Roundup • Rae: Little Bit of Color Hoodie
DAY 3: Dana: KID Pants with Back Pockets • Rae: Little Bit of Color Hoodie

Source: www.madeeveryday.com
Share this Post