How to Stencil on Fabric

In this How To Stencil Post we will explain how to stencil on fabric. We will cover fabric stenciling tips and techniques, including how to prepare fabric for stenciling and what paint to use for fabric stenciling. 

How to Stencil on Fabric Tips

Dry Brush Technique:

The key to all stenciling is to use a "dry brush" with as little paint as possible and apply color in many light coats of paint. 5 to 6 coats of paint is normal when stenciling, but stenciling on fabric often requires a few more coats of paint. Stenciling with too much paint will cause paint to "bleed" underneath the stencil and blur the design. The Dot Test is used to determine if you have the right amount of paint for stenciling. For more information about the Dry Brush Stenciling Technique and the Dot Test, see our How to Prevent Paint Bleed post. 

  • Clean the Fabric

    If possible, wash, dry and iron your fabric before stenciling. It is best to stencil on a smooth, clean surface and you don't want your stenciled bag to shrink with the first wash. If you can't wash the fabric (e.g. if you are stenciling a throw pillow or lampshade, ect) use tape or a lint roller to remove dust and dirt before stenciling.

  • Use a piece of Cardboard

    It is important to stencil on a smooth surface. We recommend securing the fabric you want to stencil to a hard surface, such as a piece of cardboard. Spray a piece of cardboard with Repositionable Spray Adhesive and place it under the fabric. Gently smooth out any bumps or wrinkles until the fabric is flat and stationary. 

  • Mix Fabric Paint Medium and Acrylic Paint

    To stencil or paint on fabric, mix 2 parts acrylic paint with 1 part fabric paint medium (2:1).

Prepare cardboard with repositionable spray adhesive
1)Use Repositionable Spray Adhesive on the front of a piece of cardboard. Allow to become tacky for 30-60 seconds before putting behind the fabric surface that you will be stenciling.
Measure 9 inch by 11 inch rectangular border of painters tape
2)Measure a 9" by 11" rectangular section on your laundry bag to mask off using Frog Tape Painter's Tape. Once painted this will serves as the background area for stenciling.
Roll fabric paint onto masked off rectangle
3) Mix Buttermilk and Titanium White Americana Acrylic Paint with Americana Fabric Painting Medium. Load your roller with paint and roll the excess off onto paper towel before painting the masked off area of your background.
Use repositionable spray adhesive on the back of your stencil
4)Once the background is dry use Repositionable Spray Adhesive on the back of your stencil, allow to become for tacky for 30 seconds, then press to the center of the rectangle.
Mix Acrylic Paint with Fabric Painting Medium
5) Mix Williamsburg Blue Americana Acrylic Paint with Americana Fabric Painting Medium. Swirl the excess off of the 3/16" White Bristle Stencil Brush onto paper towel before swirling the color through your stencil in 3-4 light coats.
Use Painters Tape to mask off the border of your design
6)Once the design is stenciled and dry use Frog Tape Painter's Tape to mask off the outer edges of the rectangle to paint the red border around the perimeter. Mask off a quarter inch gap around the painted background area.
Mix acrylic paint with fabric painting medium
7)Mix Santa Red Acrylic Paint with Americana Fabric Painting Medium. Swirl excess paint onto paper towel then swirl 3-4 light coats through the border.
Remove the painters tape when you are done painting
8)When your border is fully painted remove the painter's tape. After removing the border mask your design is complete.
Allow the fabric paint 24-48 hours to dry. Heat set the design for 30 seconds with an iron set to low.
9) Allow the fabric paint 24-48 hours to dry. Heat set the design for 30 seconds with an iron set to low.
Be sure to wash inside out on the gentle cycle.
10)The red border really helps the design pop on your laundry bag. Be sure to wash inside out on the gentle cycle.

 

Fabric Stenciling Video Tutorial

If you found this tutorial helpful be sure to browse our other stencil tutorials. For a detailed walkthrough on how to stencil our wash, dry, fold, repeat stencil onto a fabric laundry bag watch the video below.

Share a photo of your stenciling project with us, we love seeing stencils in action!