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Paint on Clothes: a Sparkling Winter Master Class for Beginners

Updated: Jan 5

Welcome to this celebration-like fabric painting tutorial!

This master class requires minimum skills! Just put some creative mood & music on, and look for a list of materials and instructions below. Your DIY winter clothing design is coming up!

A sweatshirt painted with fabric paints. Design includes a snowball and snowflakes
Let's paint this cute winter design on clothes together!!

Is it a good idea to use glitter paint on clothes?

While many people like seeing glitters on clothes, some aren’t still confident in using them in their paintings, afraid that glitters might wash off. But why? Right fabric painting techniques and sequence of steps for painting on clothes are the 50% of success! Remaining 50% are your attention to details and efforts!

This fabric painting tutorial is about to show how to add a little spark and shine to any textile art with no worries. Let's begin!

Step1. Choose and prepare your garment.

For this illustration I've prepared a soft cotton sweatshirt in light grey color. You may choose any light colored garment as well, as long as it’s a cotton one. Feel free to create your own color palette for this design, or just repeat mine.

Note: if the clothing of your choice is brand new, make sure to give it a wash and iron.

👉More on how & why we prepare fabric for painting you can find in the Lesson #8 of Blog series "Fabric Painting Essentials".

Step 2. Fabric paints used in Master Class "Snowball"

In case, if you’ll be painting this design on a white shirt, feel free to use fabric paints for either light or dark textiles. My grey sweatshirt will be a bit difficult for transparent paints, that's why I'm going to use opaque series of fabric paints.

If you want to repeat this design using the same art materials as in Master Class, I added links to each product where you can check them out and buy if needed.

Fabric paints for this tutorial:

💡 Tip: If you’re a beginner or just want to try Pebeo Setacolor Opaque fabric paints, I made sure to use mostly the colors which come in a starter set (discovery). This paint kit contains smaller jars and costs significantly less.

Step 3. Additional art materials for the project 

A Step-by-Step Fabric Painting Process

1. Trace image to your sweatshirt

Here's our reference picture:

You may also chose to print it out and trace through carbon paper, OR follow the steps below

Decide the size of the snowball you'd like to draw and circle the helper object with desired diameter. Or you may use the printable sketch to trace the image.

Take a cap from a plastic container (diameter approx. 9cm) and sketch around it with a disappearing fabric marker.

Next, let's add three slightly curved cylinders to create a base of our snowball's stand.

Looking at the reference picture, sketch a few easy objects: two houses and a barn. Trees can be added later, since we are going to color that area first.

A sketch made with disappearing marker will stay on fabric between 14 to 24 hours. Just consider this in case you will like to proceed with the painting some time later.

2. Mix fabric paint and prepare to paint

These are the colors which we're going to use to mix required shades for our illustration. Some colors we will use as they are, while others we will mix to achieve a more interesting color palette!

Pebeo Setacolor fabric paint jars in assortment of shades and effects are displayed on top of a tear-off Mont Matre palette.
Can you guess which 2 paint jars here contain fabric paint which isn't opaque?

Our step number one is to mix fabric paint in the jar, preferably using a stick. If you are using fabric paint which is contained in a tube, be sure to also shake it well before taking it out to your palette.

Mixing fabricPebeo Setacolor fabric paint in a jar using a stick
Shaking the paint jar will work too, but mixing it in this way - is the best way

When you're ready, take out some white, blue and turquoise paint. Dip your brush into water, tap it gently with a cloth/paper towel and pick up some white paint. Now add this small amount of white on the side of turquoise paint to achieve an even lighter turquoise shade.

Mixing a beautiful turquoise shade with Pebeo Setacolor paints using a paint brush
In case your paint is a bit too thick, bring some water into the mix just on the bristles of your brush

3. Apply 1st fabric paint layer.

Carefully on the edges, spread the turquoise color halfway through the sky.

Winter sky on snowing night shimmers with light above. To highlight this, we can paint the lower part of sky in a deeper shade of blue. When you reach the place where to colors meet, feel free to blend them together.

We will add more paint later, so don't mind the imperfections on this stage.

While the sky is left to dry, color two houses and the middle part of a stand with red fabric paint.

For the third house or barn, we will create a nice brown shade from the mix of yellow, red and black. The more red you'll add the more orangish your brown color will turn out. Black is in the smallest amount in this mix, so add it carefully. Ratio of yellow and red solely depends on the tone of each of these colors.

🔔 If you're new to color mixing, definitely play around with this task. Make two or three different mixes on the palette to help you experience the difference and understand how this works.

Once the barn is colored, let's add a little shadow under the roof using a darker tone of brown mix. This is optional. But if you do want to add a bit of dimension to your illustration, shadows can help with that!

Now let's paint some snow! Using white fabric paint, paint the roofs and the ground.

4. Mix a new shade of gold

Winter theme calls for some shimmer! We will use a shimmering golden fabric paint to color the upper and bottom stripes of the stand. However, such obvious parts of the illustration to be painted in bold golden color can make it look a bit too straightforward...

So, to make it interesting, let's add a little bit of lemon yellow paint into our gold color! This won't much affect the shimmering part of the golden paint, but add a brighter shade.

5. Apply the 2nd paint layer

At this moment your painting probably looks as imperfect as mine on the image below - a few uneven paint patches and not so pretty gradient are normal things to expect after just a first paint layer. It all will be fixed shortly!

A first paint layer of a snowball design on a sweatshirt
Here's your difference in painting on clothes vs on paper!

We'll continue by partially repeating the whole process of coloring, only this time it will require less paint, time and effort.

With the light mix of white and turquoise fabric paints, create a second layer from the top of the ball.

Do the same for the bottom part of the sky but with the blue color.

Do not apply to much of paint, as we need to blend the border between two colors to create that gentle gradient. One of the ways to achieve a clean transition of shades is by doing blending using a clean dry brush while two colors are still wet.

An artist is creating a color gradient for sky on a painted sweatshirt
Wipe off the excess of paint on your dry brush whenever it builds up

👏I hope it was an interesting and not a difficult task for you.

Complete the application of 2nd paint layers on houses and everywhere, where white color is required.

6. Add details and outlines with a liner brush

For the next part we will need to use the thinnest liner brush you have.

Artist shows a 0 size liner paint brush
Liner brush with a sharp end and firm bristles is the best choice

Draw some windows with a yellow paint. Remember to reapply the paint once it's dry, as these details too need at least two paint layers to look bright and opaque.

Next we create outlines, these will add more definition to our design. Using black fabric paint create outlines where necessary (as per reference).

Using black fabric paint and a liner brush, an artist drawing an outline of houses and a barn inside a painted snowball on a sweatshirt

In a freestyle way, draw a little snowman: three circles, hat and scarf!

First, with black paint and once dry - with a mix of green, white and a little bit of black paint draw some trees in the back.

Using light green fabric paint and a liner brush an artist is drawing tree details inside a painted snowball on a mélange gray sweatshirt

With pearlescent white paint draw three reflections on the top and bottom sides of the ball. These will instantly create a visual dimension! These strokes also need to be repeated twice.

💡 Tip. Using pearlescent paint instead of white one is way better in this case, because it helps achieve more transparency and shimmers do a better reflecting job!

7. Add some snowflakes, dimension and sparkles to your design!

What is a snowball without a snow?! Let's fix this!

Dots of snow can be made simply by using a brush or we could make them using a dimensional white paint. I used Tulip's Puffy paint in squeezy bottle.

Before you get to making those dots, squeeze out a small amount of paint on your palette to get rid of air in the bottle. Once you see that paint comes out evenly, you can proceed with your work.

💡 Tip. Don't make them too big as they'll increase in size when we will be heat fixing the design.

Now, using a liner brush with longer bristles and blue shimmering fabric paint, create some actual snowflakes around the main design.

Drawing snowflakes like these is easy: make a cross with straight lines (approx. 1/2" long in each direction), then inside each corner gently press with just a tip of liner brush to leave a sharp end mark. Practice on a paper first.

In a similar manner we can draw smaller snowflakes using multicolor glitter fabric paint. Make sure to place them among the blue ones, all around the area you wish to be decorated.

Drawing snowflakes with multicolor glitter fabric paint from Pebeo setacolor on a sweatshirt

It's your choice how much is enough. However, I went ahead with the third shade of snowflakes plus it helps me to show you yet another shimmering fabric art tool and how to use it.

This is a fabric outliner from Marabu in pearl white shade. With such a squeezy bottle it's so easy and pleasant to draw a few gentle snowflakes - big or small.

Drawing snowflakes with pearl white Fashion outliner from Marabu brand on a sweatshirt

8. Adding more glitter to the design the right way

Since we have glitter present everywhere outside the snowball, it'll be quite balancing to add it to some parts of it's stand. Let's paint the upper stripe with the glitter gold fabric paint. Apply paint only to the major part of it, not to cover up the black outlines.

💡Tip. Remember, your glitter paint must be from the same brand (manufacturer) as your gold and lemon yellow paint with which you have covered this part initially. This is one of the basic rules of fabric painting, since mixing or layering different brands of paint can cause design to peel or wash off quite soon.

🔔Glitter paints develop their color as they get dry on fabric. So if you don't see much of glitter right after you applied it, give it some time and it will show up!

Another fun idea is to add a "touch of gold" to the collar. It's only optional, depending on the type of your chosen garment.

And the last touch is to add some lettering! Something simple and with your handwriting! Try it first with disappearing ink marker if you don't feel confident (it'll vanish from painted surface very fast! keep in mind), and then repeat with a fine tip fabric marker or with a textile gel roller. "2023" I painted using black fabric paint.

A final touch of gold glitter paint [once the numbers are dry] will add it a nice look of celebration!

In case you feel like giving the snowball something to stand on, with a few strokes of brush, add multicolor glitter paint.

✨And now our project is completed!

Step 4. Heat-set your hand painted design on a sweatshirt

Even though our design includes glitter, there's no actual difference in the way we're using temperature to set the paint.

We will place our work right side up, cover the design with a cotton sheet and iron it for 3-5 minutes on a "Cotton" setting with no steam.

Next video includes a lot of important details to consider during the final step of work on this design, take notes not to miss anything!

Step 5. Will glitter design stay on fabric after it's been washed?

📝Here's your Checklist - Wash and Care for Painted Clothing

  • Wash by turning it inside out

  • Preferably hand wash at temperatures up to 40 degrees (cool water), very gentle spin

  • Machine wash is also allowed in cold water, with a moderate amount of clothes inside, again - gentle spin mode; do not use hot dryer!

  • Use a moderate concentration of neutral detergents (powder) without bleaches or whitening effect

  • When washing by hand, do not rub the area with the painting

  • Do not pre-wash (soak) this sweatshirt

  • Dry flat (preferably) or by hanging avoiding the fold on the painted area. Make sure not to expose your design to the direct sun. Fabric paints are light fast, but direct sun can compromise even high quality art materials

  • Iron a painted area always through a layer of cotton fabric, without steam

  • Clothes with hand painted design should be washed not earlier than one week after painting is completed

  • It's best if you hang your painted garment in a closet, rather then folding them and placing on a shelf

 Follow these rules – and your textile art will serve you for a long time! Proven with experience 🙂

I hope you enjoyed the process, picked up some new tips and are ready to make a painted design of your own.

You may notice, that many parts of this design are customizable. It means that you could change words to something that you like, snowflakes - to confetti, content of a snowball - to something suitable to the occasion. Simply use these techniques and draw such "souvenir" for anyone you wish!

If you have any follow up questions about this master class, or need support in the process, just ask in the comments - I'm here to help! 🙂

And remember to share your own painted design with us on FPC Forum!


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Jan 18
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Loved the idea! I always had doubts about ironing painting on clothes, this was a good explanation.. I'd like to try similar globe for Valentines day for my mom! I thiught to use Jacquard textile paints, or Tulip, will work?

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