Embroidery Library

Pretty in Paint
 
Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!

Give your stitching a whole new dimension by combining fabric paint with embroidery.

Pick your favorite design with open areas, and in just a few simple steps, turn it into a masterpiece! The blending of paint and embroidery creates amazing dimension and depth.

Read on to see what inspired us to try this idea, and for step-by-step directions.

 

Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!

Supplies Needed:

**Fabric paint (I used Tulip Soft Matte paint from Michaels - avoid 3D fabric paint)

**Small paintbrush

**Medium weight cutaway stabilizer

**Temporary spray adhesive

**Air-erase pen

**Scotch tape


Special Project Notes:

Any tightly woven cotton fabric works well with this painting technique. I'm painting my design onto a 100% cotton canvas tote. Keep in mind that on some lighter cotton fabrics, like linen for example, the paint might bleed a bit more.

Check your fabric's label to see if it's prone to shrinking. If it is, or if it's not clear, pre-wash it to prepare the fabric for the paint and pre-shrink the fabric. Also, after you've painted and stitched your design, check your fabric paint's instructions for drying times (how long to dry before washing is allowed).

Design Used:
I used the large size of the Farm Silhouette Texas Longhorn. Designs with open areas for paint work well with this project, like Intricate Ink designs, Silhouettes, and Flowers (Redwork and Vintage).
 



In this tutorial, I will show you how to transform a simple silhouette design into a work of art! The Farm Silhouette Texas Longhorn design on the left looks great embroidered as it is, but with some fabric paint added behind it, the same design on the right looks simply dazzling!
 

Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!
 


Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!
 

I began by practicing my painting technique on a piece of scrap fabric. Then I could see how the paint would work on my fabric. I wet a clean brush with water and brushed the fabric to wet it slightly. Wetting the fabric before applying paint allows the paint to penetrate the fabric better.



Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!
 

With just a small amount of paint on the brush, I practiced brushing the paint onto the fabric I had just put the water on. The more paint you have on the brush, the darker the area will become. As you paint out from the darker area, the amount of paint on the brush decreases and the color becomes lighter. This effect is called a "wash" - like watercolor painting.



Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!
 

Once I was comfortable with the paint, I marked the design onto the fabric to be painted. I made a paper template of the design  by printing it at full size with embroidery software (see these instructions if you haven't done this before). Then I trimmed the design to easily line up the marks on the template with the marks on the fabric, and placed it where I wanted it.

I marked the horizontal and vertical axis points with an air-erase pen. I didn't mark the center point as I usually would because this area will be painted over. I will determine the center point later, after I have hooped my fabric and right before the embroidery.



Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!
 

I removed the template and used a straight edge to draw lines out from the marks to the outer edges of the fabric. I did not mark the center area, as this will be painted.



Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!
 

Next, using the same template, I cut around the outer edges of the design. If there is an open area (like between the neck and the back of the Longhorn in my design), cut a space in between the two areas.



Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!
 

I used a few pieces of Scotch tape to place the template onto the fabric, and with a straight edge, realigned the template with the lines I just drew.



Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!
 

With an air-erase pen, I traced the outer edges of the template. Then to protect my table, I put a piece of cardboard directly behind the area to be painted.



Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!
 

I removed my template, keeping it nearby for reference. Looking at your design, decide how many colors you would like to use, and how you would like to separate it into different areas for different colors.

I'm separating my design into three areas: the nose, the horns, and the head/neck/body.

I brushed the fabric with clean water to wet it slightly (as I did on my test fabric scrap earlier). It's okay to get the outline a bit wet, but try not to brush over it too much as the ink will disappear if it gets too wet.



Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!
 

With just a small amount of paint on the brush, I began to paint the area. I started with a darker area then painted around it to create the wash. I painted out past the outline just a bit. As I did this, the outline disappeared. This is okay, because I want the outline to be gone once I'm done with my painting, and because the outline is painted in sections, there will be plenty of outline left to see where to paint.

I like to glance at the template every so often to get an idea of where the elements of the design are, and how my painting relates to those elements. So for example, how wide is the nose area? However, you don't need to be overly particular about how the painted areas relate to the design. That's what is so nice about this painting technique - the look is watercolor-like, soft and flowing without any specific shape.



Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!
 

Then I moved on to another section of the design, again painting the color a bit darker in the middle of the area, then lightening it as I painted out to the outlines (and a bit beyond).



Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!
 

I finished the painted area by filling in the head, ears, neck, and body. Once your painting is complete, allow the paint to dry according to the instructions on the container. Mine suggest waiting 72 hours before washing, and to turn the item inside out when washing.

Also, some fabric paint requires heat setting to make it permanent (mine did not). Heat setting can be done with an iron, clothes dryer, or a hair dryer. If there are any small bits of the outline left behind the painted area, carefully brush them with clean water to dissolve them.



Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!
 

Now it is time to embroider the design. Spray a piece of medium-weight cutaway stabilizer with temporary adhesive and smooth the fabric on top. Hoop the fabric and stabilizer by aligning the marks on the hoop with the lines on the fabric.



Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!
 

With my fabric and stabilizer hooped together, I returned the template to the fabric, aligning it with the lines on the fabric using a straight edge as I did earlier. I attached the hoop to my machine, loaded the design, and moved the needle directly over the center point on the template.



Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!
 

I removed the template and embroidered the design. The design will stitch directly over the paint, with some small areas of the paint extending past the outer edges of the design.



Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!
 

When the design is finished, carefully trim away the excess stabilizer from the back.



Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!
 

And your beautifully painted design is complete!




 

A bit of fabric paint adds a whole new dimension to embroidery. Let your imagination fly, and have fun creating your works of art!


Free project instructions to combine fabric paint and embroidery for a unique look!

Kudos to stitcher Leslie who sent in her painted Delicate Hibiscus project. Her beautiful work was the inspiration for these instructions.

Click here for a printable version of these project instructions.

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Products used in this Project:

Farm Silhouette Texas Longhorn $2.99 - $3.99

Available in 3 Sizes:

8.33" x 5.86" | 6.86" x 4.82" | 3.86" x 2.71"

Delicate Hibiscus $2.99 - $4.99

Available in 3 Sizes:

6.37" x 5.84" | 5.23" x 4.80" | 3.87" x 3.56"

Delicate Lily $2.99 - $4.99

Available in 3 Sizes:

5.86" x 6.15" | 4.81" x 5.04" | 3.71" x 3.86"

Delicate Peony $2.99 - $4.99

Available in 3 Sizes:

6.62" x 5.83" | 5.47" x 4.82" | 3.90" x 3.44"

Delicate Poppy $2.99 - $4.99

Available in 3 Sizes:

5.82" x 6.02" | 4.82" x 4.98" | 3.72" x 3.87"

Delicate Dahlia $2.99 - $4.99

Available in 3 Sizes:

6.48" x 5.82" | 5.36" x 4.81" | 3.87" x 3.47"

Delicate Daisy $2.99 - $4.99

Available in 3 Sizes:

5.83" x 6.31" | 4.83" x 5.22" | 3.60" x 3.87"