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13 Jun '15

Using a Vinyl Stencil with Fabric Paint

Posted by Kari Kraftgineer

Hello crafty friends!

Here is a tutorial on how to use vinyl as a stencil to paint a design onto a fabric tote bag. In this tutorial I use fabric paint, fabric glitter and fabric glue. You can use just fabric paint, the glitter is optional.
In this tutorial I will be using the Seahorse design which can be found here: Seahorse.

Materials Needed:
- Canvas bag (or a shirt or whatever else you want to stencil with fabric paint)
- Vinyl
- Low tack transfer tape and/or painters tape
- Electronic cutting machine (I used the Cricut Explore Air)
- Weeding tools
-Sponge brush
-Fabric paint (I also used fabric adhesive and fabric glitter)
-Weeding tools

Step 1. Measure the design area of your media and resize your design to fit that area. In my case my canvas bag is 13"x15" so for my design to fit nicely I have resized the design to 10”Wx9.036”H.

Step 2. Add a larger rectangle to your design. I added about an inch in each direction by adding an 11"x10" rectangle. This will help you not get paint in unwanted areas of your bag when stenciling on the paint. See Figure 1.

Figure 1

Step 3. Cut out your design and weed. You will be removing the actual design and leaving the negative of your design. See Figure 2.

Figure 2

Step 4. Add transfer tape. Make sure your transfer tape is low tack or else you will have a hard time getting the vinyl to stick to the bag while you remove the transfer tape. See Figure 3.

Figure 3

Step 5. Put a piece of cardboard in between the layers of your media. For a shirt you can use a store bought cardboard cutout. For my tote I will be using a piece of a cardboard box. The purpose of this is to prevent paint bleed-through to the other side or onto your work area. See Figure 4.

Figure 4

Step 6. Stick the stencil onto your media. I aligned my design, removed the backing of the bottom corners (to keep it from moving.) Then I lifted the first half of my design, cut off the backing and then laid the vinyl onto the canvas bag squeegeeing as I go. Then I did the same for the second half. Lift, peel, stick/squeegee. See Figure 5.

Figure 5

Step 7. Using a foam brush dab it into your fabric paint and then dab the brush onto a paper towel/cardstock once or twice. This eliminates extra paint and reduces paint bleed through. To use up materials wisely I use a discarded piece of cardstock as my paint palette. See Figure 6.

Figure 6

Step 8. Carefully remove the transfer tape of the area you are going to be painting. I removed the tape from the wreath first. Once I was done with that I removed the tape of the seahorse. Gently dab on the paint onto the open spaces of your stencil. Do not drag the brush because it will cause paint to go under the vinyl.  For the silver colored seahorse I just dabbed my brush onto the paint, dabbed again onto an area with not much paint and then lightly dab on to your design. On Figure 8a you can see that the first coating is light and you can still see the pink color of the bag. Immediately dab on more paint, enough to cover the entire design and not be able to see any of the fabric, see Figure 8b.  I used fabric glitter for the wreath that requires adhesive instead of paint. I dabbed on fabric glue first. As soon as I dabbed on adhesive into an area I covered it with glitter. See Figure 7.

Figure 7

Figure 8

Step 9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 with different brushes if you will be using multiple colors.

Step 10. Once done applying fabric paint wait about 10 minutes and then carefully peel of the stencil.  See Figure 9. On Figure 10 you can see how crisp all the edges are. This is because of the dabbing technique vs brushing it on. Brushing on the paint will cause it to go under the vinyl.
Things to be aware of: -If you touch an area of the stencil with paint be careful not to get the paint from your fingers all over the place. -When removing the stencil make sure it does not touch any other areas. -You will  need a weeding tool to remove any vinyl from the detailed parts. -Try to peel up and do not let it drop -Add a little bit of paint at a time. If you add too much you risk bleed-through.

Figure 9

Figure 10


Seahorse design can be found here: Seahorse.

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