Class Details for Fabric Painting

Number of Lessons: 5
Price: US$ 50.00
Tutor: Marjorie McWilliams
Start Date: To Be advised
Weeks Open: 7.5

Features in This Workshop

  • A scheduled class
  • One-to-one Teacher guidance & help for questions and answers
  • Downloadable class information
  • Text, Images and some videos
  • A Design Class
  • Paint you own unique fabric

In this five-lesson course, we will learn how to use Jacquard Textile Colors. We will paint the spectrum of colors seeing how far we can push the limits as well as how to blend, thin the paints, use complimentary colors, and make shadows. More techniques discussed include how to transfer designs, layer colors, and also how to stretch or frame paintings or finish them off as fine art pieces. Using textile paints adds an exciting dimension to your fiber arts projects!

Supplies and Outline

There are many different kinds of fabric paints available. I have chosen Jacquard Textile Colors for their simplicity, softness, affordability, and the way they thin with water to make lovely transparent watercolor shades and pastels. They can be found at your local craft store or they can be ordered online from Dharma Trading Company (See below). I am one of their featured artists, so check that out while there. Jacquard’s Web site is They can tell you where the nearest store is to buy your paints, which may be a faster way to get what you need.

We will be using 100% cotton muslin in its natural color; or you can use bleached white muslin if you would like. It doesn’t matter if it is permanent-press or has a wrinkle guard on it. Blends containing polyester are okay to use. 45" wide is a good width but 36" will do. Jacquard paints will work on a variety of fabrics both natural and synthetic, but I personally choose muslin for the same reasons as the Jacquard paints; its affordable, it is available almost everywhere, and it responds well to the paints. You can try experimentally painting on fabrics you have around the house to see how the paints take and how they respond to machine washings and dryings.

Supplies Needed for All Lessons

  • Jacquard Textile Colors Starter Set - Traditional Colors Primaries and Secondaries.  If you find a set of the individual colors in a retail store, that’s great.  You will need the 2 1/4 ounce size of Yellow, Sapphire, Emerald, Black, White, True Red, Orange, and Violet. The Starter Set can be ordered from   The order number is #JACTRASS. The price is $23.89 for the eight 2 1/4 oz jars.

    The best feature of the Jacquard fabric paints is that they can be thinned way down for a very soft hand. The water to paint ratio can be as low as 20% paint and 80% water for beautiful watercolor effects; almost like dyes!
  • 3-5 yards of cotton muslin, 36" or 45" wide.

    If you would like to order the same muslin I use at Fabric Designs, you may order it online at  Click on Supplies.  You may order 5 or 10 yard pieces.  It will be shipped out to you immediately via Priority Mail.  If outside of the US, I am happy to ship directly to you. 
  • brushes in various shapes and sizes (info about brushes)
  • old towels or T-shirt scraps for cleaning brushes
  • paper towels
  • newspapers
  • access to water
  • small containers to hold water
  • a palette. This can be a ceramic plate, or square of glass, a piece of masonite or plastic.
  • ruler or yardstick
  • pencil
  • graph paper
  • access to a light box or window for tracing patterns
  • an iron and ironing board
  • spray bottle that can hold at least 1/2 cup of water.

Optional:  Stretcher Bars . These can be purchased at the online stores mentioned or made out of 1" x 2" pine.  Old wooden frames work well to stretch your fabric and secure with push pins.  I will include instructions on how to make your own.

A very easy stretcher bar solution is to use wood strips held together with C clamps at each corner.  It‘s fast, easy and user friendly. 

Some students of mine have suggested using a square or rectangle of artificial grass instead of stretcher bars. You can use any size starting at about 9"x 11".  They enjoy painting their projects on this surface as it does not stick and washes off easily.  If you have it, use it.  If you do NOT have it, using the stretcher bars is still your best option.


Many students are concerned about the size, cost, and bristle content of the brushes they have or are thinking about buying for fabric painting.  I would suggest that you have a minimum of three brushes that fall somewhere in the modest to middle price range: $5-$20 each.

You should have one fine point brush for detail work that has thin bristles and a sharp tip.

The brush you probably will use most often will be medium sized and about 1" long with a rounded tip.  This is good for mixing and application of paints.

The other size that I would recommend as a starter is a flat 1/2"-1" brush with squared off bristles. These bristles nicely fit into corners and make sharp edges.

The best bristles are natural (sable, camel or squirrel) but can be quite costly.  They hold the paint beautifully and will last for a long time with proper care.  There are nice blends out there of natural and synthetic bristles that are very satisfactory and will not cost you a fortune.

Nylon bristles are acceptable.  They tend to leave streaks and do not hold the paint as well as the natural hairs.  You can choose and decide for yourself, which brush styles you prefer, but one thing is certain: really inexpensive brushes are almost always a disappointment.

Here are some suggestions for basic brushes. A good place to order online is from

Grumbacher: Finest Bristlette Series

  • #1 Small, round, tapered. Synthetic.
  • #6 Medium, rounded, tapered. Synthetic.
  • #6 Squared off, flat. ("Filbert" or "Flat") Synthetic. 
  • #8 Squared off, flat. Synthetic. 
  • #12 Squared off, flat. Synthetic. 

A little more classy and my favorites:  Winsor Newton: Scepter Gold

  • #4 Pointed Round, Sable/Synthetic. 
  • #6 Pointed Round, Sable/Synthetic. 
  • 3/4" Flat Wash, Sable/Synthetic. 
  • #10 Pointed Round. 

Winsor Newton Watercolor Brushes Cotman Synthetics

  • #2 Round. 
  • #4 Round. 
  • Aqyarelle 1/2". 
  • #10 Round and tapered, or One Stroke 1/2". 

I have many SUPER CHEAP brushes that I love.  Pick up what feels right in your hand and that suits your budget.  These are just suggestions for those who want specifics.


Lesson One

Sampler covering the spectrum of colors, using the paints

  • right out of the bottle
  • thinned down with water
  • mixed colors adding black and white

Lesson Two

  • Applying a base of fabric paint and then adding detail
  • How to blend and how to keep the colors from bleeding
  • How to set the paints to make them permanent

Lesson Three

  • How to transfer designs to the fabric
  • Practice using complimentary colors
  • How to make shadows

Lesson Four

  • Layering color and adding detail

Lesson Five

  • Using your fabric paintings
  • How to make yardage
  • How to add salt to the paint for streaks of color
  • How to use the paints in stamping and stenciling