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Stencil Painting on Fabric

Stencil painting on fabric is an easy way to customize you decor or even your clothing. You don’t even need fancy stencils or paint. In fact, I love using plain old letter and number stencils like you can find in the craft store and acrylic or fabric paint.  It gives it a vintage feel.  You can also use your own designs as well.
Stencils for painting on fabric

 I pulled out some letter and number stencils  I had (from Micheal’s), some black acrylic paint and my stencil brush and played a little bit.  While I used  burlap and it isn’t going to be washed, you can use either a fabric paint or an acrylic paint with a fabric medium. It depends on the type of fabric you use.  For a fabric you won’t be washing,  plain acrylic paint is fine to use.
Paint a hand painted custom linen pillow
When using a natural fiber fabric such as linen , hemp or cotton for something like a pillow cover, pre-wash your fabric a ahead of time helps to remove any sizing.

Create lots of different decor based on the size of the stencil

You can use one large stencil or collage lots of different ones. Just pick a stencil design you know you’ll love, or create your own or mix  and match to create items like towels
Stretch out fabric for stenciling
Wen stenciling on fabric, lay your fabric flat. For my stenciling project, I laid out my message to figure out spacing. I decided on “stay a while” to make into a pillow.
Laying out letter for stenciling on fabric
 I only have one “A”, so I’ll just move it when I’m done.
Letters with fabric paint for stencling

When lining up letters use painter’s tape

Painter’s tape can be helpful to keep your letters in a straight line. I stenciled each letter and then over-lapped them slightly to line them up. I eye-balled it, but you could put down a strip of blue painter’s tape to make sure they line up properly. When applying the paint, move the brush in a circular motion to get into the fabric grain. For a loose weave like a burlap, you may need more paint. Place a piece of newspaper or freezer paper underneath to help with any bleed through.
Stencling letters on fabric
 It was super easy and fun, so after the first one, I kept going.

Tips on applying paint to a stencil

When stenciling, add the paint to the brush and then off-load any extra paint onto a paper towel to avoid globby paint marks. Apply in a circular motion. Or, try using a make up sponge and apply with a pouncing motion. If your worried about bleeding, you can use a repositionable adhesive spray to help it stay sticky in place.
Stenciled stay a while on burlap
I thought this would be cute for newlyweds. You can see how I used the fabric to make a really cute tray.
Mr and Mrs stenciled on fabric
 And then I did a few numbers just for the heck of it to use in other projects.


Numbers stenciled on fabric
 I think this would be cute on canvas too, heavier fabric or even a lamp shade!

I decided to cut the numbers up and make these really cute,little buckets for herbs. This technique can be used on t-shirts or other clothing too. If you want to paint on fabric see this painted  jean makeover post!

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  1. so simple, so effective! i use that most basic of stencils (i call them grocery store stencils) in a lot of my work.


  2. Great idea, Jen! I’ve done stencils on Osnaberg fabric and it comes out great on it. Also on something that won’t be washed ~ I did mine on a footstool. I just got two new French design stencils that I’m dying to try out on fabric. There may just be pillows in the making for those!

  3. Jen,
    I think I am always behind the times LOL.I still love burlap.And I love this idea with your stencils.Can’t wait to see your newest treasure.I need to get out shopping.

  4. Thanks for showing us this project. I’ve never tried stenciling on fabric and I don’t know why. Thanks for showing me how easy it is.


  5. Nice stenciling, Jennifer. I had the same burlap burnout till I found a pile in the back of the garage while spring cleaning. Now, I’m using them in projects again.

  6. I LOVE this! I definitely want to try it. The possibilities for personalized pillows, etc. are endless! Thanks, Jennifer, for the great inspiration!

  7. This is lovely– i also did stenciling super similar to this a few weeks ago! Check it out! Hereiwritethesethoughts.blogspot.com


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