Painting Fabric with Screen Printing Ink

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Desperate times call for desperate measures. That can be the only explanation for me taking on a DIY project.

You see, I’m working with no budget for my Room Service shelter project at the United Methodist Children’s Home (literally $0) so I’m doing as much as I can with things I already have. As I mentioned, I’m going for a sunroom-like feel (that’s an inspiration photo above) so I knew I wanted to bring in some wicker. I’ve had a set of these wicker chairs in my inventory which are perfect for this project except for the cushion colors.

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Well, cushions are easy enough to recover, right? Normally, yes but not in this case. For some some reason these cushions were attached by screws and glued all the way around (not by me). In other words, removing them was going to be a nightmare.

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Taking them to the upholsterer was out of the question because of the $0 budget. So then my only option was to try and paint the fabric. I got online and read all about it and read that screen printing ink was better wearing than fabric paint. So then I read a bunch of reviews for screen printing ink and everyone seemed to agree Speedball was the best brand.

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I ordered a jar from Amazon and went to work. First I taped off the frame:

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I then tried applying the paint straight out of the tub using a foam brush:

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It’s pretty thick and was hard to get an even coat so then I tried watering it down a tiny bit just to get a layer down. I thought that would make it easier to apply additional coats over it and it did.

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I then went back and applied several coats full strength. Unlike with normal paint, you should apply any additional coats within a few minutes before it’s completely dry.

I also abandoned the foam brush at this point and used a roller because the brush left too many marks. The roller worked so much better. For areas the roller couldn’t reach like around the back and around the piping, I used a small art brush.

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I let it dry overnight and here’s how they turned out:

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Since I was going from dark to light, it took several coats but I imagine if you were going from like to like colors, it would only take one or two. (I chose white because I’m going to have a lot of other colors in the room.)

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I could have even used another coat but I kind of liked a little of the pattern still showing through as it gave it some depth. This paint goes a long way. I used about 2/3 of the 8 oz. jar for the four chairs.

So overall, a pretty painless project – even for me.

(Photos: FROM THE RIGHT BANK except 1.via my Pinterest board)

*The shelter project will be completed over the next month so I’ll be taking donations through then. If you’d like to contribute to this very worthy cause, please click on the “Donate” button you see at the top right hand corner under the FTRB logo. Thank you!

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5 comments

  1. Marybeth Reid says:

    Years ago I gessoed a settee and then painted a period mural on the fabric. It turned out well. I seriously doubt that I would have the patience to do it now.

  2. Samantha says:

    Awesome. I’m a fan of screen printing paints.
    I wonder if you need to go over the paint with an iron (and piece of fabric inbetween) to heat set it?

  3. Johnyang says:

    Sehr schönes Blog über Malerei Stoff mit Siebdruckfarbe. Dieses Gemälde Tinte ist nicht so teuer. es ist in Ihrem Haushalt. Unbedingt lesen und versuchen, es ist sehr interessant.

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