Over the years, I have experimented on and off with painting and embroidering on denim. I thought it might be fun to do a blog post about the process in case you might want to do some experimenting of your own. This is a really inexpensive method and I have laundered my jeans for YEARS with no special care. The paint does fade a little over time and if you have thick layers it can crack a little but it works really well. There are some finer quality paints available (which I just ordered to try) but if you just want to play around on old pair of jeans this is perfect.
In the picture above, you can see that there are fabric paints that you don’t have to add anything to. They are non-toxic and water based so you just need to paint, let dry for 24 hours and heat set with an iron or in the dryer. I didn’t use these because the colors I have at home are limited and I have a ton of regular folk art acrylic paint so I just used what I had.
Above are the paints I used but you can use what ever acrylic paint you may have at home.
In order to make your regular acrylic paint into fabric paint there is a fabric medium that you can add. There are many brands out there that, I’m sure, are great but this is just what I had at home and can vouch that it works.
Pictured above is what I used as my textile medium. It turns your acrylic paint into permanent washable fabric paint. Mix two parts paint and one part textile medium, let the paint dry, then heat set with an iron (I actually just ran mine in the dryer for 15-20 minutes after the paint had dried overnight.)
I used this white pencil.
I also tried the pen. This was cool too. It looks like a marker The lines appear as the ink dries then it washes right out. I have also used Sakura gel pens which are also water soluble and are much darker. So, plenty of tools you can use to make sketches.
You really don’t need to know any complicated stitches to create some complimentary embroidery. I used a simple RUNNING STITCH to add some highlights. If you’ll notice, in the top right corner, I accidentally dripped some paint. Guess what? There are no mistakes here, just opportunity. I used the drips as the center of some simple flowers. Click HERE if you would like a free tutorial on the running stitch and a free printable to practice on!
An easy way to transfer an embroidery pattern to stitch onto your jeans is to trace the pattern onto some STICK-N-WASHAWAY on a light box or a bright window. Peel off the paper backing then adhere where you want to stitch.
HERE is a link to the pattern you see above.
Pictured above is what I used to trace my pattern onto You can also buy this in printable sheets that can be used on your home printer. Once you have finished your stitching you can wash the stabilizer off with warm water leaving behind just the stitching.
You don’t have to know how to paint at all to do this. Consider stencils. There are a million cool ones out there and you could even do lettering with a meaningful quote then add some stitch work to complement your design. Think of all the possibilities! Endless. If you don’t want to try it yourself, I am adding a listing to my shop to customize a pair of jeans. I have a pair that I have been repairing and painting over the course of 16 YEARS so if you have a pair you just can’t bear to throw away, think about giving them a new life:)
Well thanks, as always for visiting! Wishing you lots of inspiration and “arting” in 2019!!