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Alicia W
Alicia W
  • Hometalker
  • Middletown, PA

Painting Watercolor Onto Fabric

6 Materials
1 Day

I love the soft look of watercolor, don't you? These chair cushions are NOT watercolor; they are just faded and moldy - yuk! They needed to be recovered and given a new life.
painting watercolor onto fabric
I purchased a white, king, flat bedsheet from Walmart for this project.
painting watercolor onto fabric
Begin by removing the old covers from the cushions. You will use the old covers as a template for the new covers.
painting watercolor onto fabric
After you've washed (without fabric softener) and dried your fabric (bedsheet), lay it out double sided and place the old cushion cover on top.
Using chalk, trace the outside edge of the old cushion cover on one half. Cut that half out.

painting watercolor onto fabric
To assure an even shape, fold the cut half over and trace and cut out the remainder of the fabric (bedsheet).
painting watercolor onto fabric
For the paint, I used tube watercolor instead of cakes. Tubes will give you a consistent color overall.
Add a small amount into a container.

painting watercolor onto fabric
Add three times as much fabric medium and mix together.
painting watercolor onto fabric
Add water and mix again. The more water you add, the lighter the color.
painting watercolor onto fabric
For my project, instead of a paint brush, I used cotton swabs.
For a bigger impact, I rubber banded approximately 20 swabs together. I used this bundle for my main color.
I made two smaller bundles for my two accent colors.
painting watercolor onto fabric
Cover your surface with an old towel and then placed two layers of paper toweling over the old towel.
Place your fabric (bedsheet), single sided, on top of the toweling.

(I didn't use plastic because it doesn't absorb the water, thereby making the fabric very wet which causes the colors to run into each other more than I wanted them to.)
painting watercolor onto fabric
Dip the bunches of cotton swabs into the watercolor and apply it to the fabric.
The longer you allow the cotton swabs to be in contact with the fabric, the more paint will be applied to the fabric resulting in a larger area of color.
painting watercolor onto fabric
I also used individual cotton swabs for small spots of color.
painting watercolor onto fabric
When you've completed your design (it's very hard to stop :), hang your fabric to dry.
When the fabric is dry, lay a cloth over the fabric and press it with a hot iron. This will seal the color onto the fabric.
painting watercolor onto fabric
Sew the fabric together and recover the cushions.

If the fabric is going to be outdoors, you can seal it with a waterproofing spray such as Scotchgard.
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 20 questions
  • DEE
    on Aug 7, 2017

    why didnt you just paint over the original covers... i like the cording of the originals.. also the fit is perfect.... do hope you kept the originals..

    • Vicky Corey
      on Sep 1, 2017

      She did it the way she wanted it done. Lol They look great!!

  • Doriah
    on Aug 30, 2017

    GREAT IDEA! i'm not a craft person so i ask: will the watercolor paint remain permanent?

  • Nan y
    on Sep 28, 2017

    How do you clean them?

Join the conversation

2 of 81 comments
  • PJ Wise
    on Sep 18, 2017

    Love the idea. It looks so cool and fresh. I think I'm going to make a slipcover using this idea for my bedroom lounge. Thank you!

  • Sharon Kettner
    on Oct 1, 2017

    The fabric is so beautiful! And the only one like it. You really made these old chairs new again! You are very talented.

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