How To Select Your Fabric Paints

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In all the excitement about purchasing paint for fabric you run to the local art and craft store to purchase you arsenal of fabric paints. The displays are beautiful and the variety...nothing short of astounding. I can hear the music playing in the background even now, it makes you want to float and dance through the paint aisle. Oh if you could just stay in this lovely place; at least until the beautiful song ends and then perhaps you can move on.

So what do you do when the whole aisle is calling you, no, begging you to clear the shelves and take them home for a trial spin. You feel like a kid in a candy shop and your sweet tooth is calling you, no shouting to you... "You need this!" Of course you don't but you start to tell yourself how much you deserve to have it and it's only X dollars. Screeeeeeech! Okay, it's time to put on the brakes and regroup.

Believe me; this has happened to me so many times in the past I've considered initiating a group of painterholics anonymous. Of course I'm kidding about that but the challenge can be real. There are so many choices and great paints on the market that if you don't know what you're doing you can easily become overwhelmed and possibly over spend and end up with a lot of unwanted, unnecessary paint.

Remember what you wanted to paint and the fabric you will be painting on. This narrows your search down a tad. So, if you're painting on a tee shirt you really don't need that gorgeous gold paint for leather that seems to be winking at you every time you walk past it. And you certainly don't need the artist's acrylics, silk-screen, watercolor or airbrush paints, and quite frankly what were you going to do with a six-pack of glass and ceramic paint.

What is it that you really do need? Well that's the million dollar question isn't it; but fortunately it's one with a less pricey answer. You need fabric paint. Hopefully a formula or brand that does not require heat setting; do they exist- yes they do and let me tell you the joy of not having to wait until your fabric dries to iron and set the paint into your fabric permanently.

In choosing the right fabric paints you also avoid your artistry peeling, cracking or fading from the garment. Believe me it can be embarrassing to see portions of your art falling off the shirt. By that time it's too late to ask Aunt Sue to give the gift back to you though you'd really like her to when you saw it after the first wash. Now sometimes this is not entirely the paints fault as it will peel if it is not properly applied as well.

Anyway, back to your paint selection; check the label to ensure that it is fabric paint. Choose paints that are non-toxic, water based paints that are permanent and do not have to be heat set. There are so many of these out there that you will need to experiment with small amounts to see which one you find most suitable for your style and project. There are the flat or smooth non-dimensional paints, glitter, pearl, neon, metallic and dimensional paints.

These paints also come in a variety of sizes from 1 oz. to 8 oz. containers, squeezies and brush dippers. I would recommend you going with moderate sizes initially and choosing colors you really, really like. Otherwise those so-so colors will stay on your shelf until they clot.

Enjoy your shopping and choose your paints wisely!

Teri M. Bethel is handbag designer and textile artist. She specializes in creating hand painted fabrics for designers as well as teaching do-it-yourselfers from around the world how to paint with texture for their personal projects. Teri is the designer of Teri Monique Handbags, a line of custom made art purses for ladies.

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