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Free Projects, Tutorials and Ideas

How To Paint Fabric For Cross-Stitch

How To Paint Fabric For Cross-Stitch

Hand Painting your own fabric Background for Embroidery.

Would you like to get a little more creative with your cross stitching and design your own unique Hoop Art gift? Adding some colour to your cotton aida can be a fun and simple way to get creative and produce one of the kind works of art. I see a lot of embroidery artists on instagram, effectively introducing colour and depth to their work by painting their base fabric. I haven't however seen a lot of people colouring their own Aida in preparation for cross stitching. In this article I am going to show you a few different options and show you what results I came out with.

Please be aware that these paints are not washable so would be best for jazzing up some quick stitched gifts.
As an Artist I already have an embarrassingly large stash of paint supplies.  You probably have some knocking about in your draws but if you are not so sure here is a list of the type of supplies I had a play with.

Which Art Supples Do I Recommend?

For this project I used the following: 

Painted Embroidery Hoops - You can paint these yourself or find my full range here.
Water colour paint - These can be bought in little tubes or in traditional Pans
Water soluble pencils - These look like traditional pencils but dissolve and can be manipulated when you add water.
Acrilic paint pens - Acrylic pens are densely pigmented and can be used to draw on all kinds of surfaces including glass, fabric and ceramics.
Aqua Brushes - These are handy little brushes which hold water and are refillable. 

Water Colour paints used two ways.

I started by picking out the hoop in which I would be framing my finished stitching in. Once I had chosen a colour I mixed and diluted some complimentary water colour paints in my pallet. I tried out two techniques. These are my methods and the effect they created.
To create the effect above I wet the areas of the fabric I wanted to add colour.
I them gradually add diluted paint to the wet areas, gradually adding and building up pigment until I was happy with the result. Keep in mind that the colours will lighten when they dry.
To create the effect photographed above I added diluted paint directly to the dry aida. As you can see the paint is more podgy. I quite like this bubbly effect.

Playing with Water Colour and Soluble Pencils on fabric for stitching.

Next wanted to play with my water soluble pencils. I began using the first water colour technique to lay down a base colour then coloured in some areas with my pencils. When drawing on fabric you will probably have to soften the pigment by dipping the end of the pencil in water. It will bleed but not as much as the water colour paints.
I used an Aqua Brush to soften and blend the pencil lines. An aqua brush is a paint brush with a refillable reservoir of water. They are great if you are ever out and about landscape painting .
I really enjoyed the results of this painting technique. It gives almost a marble effect finish which I think will make a lovely background the stitch over.

Drawing with Acrylic Paint Pens

The final technique I tried out was drawing with paint pens. They are available in lots of colours and can be used on all kinds of surfaces. I dew some quick hearts. I didnt love the result so I played with softening the effect by adding water. 

I quite liked the effect of the colour bleeding form the hearts.
I had a lot of fun painting these and love how much the different paint effects and coloured hoops change the overall finish of this simple 'Love' Cross-Stitch.
hand painted cross stitch aida in embroider hoops
For me picking out some coloured hoops was the best place to start this creative journey. I then used these as a starting point for picking out my the colours of the Art supplies I would need.
Here are some of the colours I had to choose from.
Coloured embroidery hoops
They are all available to purchase here.
Have fun adding some colour to your life!

I would love to hear what you think.