Ever tried painting on Felt? In an attempt to add a bit of colour to a plushie’s face, I decided to do so. I knew deep down that painting fabric, like calico, would be easier but I had to try. Felt is what I use for plushie faces most of the time. Or leather. But never cotton fabrics. The reason is simple – I don’t know how to stitch a seam that has rounded corners. With felt and leather you simply cut a shape and stitch it onto the fur – no seams required. Cotton fabrics need that neat little seam to stop it from unraveling.
I realised very quickly that you need a lot of water when painting onto felt. Diluting acrylic paint with a bit of water was not enough. Dry felt creates “woolly bits” when it is not wet enough. Soaking the felt in water and diluting the paint with more water did the trick. The base colour I had in mind was a minty green but with all the water and paint it became a muddy green instead of minty green. The results are much better if you use less colours, no white paint and keep on adding water.
If you compare the original white felt to the painted felt you can see how easily the felt becomes muddy. The more you paint, the woollier the felt. Once the paint dried, I found the felt to be stiff and hard. This makes stitching easier. I found painting on felt was a bit of a hit and miss. The little green face worked really well with white fur but I am hesitant to continue drenching felt faces in water.
PAINTING ON FABRIC
This is as easy as pie and you can use almost any paint. I made the effort to buy fabric paint but with the technique I use, it doesn’t really matter what kind of paint you use.
It is much easier to blend layers of colours on calico or similar fabric. I found acrylic paint works best. Fabric paint is not as translucent as acrylic paint, for good reason, but I prefer having layers of colours. How did I solve my round corner stitching? For now I cut the fur away, use a machine to zig-zag the edges of the fabric, backing the fabric with felt and then put it all together with my trusted blanket stitch. It is also the only stitching technique I know! Below is a sample of fabric paint used on calico.