Painting fabric opens up so many options to customize your creation just how you want it. For example, you could absolutely use a minky in tiger print to make this decor piece. However, you could make it look accurate to a tiger’s stripe placement on their head by painting the stripes. I’ll show you the two methods I used on my tigers.
What You Will Need:
- -Object to Paint (these tigers were made using the Lion and Wildcat Ride-On Toy and Wall Decor Sewing Pattern and Tutorial.
- -Acrylic Paint or Fabric Paint Marker (I used Fabrico brand)
- -Small Paint Brush (if using acrylic paint)
- -Q-Tips (if using the fabric paint marker)
- -Ball Point Pen (optional)
Avoid using Sharpies®, gel pens or any other medium that smears and does not dry properly on the fabric. If you’re unsure, test it on a scrap of fabric and see how it works.
These tigers were made using Shannon Fabric’s 3mm pile Cuddle® 3.
If you need a reference photo to help inspire your process, pull it up and let’s get started. I used images of real tigers to inspire my stripe patterns.
Lay the Base: (optional) I used a ball point pen and lightly marked out the stripes. You can dive straight into painting, but I was more comfortable laying this base prior to painting.
Acrylic Paint Method: I used a method called “dry brushing” with the acrylic paint. Place a small amount of paint on the tip of your paint brush. Then brush it a little on a piece of paper until it is almost ‘dry’. Then dab and brush the paint brush onto the fabric where you’d like to paint. This method takes patience.
TEST this on a scrap of fabric to practice prior to applying to your project!
I did two passes on the paint on each stripe. Then brushed over it with a wire bristle dog slicker brush to smooth it. It does slightly change the texture of the fabric, but it isn’t too stiff or clumpy using this method.
Fabric Paint Marker Method: For the Bengal Tiger, I tried a Fabrico Paint Marker in black. I prefer this method to the acrylic.
I simply drew the tiger’s stripes in short sections with the paint marker. After I drew a small section of a stripe, I ‘wiped/dabbed’ it with the a Q-tip to remove excess paint, blend the color into the fabric and ‘feather’ the edge of the stripe to soften it. I used a lot of Q-tips but without the Q-tips the fur would have been more stiff with ridged lines.
I brushed over the tiger with a wire bristled dog slicker brush to smooth and blend. The fabric texture isn’t too stiff and the color is vibrant.
TEST and practice on scrap fabric prior to applying it to your project.
Note: I look forward to trying airbrushing someday, but for now, this method got the job done!