Friday, January 27, 2023

Sew Your Stash: Painting Tulle

When you can't find the perfect fabric for your project, make it yourself! Jenny from Made of Starlite did just that with her show-stopping tulle from the Project Art Studio Lookbook!

When building the vision board for Project Art Studio, I ran across thee amazing painted tulle skirts! They were the perfect embodiment of everything an artists studio should be in my opinion: colorful, playful, and whimsical! I just knew I HAD to do something similar!

I started with regular mesh tulle from JoAnn Fabrics, nothing fancy, and regular acrylic paint. I tried a few techniques to get the paint to stick to the tulle, the most successful being suspending the tulle between two chairs with hangers and using a foam craft brush. I also went over most of the lines at least twice. 

I would be curious to experiment with different types of paint for this type of project! The biggest hurtle I came up against was getting enough surface tension for the paint to fill in the holes of the tulle and make a solid line, rather than just breaking apart and sticking only to the individual fibers in the fabric. I wonder if a different, thicker paint would stick better. I also ran out of fabric medium, which I usually add to acrylic paints when using them on fabric, and I wonder if that would have helped any, or made it worse?

Full disclosure: Because I ended up with straight acrylic paint, this in not a washable dress. The skirt is pretty stiff, and some of the paint has flaked off as she has worn it. I would say that this technique, while SO cool, may be for more of a couture piece than every day wear. She has worn it to a fancy night out over the holidays, as well as to a play. It still looks new, but we did notice a few flakes on her seat at the theatre as we were leaving. 

So while I wouldn't call this a fail, it's not 100% where I would like it to be. My goal with children's fashion is to be able to wear and abuse it, and for it to still look amazing! Stay tuned for more fabric painting adventures in the future! Someday I will find the perfect medium for my next painted tulle dress to last forever! 

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