As an artist, you want to be experimenting with different kinds of canvases whether that's on shoes, clothing or even a rock! (See here for my rock painting lol). Or even if you're not an artist and want to make your hoodie unique or special to you, here is your guide to ensure the artwork looks amazing and most importantly, lasts.
Here I will show you all the tips I know as I have been painting on clothing for years now and have learnt many lessons along the way so that you guys can make some cool wearable art yourself!
In order to start painting, you need to make sure the hoodie is fully prepared to paint, whether it is brand new or used it needs to have a clean, ready surface to decorate. The best thing to do to prepare is to wash and dry your hoodie on the highest setting on your washing machine to ensure pre-shrinking. You will need to add detergent but not fabric softener as this may affect the way the paint stays on the hoodie whilst painting.
For my hoodie, they're sent to me already preshrunk by Rue Porter, they are the best quality hoodies I have used personally and for my work, the paints and sprays need a good material to adhere to.
Next, you will have to have the correct supplies to help you paint and ensure your wearable art piece is... wearable. I have used a few supplies over the years including fabric paints themselves, but these are the top choices in my opinion to help you create a masterpiece.
For the paints, I use Angelus Direct Leather Paints, they're very popular within the shoe customising world, but are the right consistency for painting on clothes also, they're not the thick, cheap acrylic paints your find normally. The only thing you will need to do is mix in a fabric medium to ensure the paints are ready to paint on fabric of course. Click on the items below to shop for what you need:
To hand-paint on the clothing you will need some brushes, I use many different sizes of brushes to get different effects around the design of the hoodie, here is a pack of large paint brushes for large areas such as the backgrounds: Large Paint Brush Set and here is a set of various sized brushed from Angelus that you will need for all circumstances such as portrait work: Angelus Paint Brush Set
Other important supplies:
Other things you will need include a heat gun, scotch tape, an airbrush, stencil cutter, vinyl and transfer paper. You can find all of this stuff on my Amazon storefront: https://www.amazon.co.uk/shop/camcreatez
Let's get painting! So first, when I am painting a portrait for example, I will lay down a base layer of white over the hoodie so I can paint the portrait straight on a blank canvas, and this means preparing your paint. You will need to mix a 1:1 ratio of paint to fabric medium so half paint and half fabric medium. This will ensure the acrylic paint holds to the fabric and isn't hard when dried.
Apply this onto the hoodie with a paint brush of your choice (depending on what size design you're painting), do this in multiple thin layers rather than thick layers applying the heat gun after each layer. Then this will create a base layer for you to paint on, whatever design you choice, here I have painted a Kid Cudi portrait over the white layer with normal angelus direct paints.
*You will have to get a piece of cardboard or something flat that can go inside the hoodie so that your painting surface is completely flat*
You can apply paint in many different styles, with my style of hoodies I usually paint a portrait and have an abstract background to go with the design, this includes paint flickering and paint scraping. With paint flickering I usually have a old, dried-up brush and flick the paint with my thumb on the hoodie or even just flick it viciously in a wand-bearing action. And when paint scraping, I use a palette knife and some thick acrylic paint mixed with fabric medium, put some paint on the knife and simply scrape it aimlessly across the hoodie to create the abstract effect needed.
After every use of the brush, you will need to rinse it in water, I have a trusty mug next to me when painting so it's easily accessible to clean each brush after using. This will help you maintain the durability of the brushes.
If you're into your graphic design and creating clean looking hoodies, you will need to invest in a stencil cutter to create stencils to apply to the hoodies. This is a game-changer if you do not own one or have not used stencils with fashion design, they create sharp, clean text or shapes etc so the hoodie looks professional enough to wear or to sell.
Here are the supplies you need to start creating stencils:
You can learn how to create a stencil here: How To Make a Stencil With Silhouette
I usually use stencil for text work instead of hand-painting the text so that it is perfectly readable and looks a lot cleaner in my opinion. You can see here an example of stencil work.
Spraying over stencil
With stencil work, you have a choice of brushing or spraying the paint on, personally I recommend spraying it over the stencil as it leave a clean, even coat across instead of creating brush stroke lines or paint bleeding underneath the vinyl when using a paint brush.
When spraying you will have to tape and mask around your stencilled area so there is no spray going around the hoodie. Also ensure that the workspace you're in in fully ventilated, I recommend having all doors and windows open with a fan if you're at home or if best spraying outside.
Heat set each sprayed layer with a heat gun or hair dryer and the carefully peel back the stencil when paint is fully dried to reveal the artwork.
After care of Painted Hoodie
When your hoodie is painted and you have created a masterpiece it is very important that you take care in the next 24 hours.
Wait 24 hours for your paints to completely dry ready for you to heat set the artwork properly, this starts off with using a sheet of baking paper over the artwork and ironing over for a few minutes over each part of the painting. This will almost melt the surface of the paints which heat sets them so the whole hoodie is ready to be used and washed like normal.
To finish off, you can wash the hoodie inside out on a gentle wash in your washing machine and then leave out to hang dry by itself to prevent paints cracking.
And there you have it, you have painted your own hoodie!
Now go out there and start repping your own unique artwork across the streets, be confident in your fashion, be you.
Request your own custom hoodie hand painted by myself here
If this blog post was useful in any way, please check out my other posts here!