How to make glitter designs for clothing

Written by ryn gargulinski
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How to make glitter designs for clothing
Glitter stars are glam (Illustration by Ryn Gargulinski)

If you really want to sparkle and shine, you can do so with glitter designs for clothing. Glitter catches the eye and can really make a garment go from mundane to marvellous. It's also universal and works well on the most casual jeans to the dressiest dresses.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Fabric paint
  • Fabric glue
  • Glitter
  • Paper
  • Drawing instrument
  • Cardboard
  • Binder clips

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  1. 1

    Decide where you want your design. Pick an article of clothing that needs some jazzing up and figure out where you want to jazz it. Jean jackets may need a design across the top back or sleeves. A dress could use some sparkles around the neckline. A basic T-shirt might beg for a design on the front.

  2. 2

    Create your design. Draw an outline the same size of the area you want to put the design. Figure out what would work best. Bat wings across the back and skulls on the sleeves might work for the jean jacket. A series of swirls could dress up the dress. Perhaps you'd like a dragon on the T-shirt.

  3. 3

    Decide where you want the glitter on the design. The entire design will be painted on the clothing and then enhanced with glitter. You can put a thin layer of glitter atop the whole design, set it up around the borders or randomly dot glitter throughout the body of the illustration. A good use of glitter for the dragon could be a thin overlay of green fire glitter for his body, thick dabs of golden orange glitter concentrated on his claws and teeth and a thick line of fuchsia glitter outlining his wings, which you can fill in with a thin overlay of rose glitter. If that's too glittery for you, you can just outline his wings with the fuchsia and add golden orange to his claws and teeth.

  4. 4

    Create the design on the clothing. Lay the area of clothing you're going to paint flat and taut on a piece of cardboard. You may want to clip the edges with binder clips to keep it in place. Use fabric paint to sketch the outline of the design, then fill in as desired. Allow it to dry.

  5. 5

    Add the glitter. Apply a thin application of fabric glue on all the areas you want glitter. Gently sprinkle the glitter over the glue until it's as dense as you want it. Allow it to dry. Shake off any excess.

Tips and warnings

  • Test both the fabric paint and glue to make sure it won't ruin the outfit. Apply a small amount of both on an inside of the garment and wash it if it's a washable item. See how it stands up. You should also prewash any new garments before applying your design.
  • Instead of gluing on glitter, you can opt for a fabric paint that already has glitter mixed in. This will stick better but will have a less dramatic effect.
  • Glitter, fabric paint and other supplies can be found at art supply or craft stores. You can also order glitter online (see Resources).
  • Glitter comes in a wide array of colours. You can also mix glitter to create your own specialised hues.
  • Ultra-fine glitter will spread more evenly than glitter with coarser grains.

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