How to Stencil & Print on Curtains

Written by clare bills
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Add personalised, decorative elements to your curtains using special fabric paints. You can print them freehand or use stamps or stencils to boost your confidence. Choose from a variety of colours, including metallic gold and silver, to give your creativity a wide berth. Some paints feature a "puffy" quality, giving them a more dimensional look. Practice on test fabric first to ensure your selected paint colours coordinate well with your curtains.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Curtains of your choice
  • Fabric paint
  • Watercolour pencil
  • Chalk
  • Stamps
  • Small flat art brush
  • Stencils
  • Stencil brushes
  • Paper plates
  • Paper towels

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  1. 1

    Wash your curtains to remove any sizing before you attempt to stencil or print on them. Sizing may prevent the paint from bonding with the curtain material.

  2. 2

    Choose stencils that have one overlay for the quickest and easiest results. A stencil with two or more overlays requires that each layer be stencilled separately over paint that has completely dried. If the design comes with more than one overlay, both must be used to accomplish the design.

  3. 3

    Lay your clean curtains on a large surface and plan out your design. For best results, pin pieces of paper or fabric where you intend to stencil or print. If you desire a symmetrical design, use chalk to mark the centre of your curtains and where each design or letter should be placed.

  4. 4

    Practice printing with the fabric paint on a piece of large paper. Most fabric paint comes with a tip which can be used to apply paint by squeezing the paint while gently moving your hand. Work with the paint until you're able to squeeze out a consistent line of paint. When you're confident, print your letters or design onto your curtains.

  5. 5

    Brush your stamp with fabric paint using a flat art brush. Carefully press the stamp straight down onto the fabric and lift it without rocking it back and forth. Reapply paint each time before you make another impression on your curtains.

  6. 6

    Squeeze a small amount of paint onto a paper plate to prepare to stencil. Dip the tip of your stencil brush straight down into the paint and swirl it around to load your brush.

  7. 7

    Fold a paper towel into fourths and remove a bit of the paint onto the paper towel for a semi-dry brush. Keeping your stencil brush vertical, move the brush over your stencil in small circles to complete your design. If you are using two overlays, let the first paint layer dry for at least an hour before applying the next overlay, and stencilling additional colour. Before hanging the curtains, let them dry at least two hours or until the paint is completely dry.

Tips and warnings

  • For best results when printing letters, use a watercolour pencil or chalk to draw your letters onto your curtains. Then follow with the paint.
  • For crisp lines while stencilling, use a semi-dry brush on fabric. Too much paint will cause the paint to seep under the stencil and ruin the design.
  • Fabric paints may be purchased at most craft or art stores.
  • Stencilling on fabrics with a pile, such as polar fleece, velvet or corduroy will be very difficult. For best results choose smooth fabrics, made from cotton or cotton blends, polyester, silk, rayon and linen.

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