How to Splatter Fabric Paint

Fabric paint is a versatile medium that can be used to decorate all kinds of fabric. Turn a plain white apron into a customised gift for Mom or make personalised T-shirts for your friends at school. When it comes to using fabric paints there are many techniques which can be used to create different effects. Fabric paint can be mixed, glitter can be added, and you can even splatter the paint to make interesting patterns.

Prepare your work area by spreading a plastic sheet on the ground or work table. If you do not have a plastic sheet or tarp you can use layers of plastic garbage bags or newspaper.

Lay out the items you plan to paint onto the work surface you have prepared. If you are painting clothing like T-shirts, insert pieces of cardboard or newspaper in between the layers of fabric so the paint does not bleed through to the other side. Lay the items out flat on the work surface.

Mix the fabric paint with water to create the proper consistency. Pour your desired colours of fabric paint into separate containers and stir in small amounts of water until the mixture reaches the consistency of double cream.

Dip a paint brush into the paint mixture and hold it with your thumb and middle finger. Hold the brush over the item to be painted and tap it with your index finger, snapping your wrist downward to flick the paint from the brush onto the fabric with each tap. Move the brush to splatter different areas on the fabric and wash the brush thoroughly before switching to another colour of paint.

Create smaller splatters by using a toothbrush to transfer fabric paint to fabric. Add more water to your fabric paint mixtures, stirring it well, until the consistency is like that of whole milk. Dip the toothbrush into the mixture and shake off any excess paint then hold the brush in your dominant hand with your thumb resting on the bristles. Curl your thumb downward and inward, flicking the bristles to splatter the paint onto the fabric.

Allow the paint to dry completely before moving the fabric. Most fabric paints dry within 24 to 48 hours but it may take longer if you applied any thick layers of paint. After your fabric is dry, it should be ready to use. Most fabric paints do not require heat setting but check the label on your paint to be sure.


Try creating bands of colour by laying strips of paper or aluminium foil across the fabric to be painted. As you splatter the paint, the paper or foil will prevent the paint from touching the fabric it covers and the result will be bands of splattered colour alternating with bands of clean fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric paint
  • Water
  • Paint brush
  • Toothbrush
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About the Author

Katherine Barrington has written on a variety of topics, from arts and crafts to pets, health and do-it-yourself projects. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a creative writing concentration from Marietta College.