Monday, March 3, 2014

How To Paint a Fabric Dress form

This is a simple story of an item in my home that I just was not willing to part with, but just could no longer live with! What could I do to fix my dilemma? Easy right? Clad my fabric dress form in a black shirt or other piece of clothing and voila!.... nope....Not so much. The neckline was still alarmingly hot pink, and the scarf I tried looked conspicuous at best, she looked like a suspect in a bank robbery police line up! what? sell her, hide her, cover her in paper? Then an idea struck....could I paint her? I don't know? maybe!!!

 I dashed to the keyboard and began searching for "painting fabrics". I found some amazing tutorials {there are many} mostly about painting old chairs {very cool to know} but not exactly what I was trying to do. I decided that I would share MY  process inspired by these tutorials that I adapted for my particular project! 

Like most of the tutorials I started by preparing my object and gathering the required materials.
  • painters tape
  • fabric medium I used Martha Stewart crafts fabric medium found at Michael's and used a coupon
  • acrylic paint Folk art linen used here.this took 4 small bottles 
  • paint brush
  • disposable container
  • mixing stick {I used a large craft stick}
  • drop cloth to protect the floor
  • time { this is not a super fast process}
Apply painters tape securely around any areas you do not wish to get paint on, I suggest you not skip this step because the paint mixture will be very thin! 
  • Mix equal parts fabric medium and paint, and 1/2 part water. Most tutorials call for equal parts of all 3 ingredients, but this dress form is a Styrofoam base with a layer of  fabric glued to it, in my case a velvet textured fabric that soaked up moisture like a sponge. Too much water only served to pull the glue away in the curved areas of the mannequin, causing a small panic attack that I quickly pushed aside and soldiered on!    
Apply the mixture with a real paint brush not a foam craft brush, work in a small area, and move along trying not to over saturate areas already painted. Your fist coat of paint will barely cover, I call this the "soak coat"  It soaks into the fabric and when dry creates a nice "canvas" for the next coat of paint. Allow to dry completely before applying another layer of your mixture. I attacked another project or popped in some laundry in between coats. 

as you can see there is a dramatic difference between the coverage of the 1st and 2nd coat
left side one coat / right side two coats.

Here she is after 3 coats, some of the black raised velvet is still visible, and a final coat will be needed. I could have stopped here, but wanted a solid opaque color. The look is a total transformation, a neutral dress form that I can embellish for any season, Holiday or mood. She can also now be placed in most any room and fit right in. { I have been known to threaten to place her next to Mr. Wonderful's  side of the bed in the middle of the night while he is sleeping} but I will leave it up to you to plan your own hilarious mannequin antics! We are painting here.... not torturing family members for laughs..... ahem.     shall we see her completed?

Here she is all finished! I skipped the water on my last coat of paint using the fabric medium and paint only. I love the textured detail but all the benefits of a color I can actually live with!  This photo shows shadows of those raised textured areas, but believe me she is a solid creamy white color with no black or pink showing at all. This took a whole day of painting, dry time, painting, drying, well you get the idea. By 10:00 pm she was dry and ready to stand proud with no fear of any smudging or tacky fingers. When she gets dusty I can wipe her with a damp cloth safely, or dust her off. She feels a little more stiff than before but by no means plastic-ish or laminated by paint, that why the fabric medium is so important in this process, it allows fabric to remain......well you know...fabric! 

share your stories with me and my readers, have you painted a fabric item or plan to?

1 comment:

Lisarenae said...

I can't wait to see her decorated! I know it'll be something gorgeous!