12 Days of Christmas – Day 3 – Hand Painted Scarves

8 12 2011

Today’s project is literally an ‘oh my goodness, I have an hour to go to the Christmas party and no gift’ gift.  Very quick and easy and can also be adapted to many items other than scarves.

This project uses paints to alter the colour of and/or embellish a scarf.  In the pictures below, I have used Dye Na Flow paint in the first example and Lumiere paint in the second, but use what ever fabric paints you have.  Fabric paint is great in that it does not need to be ‘fixed’ and can go on any fabric, whether natural or man made, light and flimsy or solid like denims and cords.

Dye Na Flow is a semi transparent paint, so it blends and creates layers like a dye can.  Lumiere is an opaque, metallic or opalescent paint.  You can’t see through it to the background so it is sensational for covering patterns or colours you don’t like.  Now, I am not encouraging you to ‘regift’ per se, but if you have a fabric item that you don’t like the colour of or you want to change the look of it in other ways, fabric paints are your answer.  Or if you pick up bargains at the second hand shops, fabric paint can be a great way to modernise or refresh an item.  I am barely scratching the surface with these two examples.  A little imagination and a few tubs of paint and you could have a whole new wardrobe in a matter of hours without leaving the house.

Anyway, to the projects.  In this first one, I have used a raw silk scarf as the base, but you can use anything.  Don’t forget, synthetics, cottons, silks, blends.  Paint will stick to it all.

I sought a blended finish, so worked on a wet scarf scrunched in a bowl.  If you want colour to stay seperate, work on a dry scarf, have the scarf open and laid out and control the amount of colour you add.

So, I wet the scarf thoroughly and wrung it out so that it was wet but not drippey and popped it in a small bowl.

I then selected three colours of Dye Na Flow paint; orange, yellow and purple.  I was after a rust orange, with a hint of brown/purple through it.

Pour a small amount of the first colour over the scrunched scarf.

Pour some of the second colour over the top.  You will get blending starting to happen straight away.

Finally add the third.  Remember this is not how this is going to end up as the colours are going to blend into each other because it is so wet.  If I wanted this look, I needed to use a different method.  Poke and prod it a bit to make sure there is colour everywhere then hang it somewhere to dry.  Hang it outside on grass ideally, paint will stain concrete, carpet, tiles, your feet and everything else it comes in contact with.

Once it is dry, give it an iron to heat set it. Here is my finished piece.  You can use this as a base and put more paint on, embellish, needle felt, bead etc or you can use it as is.

I lost a lot more of the purple than I was expecting so I will probably go over and add a bit more.


The second project started as a hand dyed scarf which I just wanted to add a bit of zing to.  I used the Lumiere paints and a wet sea sponge to add splotches of textural colour and shine all over the scarf.  Again, you can do this on any fabric.  Put some news paper, plastic or other similar thing down to protect your table surface.

You only need a tiny bit of paint to get started.  Wet your sea sponge and wring it out.  If you work with a dry sponge, all your paint will end up in the centre of the sponge, not on the surface where you want it to sit.

Now, just ignore the change of paint colour from this photo to the next.  I could put it down to lighting, but I don’t think you would believe me.

Lightly dab the sponge in the paint and with a light hand, dab this across your scarf.  Do a couple of practice dabs on the edge of the bowl or a piece of fabric or paper.

Sponge randomly over the whole surface.  You will see the texture of the sponge transfering with the paint.  Also because you have a bit of water now being added, you will get a slight splitting of the paint which in itself creates an interesting texture.  Keep going until you are happy with the surface coverage.

Hang this out to dry.  It won’t be as runny as the first one, so you are less likely to get paint everywhere but still think about where you hang it.  Don’t hang a painted item on the line next to your good work gear (or worse, your partners good work gear) on a windy day.  Paint will spread while it is wet.

Once dry, iron again to heat set and you are ready to go.  Again this can just be the first stage of a more embellished piece but it will look pretty smart at that Christmas party secret santa as is.

This was a way easy project.  The next few will be a bit more complex than the first three.  We are moving into the weekend and I figure you will have more time on your hands or at least that is my story and I am sticking to it.  Also, I am building a bit in the complexity so you can choose the effort you want to put in as we go.  I hope you are enjoying this series.






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