Kidkraft Dollhouse Makeover

Earlier this summer on my drive home one day, I spotted this enormous dollhouse in the driveway at a neighbors garage sale. Customizing a dollhouse is something I’ve always dreamed of doing and on this day with this house it felt like it was time! I snapped this before picture with Blythe inside for scale. It’s the 1/6th scale Kidkraft Savannah Dollhouse which retails for over $200 and appears to fetch a good chunk of change even secondhand. My price tag? $10

There were definitely some issues with this dollhouse. It was filthy and appeared to have been taken apart and rebuilt incorrectly so it was rickety and the walls and floors weren’t staying in place. For $10 I took a chance on it with hopes I could take it apart, clean and refinish the pieces and find instructions online to rebuild it in all it’s original glory. And that I did.

Here you can see how how dirty and water damaged the pieces were when I started. As a first step I dusted everything and wiped it all down with cleaner. Then to be sure the paint would adhere to the surface, I brushed a coat of gesso onto all the walls and floors. When the gesso was dry, they all got a coat of white paint.

Using the instructions I found online, I got all the frame pieces sorted and separated all the unnecessary screws the previous owner had randomly placed to keep it from falling apart. My original plan was to refresh the frame with white paint, but once it was cleaned and sanded, I liked the look and opted to keep the slightly worn finish.

I thought it made sense to design the interior and update the walls and floors before putting the entire thing back together, but once I got into the project I realized it would be easier to have a blank canvas rebuilt and standing in my art room that I could slowly work on over time, room by room. The image above shows the tools and materials I used to wallpaper the one of the rooms with scrapbooking paper.

It took 4 sheets of the scrapbooking paper to complete the room because once the pattern was matched to seam the pieces together it made portions of each sheet unusable. Keep this in mind if you’re planning a similar project. I only bought 3 and had to make a run back to the store part way through in order to finish. These walls are partially wallpapered intentionally because I’ll be adding wainscoting to the lower portion eventually.

Now for the rebuild and the one issue I ran into. When I took the dollhouse apart, I mistakenly pulled apart pieces that originally came assembled when it was brand new. In the picture above, you’ll see the walls inside those pieces are black. Once the original side walls were repainted, they wouldn’t fit back into the grooves securely so when it came time to build the dollhouse they both fell apart. I went back to the craft store and purchased similar board to replace the side walls, but they only had the correct weight and thickness in black. I actually like the black wall for now and can always modify it as I continue to work on it room by room.

Here she is all spruced up and put back together! You can see in this image that I did replace the flooring in the attic prior to the rebuild because I knew I wanted to use this floor. I simply cut peel and stick vinyl floor panels from the home improvement store to the correct length and stuck them in. I plan to use similar panels in a lighter color for other rooms but want to cut them down into tiny pieces and lay a properly scaled wood floor so that will be another project for another day.

Finally, the before and after. I purchased this miniatures class a while back so now instead of building a room box for the class project, I can apply the lessons to this dollhouse. I’m so happy with how this came out. It’s such a lovely blank canvas and I’m looking forward to the slow process of designing and decorating the interior with found and handmade things. I’m also having visions of using the rooms as little sets for photos and maybe even stop motion eventually!

Our Homeschool Story

I can still remember the visceral reaction I had on the tour of our neighborhood public elementary school like it was yesterday. My son and I had spent his first 5 years playing freely in our backyard, making art, building inventions and making messes in our shared maker space, going on hikes and long beach walks with our hiking group and developing long lasting friendships through our mom group. We were members of the zoo and the natural history museum, spent countless hours exploring at the beach, and visited the library every single week to borrow piles of books and hang out with other kids at Lego Play. He’d learned and grown so much through how we lived, I struggled with the idea that this transition into a formal academic environment was necessary. I cried when I got home.

Then as the summer stretched on, I settled into the idea of sending him off to Kindergarten. I focused on how great it would be to walk to and from school since it’s so close by, how small and cute the school was, and how it had a native garden right out front. I got excited about pursuing a creative business in my time that would be freed up. He got excited about computer lab and couldn’t wait to learn more about science. I signed him up, took the obligatory first day of school photo on the front porch and sent him off with his PB&J punched in the shape of a heart.

In the early weeks, I watched him gain confidence and independence. He was doing well with his school work, his teacher raved about his kindness and willingness to help others and he had lots of new friends. But he was coming home exhausted, angry and emotional every day and didn’t want to do anything but collapse onto the couch and watch tv. He’d cry to me that he was so excited to learn science, but nothing they did was fun. He didn’t like art because they always told him what to make. He hated worksheets. He hated writing. The pressure to read was frustrating and attempting to get him to do his homework was out of the question. He’d lost his spark and I couldn’t bear it anymore. I considered pulling him out and had extensively researched homeschooling at this point, and then the pandemic hit.

It wasn’t exactly smooth sailing from there but kiddo was home. He had space to sleep in, decompress and choose how to spend most of his time. I made an effort to support him through distance learning and set up a colorful little corner for him, but it didn’t take long to see that it wasn’t worth the fight or the tears. I didn’t hold the belief that he would fall behind and felt confident he was right where he should be. We officially became homeschoolers.

During those long days at home, he discovered a love of audio books and would spend hours just laying on the floor with a blanket listening to his favorites over and over. I read The Indian in the Cupboard aloud (a childhood favorite of mine; did anyone else dream about filling the cupboard with My Little Ponies??!!) and we built a miniature model of the tee-pee described in the book. We drew pictures, built puzzles, played board games, re-created Lego Masters at home, explored kitchen science, baked, camped in our living room watching a live eagle cam, and spent many hours playing video games together – designing our Animal Crossing Island and building our Stardew Valley farm. I didn’t require him to read or write in the beginning. We just read aloud, played and spent quality time together.

After a few months, we were ready to incorporate a new resource into our homeschool, so based on his love of audio books I purchased the modern secular literature based curriculum, Build Your Library. I love the simplicity, it’s affordable and can be done with a library card, a printer, a small stack of books that can be purchased online and an internet connection. We started with Level 0 Around the World and had the best time making our passports together.

It was such a natural continuation of what we’d been doing. No drilling phonics or math, no expectations other than spending time together exploring new places and ideas through good books and hands on activities. Life was good, we were loving learning together and we’ve never looked back!!

Ten Things

There was once a blog I absolutely adored, Fox’s Lane. I loved the lifestyle she shared, her creativity and honesty, the slow mindfulness. I was sad to see her stop blogging at a time when most blogs of this type had already left for shorter forms of communication on social media. Recently I was thinking of her, did a quick google search and there she was!! She’d returned to blogging…

It reminded me of why I started this blog in the first place, so today I’m going to steal one of Kate’s simple formats and share 10 things.

ONE

Gardening is a skill on my long list of things to learn in this life. Right now, I mostly just maintain whatever is already growing in my yard but last year I buried seeds in one pot and to my surprise they came back this year, despite my absolute neglect. They lasted a week. A lovely week it was!

TWO

I read this book about the Enneagram, which I’d heard about all over the place but never dove into. I quickly and easily identified as a 9, The Peacemaker. My major takeaway was how our personalities are fluid, moving up and down on a spectrum ranging from healthy to average to unhealthy and recognizing that I’d been stuck in the unhealthy range for a while. The author wrote about how 9’s can sleepwalk through life, trapped in habitual patterns of mindless reactivity and how when overwhelmed with too many things to do or too many decisions to make, we can slow to a crawl or eventually a full stop. Since a body in motion stays in motion, this full stop can be really difficult to come back from. I was there and since recognizing that, I’ve been putting in the work to get back in motion and stay there. Healthy 9’s are inspiring, self-actualized people and that’s definitely what I aspire to be.

THREE

I now have an 8 year old and made my first confetti cake from scratch. He’s never been one for big birthday parties so we did donuts at our homeschool park day, the trampoline park, dinner and cupcakes with two friends the next day and a Dodger Game with another friend after that. He was a happy boy after 3 days of treats and lots of quality time with all his buddies.

FOUR

The Enneagram book launched me into action and I started exercising again, focusing on my nutrition and getting organized to eliminate my overwhelm and get working on my goals. It’s been helping having my lists, notes and printable’s all in one place. I’ve been a bullet journaller for years but I’m finding a wall calendar and this binder to be a better solution for me right now. (Especially now that I have an Epson EcoTank printer and can print anything my heart desires! Not sure how I lived without it)

FIVE

We’re heading into our 3rd year homeschooling and these are two books I re-read every single year to help set aside comparison and maintain the mindset that life is learning. We do enough, he’s right where he needs to be, and arbitrary grade level standards do not determine future success and it’s okay to take a wildly different path.

SIX

One day on our weekly library outing, this baby bird had fallen from a tree and was crying down below it. We sat at a distance observing to see what mama bird would do. Kiddo asked what I thought happened and I said, “His mom probably told him 100 times not to leave the nest and he did it anyway out of curiosity and now she’s letting him live with the natural consequences.” LOL…he grinned, knowing he’s been that baby bird many times over.

SEVEN

A little thing bringing me all the joy is this rainbow of lace I organized on my thread rack one afternoon. I love sitting in this space!

EIGHT

A recent thrift score. I’m selective about what I’ll bring into my home so my collection grows slowly, but when I find a doll destined to live with me forever I always know it immediately and cannot leave her behind. She needs some repairs and doesn’t have a date anywhere on her but as I suspected from her style, she is stamped with JAPAN.

NINE

We’ve been making smoothie bowls together for breakfast and they’re so pretty and delicious. I find healthy eating so much simpler in the summer. When it’s hot, fresh fruit and salads are just so refreshing.

TEN

I made more progress on the Miniature Clothing class I’ve been taking and just have one project left to go, a lined, hooded coat. How cute are these tiny jeans and all the fiddly details on that blouse?! Soon I’ll have all the tiny construction skills I need to make her a full wardrobe of my own design. I’m realizing now that I’m seeing this photo on the screen that the string for her eye mechanism is visible…improving my doll photography is also on my list of things to learn 😉

Now that I’m in motion, with a project I’ve always dreamed of in pieces on my studio floor, I’ll be making a pointed effort to post regularly. See you soon!

A Winter Review

Hello and Happy Spring! Since the first quarter of 2022 is behind us and I haven’t spent any time here in this space, I thought I’d do a quick recap of what’s been going on around here. So here’s a quick peek into our last 3 months…

January was filled with puzzles, inspiring library books and lattes, cleaning and decluttering with endless podcast episodes, preparing my bullet journal for the new year, reviewing goals for our homeschool, and setting new intentions. My first priority was to start getting outside more so we started the 1,000 Hours Outside challenge, slowly ramping up each month as it’s getting warmer and we’ve logged around 150 hours so far this year! That may not seem like a huge amount to some, but with so many hobbies that keep us indoors, this has been a great shift for us.

My second priority was to find local homeschool community. We’re both pretty happy at home, so the unusual amount of isolation didn’t feel hard for a while, but as life got back to normal, public school kids were back in the classroom and we still hadn’t made homeschool connections we started to feel it. Thankfully, I finally found a group that felt like a good fit for us, and it truly has been! February and March were filled with weekly park days, a Valentine’s Day party, fun field trips and new friends. And sports, all the sports, swim lessons, tennis and many, many hours on the baseball field! He’s been one happy kid because the only thing he was missing from school was recess.

As for my own creative pursuits…

I treated myself to four more courses on Domestika and I’ve been working my way through two which are both with the same instructor, Carolina Alles. One is creating needle felted figures and the other is making miniature clothing. You can see my attempt at a meerkat above that turned into an adorable puppy, lol…I’ll be giving the meerkat another go because I’ve been wanting to make one for a while.

The miniature clothing course led me down a deep rabbit hole into Blythe. I’ve always adored them but the price tag kept me from ever purchasing one. I’ve now discovered factory Blythe dolls and the wonderful world of customizing, purchased my first doll and look forward to trying my hand at customizing her eventually. For now, I just want to perfect the basics of miniature clothing construction so I’m working on dressing my new blythe and a few other dolls in my collection that currently have nothing to wear. Above she’s sporting her new loungewear. Oh, and speaking of my collection, that sweet vintage monkey on the top right was a recent thrift score and was love at first sight!

Off to enjoy the sunshine and make more things. Be back soon, xoxo

Reflection + Gratitude

November. Where did it go? I’m going to download my thoughts and see if it leads me to some coherent closing thought. Here goes…

We had a busy, heavy end to October when we said our final goodbyes to my mother in law, hosted out of state family throughout a 9 day stretch and sandwiched an epic family Disney trip (15 of us in total) in the middle of it all. With all the cousins in California at the same time how could we pass up the opportunity! Our last guests flew home the Friday before Halloween and Saturday was spent pulling together my costume for trick or treating on Sunday. Needless to say, Monday rolled around and our introverted souls needed some serious rest and recovery. 

By this time, I had the strong urge to decorate for Christmas (before Thanksgiving…*gasp*) so I dug the stuff out of the attic and went to town. The process involved clearing shelves, deep cleaning, arranging holiday things and lots of Christmas music. This year we’re trying year round homeschooling and have the calendar broken into 6 week terms so simultaneously it was time to think about the upcoming term and choose which books and materials would share the space for this season. It was such a perfect total refresh of our space. I mentioned back in this post how I’d been wanting to transition our decor seasonally and I think I’m finally in a place where it feels like a natural flow and not an extra thing to do.

Cleaning, purging outgrown items from closets, swapping decor in small ways, setting personal goals and making general homeschool plans all comes together and feels like an intentional way to step into the next season with focus. Over the last few years, I’ve done lots of reading and listening on topics like minimalism, habits, routines, various methods of homeschooling and I’m noticing that when I step back from it and give it time, the things I’ve learned that resonate slowly creep their way into my life. It’s not a sudden overnight change. And it’s neat to think about how the same thing is happening with B’s learning. Sometimes it feels like we’re not doing enough, but in those quiet moments of rest, all that came before has time to take root.

I love how learning more about education leads me to look at my own lifelong learning in new ways and gain a deeper understanding of the principles. So I guess all of this is to say, more than I thought was accomplished this month when I take a moment to see it, and there were plenty of precious, cozy and creative moments to be thankful for.

Creative Notebooking

After a hiatus from making things, I made the conscious choice to build it back into my daily routine, but I was struggling to get going because I’d lost my sense of direction with my work. Luckily, the internet was spying on my innermost thoughts and a sponsored ad for the class Inside a Creative Notebook rolled into my feed. I’ve always wanted to keep a sketchbook as part of my practice and I’ve always kept a glue book filled with inspiration, but I was interested in blending my inspiration, ideas, sketches and art journalling into one space where I could play and explore ideas to later develop into finished work. This class provided the perfect soft structure to get right to work and really helped me dig deeper into what kind of work I want to make.

Here’s a peek inside my Creative Notebook Project so far…

Title Page
Color Palette
Reference materials – organizing this spread of images helped clarify the vision for my own work
This collection represents my favorite artists over the past 20ish years, in order of when I discovered them:
Sabrina Ward Harrison, Mark Ryden, Elizabeth McGrath, Wes Anderson, Mr. Finch
Beginning to mix things up with nature photography, reference materials and my own drawings.
Playing with color, collage, paper cutting, paint and atmosphere.
Anyone remember Geek Girl from GQ magazine in the 90’s? That’s her head.
Fun fact: I didn’t realize that was a men’s magazine until my mom pointed it out, lol

As a self taught artist, most of the work I’ve done involved experimenting with various media and techniques while discovering my style. What I feel I’ve been missing is a framework for the research and development of ideas to go deeper into what I really want to create. This process has begun to fill that gap. After gathering my reference materials, laying them all out, editing down to a handful of key images, and looking closely at how it all fits together, I realized my strongest interest lies in character development and 3D illustration. Another common thread is animals and the natural world.

A year or two ago, I took Andy J. Pizza’s Skillshare class, Make Creativity Your Career: Six Exercises to Create a Successful Side Project. I love his podcast and knew his class would probably be great too, but since I hadn’t considered my art in terms of getting a job out in the world, I found it difficult to think of what kind of side project I’d want to do. The beauty of constantly learning is eventually it all comes together. This notebooking process has led me back to this idea of creating a side project and where I’ve landed is choosing a story I love and creating characters and sets to go along with it. I checked out a stack of books from the library on nature journalling, writing comics, crafting skills for stop motion, puppets, and building miniatures. It’s been such a fun deep dive and I have lots more to draw and explore in my notebook.

And here’s that thing again…homeschool, life and work all blending together with blurry edges. We’ve been reading The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles as our recent read aloud and it’s filled with so much visual language we both keep wishing there was a movie to watch once we’re done with the book…but since there’s not, it might be the perfect candidate for this little project of mine. We’ll probably finish it this week and then I’ll make a final decision on whether it’s “the one,” but I can’t get it out of my mind so I think it might be.

If you have suggestions of stories to bring to life, I’d love to hear them!

A Scorpion + Solar System

The Scorpion

Lately I’ve been inspired to transition the decor in our home with the seasons, and this month we did just that in one teeny little way. In one of those delight driven homeschool days, I said yes when the kiddo asked if he could have the scorpion sucker a friend gave him. He decided pretty quickly that he didn’t like it but wished he could get the scorpion out…so that’s what we did. A couple of weeks earlier we both agreed I just HAD to get this little orange pedestal display from the Target dollar spot and before we knew it we were outside foraging the backyard for nature materials to finish off our scorpion centerpiece. We were scientists, explorers, gatherers and designers. I couldn’t have planned a more perfect afternoon!


The Solar System

Crafty project #2 for the month was a solar system headpiece for my halloween costume. B wanted to be an astronaut since we’re learning about space, so we ran with the theme as a family. I poked around Pinterest a little to formulate a plan, pulled out the materials I had on hand that might be useful then roamed around the craft store to pick up a few more essentials. I was in the zone putting this together in the 11th hour so there’s not lots of in process pics but I’ll give you a quick rundown.

I used heavy wool felt shaped and stitched to a headband as a base. Different sized styrofoam balls were painted with acrylic paints to make the planets. I cut the bottom off the sun so there was a flat portion to glue securely to the felt to create the center of the solar system headpiece. All the other planets were attached to the sun with pieces of wire and then more wire was used to connect each planet to the one next to it until it was balanced and sturdy. The black tulle ribbon worked perfectly to tie around the wire to hide it and added a bit of starry night sky in the background. A barrette on one side and large bobby pin on the other held it securely enough to move my head freely without it falling off. Success!!


It’s so fun getting crafty sometimes. Playing with materials I don’t often use and making something from start to finish in one sitting is just so satisfying. Already looking forward to getting crafty for the holidays coming up!

Make a Rascally Burro

Long ago, I doodled this little burro who later made his way into a mini series of textile artworks and then became a soft sculpture. For anyone looking for simple hand sewing project, I thought I’d offer the pattern to anyone who might enjoy stitching one up. Get it here.

Tools + Materials:

  • pattern printout
  • scissors
  • pins
  • fabric (woven fabrics work best for the body, felt and other fabrics can be used for details)
  • hand sewing needle
  • thread
  • iron
  • stuffing
  • stuffing stick (a wooden chopstick or pencil will do)
  • freezer paper (optional)*
  • sewing machine (optional)

Steps:

1. Prepare your pattern pieces. Either cut them directly from your printed pattern page (OR) trace them onto freezer paper and cut them out.

*Freezer paper can be ironed onto fabric, making it easier to cut out tiny parts. Alternatively, small pattern pieces can be traced directly onto fabric.

2. Pin, iron or trace the body pattern piece onto your fabric and cut 2, a front and back. If using the same fabric for the front and back, you can cut on a fold to get both pieces at once. If cutting pieces separately, be sure to flip the pattern piece over before cutting the back (as shown below)

3. Repeat step 2 for the nose, again making sure you have a front and a back. For this step, I cut on a fold. 

4. Trace two of each eye piece and one pair of nostrils onto different fabrics. I used cotton for the eyelid, black and white felt for the eye and eyeball and tan felt for the nostrils.

Time to sew!

5. With right sides together, pin the front nose to the front body aligning the top corners* and stitch at 1/4″ using a back-stitch or a sewing machine. Repeat for the back. Iron seams flat. 

*Note that the nose piece will hang over the end slightly when pinned, but will fit correctly once stitched at 1/4″ and opened.


6. Stitch the nostrils to the nose on the front body using a whip stitch. Continue with the white of the eye, then layer on the eyeball and then the eyelid. A little white thread can be used to stitch the speck in the eyeball, if desired, by placing 5-6 stitches close together.

7. With right sides together, stitch the front and back body using a back-stitch by hand or sewing machine. Leave an opening for stuffing as marked on the pattern. 

8. Clip a small triangle out of the seam allowance on the under-body to help the seam lay flat once turned and turn right side out using your chopstick or the end of your pencil to help push small parts through.

9. Using small pieces of stuffing and your stuffing stick, fill the body, ear, and head and until firmly packed. To get a nice firm neck, roll a piece of stuffing against a fabric surface (like your pant leg) to make a little log and insert it, adding small bits to finish it off if needed. Stitch the opening closed using a ladder stitch.


Now marvel at the rascally little creature you just created and if you’re feeling share-y use the hashtag #littlestreamstudiopatterns so I can see what you’ve made!

Morning Routine

A year into the pandemic, I’d fallen into a routine of staying up late, indulging in wine, sleeping in, lingering over coffee, then trying to pry the kid off his screen to transition into homeschool lessons in our pajamas around 11 am. He was perfectly happy starting his day with a video game and I was committed to getting our work done most days, but I was stuck in a major rut. I knew I had to change my habits, start prioritizing my own self care, and get back to my creative practice in order to keep the joy in our homeschool and lead by example.

So naturally, I checked out a stack of library books to research this change, because everything I do tends to come with a little too much preparation. My reading led to searching ‘morning routine’ on Pinterest to see if other people were talking about theirs, and that’s when I found the Make Over Your Morning e-course by Chrystal Paine. It felt like just the thing to launch me out of research mode and into action. I notoriously purchase courses that I take forever to finish, but I was desperate to make a change so I jammed through the modules easily and implemented my new routine the very next Monday.


Here’s what my (ideal) morning looks like now:

  • Wake up by 7 am
  • Pour a cup of coffee
  • Sit down in my workspace and turn on my salt lamp
  • Read a little
  • Create
  • Quick bullet journal check in (calendar / to do list)
  • Get dressed for the day

Prioritizing my morning routine makes a huge impact. Even if I only read a few pages and work on a project for 15 minutes, I feel the shift in my mood for the whole day. When the kiddo wakes up, he sees me engaged with a book or project and it sets the tone for the day. Getting an earlier start on lessons leaves the afternoons free to spend how we please. Then at night, it’s easier to skip the Netflix and wine knowing I have my morning “me time” to look forward to.

Creative momentum builds with the consistency of a daily practice and I feel such ease in homemaking and homeschooling after I’ve filled up my own cup with my morning routine. This momentum is leading to more art and inspired writing this blog as part of my practice!

Do you have a morning routine? Feel like you need to implement one? I’d love to hear what’s working for you!

* Just want to mention, I am in no way affiliated with Chrystal Paine or her course, I’m just a random person on the internet who used and loved it.

 

Simple Hand Painted Fabric

Slow stitching is one of my favorite forms of creativity. It’s easy to get started with just a few basic materials, it’s a relaxing meditative process, you can do it just about anywhere and there are no rules. The beauty is often in the imperfections, rough edges, and old or worn fabrics and today I’m going to share a simple method you can use to create your own unique hand painted fabrics to use in your projects to help you achieve that effect.

simple fabric painting technique

Supplies:

  • acrylic paint in colors of your choice
  • textile medium (optional, will result in softer fabric)
  • spray bottle(s)
  • paint brush
  • brayer
  • protected work surface (I use inexpensive, re-usable vinyl from JoAnn’s)
  • fabric

A note about paint: acrylics and textile medium can be found in a range of prices and quality. I’m happy with the results using the Americana or Folk Art brand paints from craft stores. There’s an enormous selection of colors and the price can’t be beat. Textile Medium can be found with the craft paints or in the fine art section and both work well, but I tend to favor the Golden Fabric Painting Medium for my original artwork.

A note about fabric: I aim to re-purpose material whenever possible and collect most of my stash from thrift shops, flea markets and swap meets. However, I do purchase yardage of scrim, gauze, unbleached 100% cotton muslin and linen from fabric stores as they provide a nice range of weight and texture for projects. I generally create lots of small pieces, but consider the size of your work surface and how large your sewing project will be when selecting your fabrics. When cutting fabrics down to smaller sizes, I clip and tear when possible because I love the resulting edge.

Let’s get started!

simple fabric painting supplies

Steps:

1) Pre-mix your desired paint colors with the fabric medium. 

2) Lay a piece of scrim or thin fabric on your protected work surface and spray with water until soaked. If you’re using a thicker fabric, save time by wetting it in the sink and wringing out some of the excess.

simple fabric painting technique

3) Begin adding paint to your surface, allowing the paint to saturate some areas more than others to create a varied surface. Continue to spray areas with water to help spread the paint across the fabric to your desired effect.

simple fabric painting technique
simple fabric painting tutorial
simple fabric painting technique

4) Once the first piece is saturated with paint and water, lay another piece of fabric right on top and run the brayer over it to soak up the excess. In this example, I laid silk over scrim which will result in a nice print of the texture onto the silk. This also works great using lace as a base.

simple fabric painting technique
simple fabric painting technique

5) Once the plastic work surface is wet and saturated with excess paint, continue experimenting with the addition of different colors. Here I dropped some yellow on top of the blue and used a brush to spread it around. Use the spray bottle to add more water as needed.

simple fabric painting technique
simple fabric painting technique

Here you can see the result of laying dry muslin on top and pressing with a brayer to soak up the color from the work surface. 

simple fabric painting technique

Continue experimenting:

  • Rotate between heavily saturating a piece of fabric and then “cleaning” the surface with a new piece of fabric and the brayer.
  • Lay both wet and dry fabric on the painted work surface for different results.
  • Paint lace to transfer the pretty textures onto other flat fabrics with the brayer.
  • Add white or black paint to your base color to create a group of fabrics in a range of shades.
  • Mix as many colors on one piece as you like, see how they bleed together with the addition of more water.
  • If you have extra spray bottles, mix a little paint with water and spray color directly onto your fabric or onto your work surface.
  • Consider painting trims, lace or fabric doiles while you’re at it so you have coordinating bits in your stash to incorporate into your projects.

6) Finally, when you’re done painting all of your fabrics, lay them out in the sun to dry or break out the hairdryer if you have one and speed up the drying process! If you used textile medium, you can wash and dry your fabrics before use, but I usually just opt for good ironing before stitching.

Now get to stitching with your beautiful new stash of hand painted fabrics…and if you need an idea, here’s a little project I created with mine!

*This post was originally published in 2019 and since it was so popular, it’s been re-published here on my new blog*