Monday, June 14, 2021

Creating a Handpainted Denim Jacket with StencilGirl® Stencils

Well hello my friends! I’m Debi Adams and it’s so good to be back here on the StencilGirl® blog.  Hope you all have been well and squeezing in a little bit (or a lot) of art now and then. I’ve done lots lately but honestly it’s like housekeeping. Everything changes so often that I can’t remember if and when I did my last piece of anything. By the look of my art room, I do know I did something, lol!  What about you?  

This year as a SG Columnist my focus has been on "Trendsetting". It sure is something I love to explore, trying to stay current and relevant on so many fronts. Can't imagine doing anything else. As I mentioned in my post a few months back, my daughter is getting married and I have been deep into the decorating stage so my project for today was an EASY choice! Super popular, these denim jackets are selling like hot cakes for brides. They also come in handy for business attire, baby gifts, etc. They can be made super simple with just a name and a date or very embellished, like I am showcasing today.  For my supplies, I used two kinds of paint, Neopaque by Jacquard (around $5.00 more or less) and Fabric Creations by Plaid (under $3.00 a bottle) for using on fabric.  I like the Neopaque a tad bit more because it is slightly thinner, making it easier to move around my material and it stays more supple than the latter.  That is just a personal choice.  I also grabbed some paint brushes I had laying around though I am certain that brushes for fabric would be the best.  When I finished and the paint was dry, I ran an iron onto a damp paper towel over the image to seal the paint in.  It's then wash as usual.   

Today’s jacket features Wendy Brightbill’s Wildflower Bouquet Stencil ...

and Rae Missigman’s Botanical Stencil.  They were the perfect stencils for what I wanted to create. 

The nicest part of painting one of these jackets is that there are really no rules.
  You can trace around your favorite StencilGirl® stencil image and leave it as is or you can paint it all in in white, add a name, or not, paint them in color, or not. An abstract background would look amazing too!  You get to decided. I’m going to give you my tips, techniques and tools and let you do your magic. If you are hesitant to get started, grab a Goodwill jacket or pair of old jeans so that you can practice. 

First let me say that I love using stencils on jackets. If you struggle drawing or creating balance, the designers have taken out all the work for you and do what they do best.   Here I traced around my image with a Uni-ball white pen so that I could color in my image later.  I love that white pen for a temporary pattern, but know it is water soluble so it’s not permanent. Perfect if you think you might need to erase anything or for deciding where to set up your image up.

If you want the outline-look permanent, consider purchasing a fabric marker. It will definitely do the trick. 

You can also paint in your images solid with white fabric paint,  especially important if you paint on dark material.  Painting with white first allows your colors to show up much better than trying to add layers and layers of paint onto a dark surface.  I will say there has been an occasion where I didn’t use white and discovered that the areas on the jacket that aren’t painted end up shading my images nicely. Red roses are a perfect example of this.  Surprisingly, the denim ends up creating those deeper details.  This is something that doesn’t happen often with most designs however and it’s more of a trial, error and surprise.   

Now you can stencil in your colors once your white paint has dried.

Or you can remove the stencil and use the white painted images as a guide.   

Don’t forget to add different shades of paint to add variation to your images. Notice my rose has pink and white in there and my lilacs have several shades of purple, lavender and white. Honestly, it's almost impossible to make a mistake.  You can wipe off the paint fairly easily before it dries OR you can let it dry and paint back over it.  Believe me, I have used both techniques. ;) 

I like to try and make the design image mine by adding my own parts and pieces.  Sometimes I even change the type of flower it is and that’s ok too!  The fact that the designer gave me a placement for everything is perfect! 

I loved adding Rae Missigman’s airy Botanical piece to Wendy’s stencil image.  It made my bouquet look a bit more wild and “bouquet-ish”rather than an arrangement. (See leaves on outer edges). 

Once my bouquet was the way I like it, I decided to add my floral business name to the jacket so I could wear it to the different venues I service.  I like to do calligraphy for my lettering but StencilGirl® has PLENTY of fabulous Alphabets and Sentiments that can work on your piece especially if lettering isn't your thing.  

Well that's it from me today.  Sure hope you will give this a try. I can't even imagine the possibilities that are out there! StencilGirl® has soooo many amazing designs to choose from that one is surely your style.  If you post your jacket or project, make sure to tag me and StencilGirl®.  We would love to see what you did!


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  1. This is a fabulous post on how to do your wonderful jackets! It gives me inspiration to get off the fence and try this. Thanks for this thoughtful step by step process. Much appreciated!!

  2. What a delightful project! I love how it turned out. I also loved how you suggested alternate supplies for some things - very helpful.

  3. Fantastic post! I absolutely love the idea of handpainting denim jackets with StencilGirl® stencils. It's such a creative and personalized way to express oneself. The step-by-step process and tips are super helpful for beginners like me. Can't wait to try this out and add my own twist to it!


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