Fabric Painting Designs: Color-Wash Printing

color-washThere are so many options when it comes to fabric painting and surface design techniques. You can use one technique to create a vibrant piece of art or you can layer multiple techniques to create something entirely different—yet no less gorgeous.

Color-wash printing is an excellent fabric painting design that is both quick and easy. It can be used alone, but I think it’s at its best when combined with other processes. It makes a great base layer of fabric painting, but it can also be used over other processes to obscure images you’ve already printed.

Lynn Krawczyk gives a fantastic tutorial of this fabric painting technique in her book, Intentional Printing: Simple Techniques for Inspired Fabric Art.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
  • Plastic spoon
  • Paint
  • Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate
  • Rubber brayer
  • Fabric


Place a spoonful of paint onto the printing plate.


Touch the brayer to the edge of it, and roll the brayer back and forth on a part of the plate without paint to create a thin layer of paint across the surface of the brayer.


Roll the brayer across the fabric in random patterns, letting the fabric wrinkle and shift as you go (fi. This creates awesome texture.


Repeat Step 1 to reload the brayer with paint, and continue to roll across the fabric until you’re happy with the amount of color added.

Tips for Color-Wash Printing:
  • The point of this kind of printing isn’t to create solid prints. You want the paint to be almost transparent, so go easy on the amount of paint you apply to the fabric.
  • I prefer a rubber brayer more than a hard plastic one because paint sticks better to the rubber.
  • Always wash off your brayer when you’re finished. If the paint dries, it can be very difficult to remove and sometimes becomes permanent.
  • If you’re printing over top of other printing, make sure the base prints are dry before you apply the color-wash technique.

There are so many ways to use this technique! Try it on its own over a fabric print or combine it with one of the many other fabric painting designs Lynn describes in her book. Order your copy of Intentional Printing: Simple Techniques for Inspired Fabric Art to learn more fabric painting and printing techniques from Lynn.

Happy printing!

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Fabric Painting & Dyeing, Quilting Daily Blog