5 Ways You Can Transform Fashion Items With Paint

For those who believe one of life’s simplest pleasures are related to the way their wardrobe looks, haven’t really discovered the luxury of transforming those treasures into pieces of art and self expression. How about us throwing some paint on how you can actually reimagine some cult fashion items with some basic art tools?

We all have a lot many desires but less of the downtime when it comes to reinventing ourselves in terms of what we wear and how we look. With so many valuable conversations happening around sustainability in fashion and the cropping importance of thrift shopping, we can indeed consider ourselves in the middle of a shift with respect to our mindset as a shopper.

So how can you actually stay relevant and also not get bored of using, reusing and re-styling the same pieces in the wardrobe way too many times? Well, you DIY! Yes, you take charge, let your imagination flow, soak in all the good energy that comes with creating something and simply transform your wardrobe using, well just some paint. It is about learning the art that goes beyond school-project DIY to the kind of DIY that is a testament of luxury and self-expression. Let’s get started. We’ve got all the important cues.

What you need?

* Your favourite fashion item

* Your fabric paint & brush kit

* Your imagination

So why paint? It is easier to work with in comparison to tools that require you to cut patterns and sew. It is a little less time consuming and you can always get help. Lastly, you can use paint to transform anything starting from your old pair of jeans to your jumper.

1. Jeans

Starting with the most-favoured item when it comes to DIY transformation - a good old pair of jeans. Why not go back to the barnyard by introducing the animal print to your pair of jeans? We are talking about the 60s special cow print. All you need is a pair of white jeans, black fabric paint and a bold heart. Use a pencil to lightly sketch a cow skin pattern all across your jeans. You can even just leave it to the pockets or the seams. The bigger you draw, the easier it’ll be to colour and neater it’ll look. Once you are done drawing the pattern, use black fabric paint to colour the spots. Let it dry and you are done.

This approach can be adopted in endless ways to have not just your jeans but even a denim jacket or skirt look like something entirely new. Here are some useful tips to keep in mind while painting denim:

Always wash and dry the garment before beginning the paint job

Avoid using denim that is too stretchy as it will later lead to cracking

You can use acrylic colours or acrylic marks for the process

It is recommended to use white as the base coat and then paint over it to let the colours pop out

Try to add a fabric medium to your base coat to make the paint stay longer and get optimal coverage

Once you are done painting and the paint is fully dry, it is crucial to heat-set the paint for it to turn permanent. Use an iron on medium to high heat setting on the opposite side of the painted fabric for 3-5 minutes to set the paint

Always wash the fabric inside out using cold water and a mild detergent. Hand washing is even better.

Here is an inspiration for you! Try channelling cow print like fashion’s favourite child Tezza.

2. Bags

If you are a serious bag lady, you will surely be having a couple casually sitting in your closet and only occasionally seeing the light of the day. What do you do with them if you need some change? You transform them using some paint or ink in this case. One elegant approach that is also outstandingly fresh is to bring out the calligrapher in you and speak your mind via your bag. Think out loud! We found true motivation after seeing lettering artist and graphic designer Hannah’s clean work. You can simply just spell your name or say something interesting like ‘Join the gang’, ‘ Let the magic unfold’ and so on.

Here are some handy tips for those painting on a handbag for the first time:

Invest in some leather paint as they are a better option to avoid peeling and cracking with time

Painting on faux leather or PU can be done using acrylic paints or markers too but leather paints will give a finer finish

Always swatch the paint on the bag before use

Sometimes the paint might not stick to the bag due to a silicone coating. You can remove it using a leather deglazer

It is better to create multiple thin layers rather than a thick one

3. Sneakers

Hand-painted sneakers have been there for a while now. The internet is exploding with many custom sneaker makers specialising in awe-inspiring sneaker revamping using paints. If you were not able to catch hold of any or still are figuring out what your style demands, it is smart to dabble in it a little with a basic paint job. All you need is a pair of white sneakers. Canvas or faux leather, anything works. Since Instagram is currently booming with custom sneaker artists who specialise in transforming everyday sneakers with a work of art, we are taking inspiration from one too.

Here is the perfect example to show you how you can change the way your basic sneakers look:

If you are going to try it soon then do remember these pointers:

Use a clean and dry pair of shoes

Go for a leather paint if your shoes are made of leather or vinyl. Fabric paint is fine for canvas shoes

Do a test run on an old pair of shoes

Protective tape can be extremely helpful in sticking to the planned design

Use a setting paint towards the end to seal the design

4. Heels

The idea popped in after stumbling upon the Paper & Stitch blog’s old DIY project. Mesmerising as it is, Brittni shows how exactly a pair of heels can be transformed using the spray paint technique. The results are more than just impressive. The ombre DIY is truly unique and is bound to find many forever fans. A solid pair of heels with a thick enough front strap is all you need to begin your paint project.

Next time you feel your pair of heels are losing their charm, keep this transformation recipe on a speed dial.

5. Scarf

The scarf and bandana trend has been going strong for a while now. A chic add-on to amp up one's look, a scarf is both multifunctional and easy to style. Use it as a head cover, a hair accessory, as an item of clothing or a necktie, options are endless and pretty perennial in nature.This multi-utility advantage should make you all the more keen to gain the skills to be able to transform your scarf into something that resonates with your mood and highlights your quirks. A fun way to do that is to dress up your scarf with a unique print or a monogram. A jersey knit fabric or a cotton fabric is best to play around with fabric paints. You can create your own stencils or stamps, dip them in paint and use them to create the desired pattern on your clean scarf. How does that sound?

Molly of Almost Makes Perfect shows us an example of scarf transformation below involves using a self-created stencil to create her own texture and print. Isn’t it lovely?

What do you think? Which idea instantly speaks to you? If you gather some patience and focus, you can actually have your own personal line of fashion essentials that are totally you. If that’s not the ultimate luxury then what else is? Share your thoughts with us!

About Ritika Sharma

Drawn by words, wit and whim, Ritika is a creator who loves to pen, paint and photograph stories about art, fashion, beauty and wellness. She has been professionally doing so since the last 6 years along with travelling to London to pursue fashion and lifestyle journalism at UAL.