How to Create Wearable Art

Making your own wearable art is a great way to add custom pieces to your wardrobe and get the exact look you want to reflect your style.

In this post, I’ll show you how to create your own wearable art by hand stamping plain fabric. With just a few simple tools and techniques, you can turn plain fabric into a one-of-a-kind piece.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced crafter, these step-by-step instructions will guide you through the process of creating your own unique fabric designs. So, get ready to unleash your creativity and start making your own hand-stamped wearable art designs today!

Wearable art made with a handmade tan top and custom stamp design

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How to make your own wearable art

This piece is uses a few yards of reclaimed fabric that was in my stash, and was just enough to make two sleeveless tops.

How to create the fabric pattern for wearable art

The technique I use to create the print, is to stamp the fabric with different types of stamps that I make myself.

I make my own stamps because I want very specific and unique designs, and since I sell the finished garments, I own the copyright on the design.

If you are not going to sell the finished garments, you can use purchased stamps.

To make a top similar to this one, I have found some cool stamps for you to use, and put the links at the end of this post.

Custom colors

I had envisioned using certain colors, so I blend the fabric paints and acrylic paints to achieve the correct shades of blue and green. The process takes several days, since the paint needs to set for 48 hours before it is heat set.

Turn plain fabric into wearable art

Before I start working on stamping the tops, I wash, dry and iron the 100% cotton fabric. This is important, since it will remove any sizing from the fabric, and also do any preshrinking so the garment will fit properly.

Next, I cut out the pieces for the fronts and backs of each top, and spread them out on a plastic-covered work surface.

I decide which of the handmade stamps I will use, and determine the color combinations I want to coordinate with the fabric.

To get the right colors, I mix the fabric or acrylic paints in small batches, and do a few test stamps to make sure the colors are the right shades. Try to use a test scrap of the same fabric you will be using for your garment, as certain colors of paint will come out differently, depending on the color of the fabric you are stamping on.

Once I have the paints mixed, I carefully dab the stamp with a foam brush dipped in paint.

For this design, I did all the navy stamping first on all of the fabric pieces. Once the blue was dry, I did the smaller stamp in olive green.

Heat set the design

Once the stamping in completed, I hang the pieces on a wooden clothes drying rack and let them dry for 48 hours.

Once dry, each piece is ironed, using a sheet of parchment paper between the iron and the fabric to prevent the paint from sticking to the iron.

Constructing the garment

Next, I make each top. All the seams are first stitched, then I use a serger machine (read my post on how to finish seams with a serger) to cut, overcast, and run another two rows of stitches on each seam and facing.

During the sewing process, the garment is ironed multiple times, which further sets the paints.

Once the garment is finished, it gets machine washed and dried, then ironed AGAIN.

The resulting garment is now 100% machine washable & dryable, and any chance of shrinkage has been eliminated.

Wearable art made with a handmade tan top and custom stamp design

The result is a one-of-a-kind garment that you have customized to your own specifications!

It’s a lot of fun to experiment with different stamps, colors and placement on the fabric. Try working on some scraps to get the hang of it before you attempt doing yardage. You can use these pieces for making a cosmetic bag or a pencil bag – so it won’t be wasted.

And most of all – have fun with it!!!

To create your own wearable art, use these supplies:

Click on the photo to read:

How to Finish Seams
A pile of colorful fabric bolts arranged on a shelf. Click to learn how to read the label on a bolt of fabric
A guide to buying your first sewing machine
Handmade, original sleeveless khaki woman's top, hand stamped in original design stamps in colors of olive drab and navy blue. Top is hung on a natural branch against the side of a weathered grey wood outbuilding.

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