How to Paint on Your Denim

I always told myself that I will have my patterns printed so I can wear them.  These days, it’s challenging to squeeze in time for personal work with a full schedule.  So, I was just really happy to have been invited by Penshoppe to be one of the artists for their Denim Lab DIY Bar.

Patches & Paint on Denim

Above is a piece I did for Ava Te-Zabat of ArtsyAva.  I always see her in art & fashion events when they intersect.  So happy she indulged me in mommyhood talk.  I’m also LOLing at the fact that whatever the event, I always end up having some impromptu parenting consultation with any mom I meet. Thank you Ava! 🙂 I saw in the comments that a lot of you would like to DIY their denims too so I’m rounding up some tips:

Penshoppe Acrylic Workstation1. You may use acrylic. – There’s so much medium available for painting on denim: fabric paints, acrylic markers, fabric markers, fabric pens, et cetera.  Choose the medium you’re most familiar with.  In this case, I used acrylic.  The stuff I used here are mostly Amsterdam (which you may get from National Bookstore of Fully Booked in Greenbelt 5) and Golden (from Fully Booked in Greenbelt 5 or Deovir Arts).

03 Penshoppe Pail IMG_0327

2. Dilute acrylic with water. – I love going medium hopping and I always thought acrylic needed a special extender.  Well, they do have an extender / thinner but you may always use water.  I used a big pale so it’s easier for me to clean my brushes.   Bonus points when you actually get to accidentally decorate your pitcher. 😀

Paint Splatter on Denim3. Control paint splatter by covering the rest of the sides with tissue, wipes or paper. – I think one of the things that’s really nice about painting is half of the time, there are times that you don’t get to control the outcome such as making paint dots a.k.a. splatter.  The only way to do so is by: surrounding the area with tissue, wipes, paper or whatever “barrier” of choice you have. 🙂

Penshoppe DIY Denim

4. Your brushes should be dipped in water all the time. – During watercolor workshops, I usually tell people not to leave their brushes in their cups–especially the ones with the wooden handles as it will absorb water and bloat.  Also, the tip of your brush will eventually look like a letter J and it will be harder to manage it for future projects.  However, when acrylic dries, it can’t be removed from your brush so it’s best to dip it in water while you’re working on your project.  *Okay. I didn’t intend to post a photo of my face here but I can’t seem to find a photo showing my brushes dipped in water.* 

Penshoppe DIY Denim Palette

5. Put plastic below the area you’re painting on. – In this photo, I’m painting the pocket of the jacket. Just to be sure that none of the paint seeps through the other side of the jacket, I inserted a clear plastic.

Speaking of clear, Abbey is LOLing at how much clear stuff I used for this demo: clear palette, clear pitcher, clear tiny used jar for my brushes and clear plastic.  My workspace doesn’t usually look this clean.  Haha. Yes it doesn’t but it’s a public demo and I can’t put anyone else’s clothes in danger. 😀

6. Mix your colors on a huge palette. – This will give you the liberty to create colors until you’re satisfied with the hues (i.e. my favorite part).  It’s also easier to test whether your palette works. Note that once the paint dries on your palette, you won’t be able

I bought this clear palette from National Bookstore.  I saw it in Singapore first & I was too afraid to bring it home but voila, I can just find it in Manila.  Alternatives to the clear palette are the wooden palette, disposable palette, or clear plastic (similar to the one they use to wrap bond paper).

Penshoppe Fashion Bloggers

So nice to have met some of the fashion bloggers again: Paul, Pax, Krissy, Ava & Anagon! 😀

6. Consider the personality / color choices of the owner of the denim. – If you’re painting for someone, ask them about their color choices or inspiration.  For example, for this particular piece, the owner wanted a sea inspired palette so we recreated the colors of the sea.  Also, chances are, people are already wearing the colors that they like.  One of the shoppers wanted a palette similar to her watch while the colors below was similar to the person’s cellphone case. 🙂

09 Penshoppe R & Palette IMG_0385

7. Create a Draft – A lot of the things I’m writing here, aside from research, I actually learned through sheer discovery or accident.  One of them is creating a draft on paper.  I normally create my draft on acrylic or watercolor paper but I wasn’t able to bring one that day.  I planned my colors on my paper with 100gsm sheets (i.e. my Googly notebook). Hehe.  When I chose the colors, I considered the doughnut glazing & sprinkles (thus pink, yellow & light blue) as well as the bread of the doughnut (which is the reason why we included gold.  Penshoppe Practice on Paper

8. Consider the Placement – When I was painting the piece below, it looked huge compared to the rest of the pieces I did for the day.  However, considering the placement of the painting on the pair of pants, it looked pretty small or just right.  Sometimes, the denims would come to me with patches already & sometimes none.  As with any other art project, you can plan the lay-out first together with your client. 🙂

Painting on Denim

9.  Use masking tape to create stencils – I was initially planning to make stencils but I figured, I will be getting varied requests during the day so I might as well just go with the flow.  Last minute, I packed a roll of washi tape.  True enough, before my shift ended, someone asked for a letter R.  I made a stencil with my washi tape (it can actually be any type of masking tape as long as it sticks to the denim).  I painted in the blank area & the most exciting part was getting to peel off all of them! 😀

11 Penshoppe Lifting R IMG_0373

10. Experiment with different materials. – It doesn’t have to be paint all the time.  It could be a bunch of patches too!  Now I feel like putting paint & patches on anything such as my laptop case, my bag…What else?

Penshoppe Patches

11. For the colors to be seen, put a white coating underneath. – The thing with acrylic is that unless there’s a good coating to support the colors.  It will continue to seep through the denim.  One of the solutions (as there are a ton) is to coat the area with white paint. 🙂

Wait, what?! I reached #11 already.  I was thinking about giving 3-5 tips. Haha. Thanks again Penshoppe for having me.  Also, I was really pleased with the lay-out of this poster! <3

Penshoppe Tippy Go

Hope the tips will help you customize your Penshoppe denims too! 🙂

Penshoppe IMG_0362

Learn more about their next exciting event here:
Twitter: @Penshoppe
Instagram: @Penshoppe
Facebook: @Penshoppe

Tipsy 🙂

More Coloring Tips Here:
5 Tips on How to Choose Colors for your Artwork
Brush Lettering for DIY Parties
How to Make Your Colors Vibrant
Get the Colors You Want with Pantone

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8 years ago

I am sooo happy with my denim jeans! Thanks so much, Tippy! <3

8 years ago

LOL at this:

*Okay. I didn’t intend to post a photo of my face here but I can’t seem to find a photo showing my brushes dipped in water.*

I was also wondering why your face was there. Joke. Also, lol at my cameo in this post. Can’t help but laugh at your clear plastics smothered in acrylic at home.

*Goes back to work*

8 years ago

You look so pretty! I’m glad you had no choice but to post a photo of your face. Haha! I was pretty broke during this time but I badly badly badly wanted you to paint on my clothes. >.<

Cym Marzan
8 years ago

What a cool way to prettify denim! Does acrylic wash off in the washing machine? Hehe!

7 years ago

Cool! Although I’ve tried painting with mix Acrylic and Textile Paint on my denim and tried heat setting it after, tried to run it in the laundry and there are parts of the paint that came off 🙁 I don’t know what I did wrong

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