Not Just for Kids – Easy Fabric Painting and Resist Technique – Quilting Daily

Sometimes an idea for surface design is so simple, you wonder why you never thought of it before. That’s how I felt when I first saw Rose Hughes’ tutorial on using crayonsthe kind kids use, nothing fancy-as a resist method with fabric paint.

Fabric painting with crayon resist by Rose Hughes.

As you mark the fabric, the crayons leave traces of wax behind along with the color. The wax then acts as a resist when fabric paints are applied. The crayon color, glitter, or metallic shine remains on the fabric once it is pressed, adding color and sparkle to the overall design.

Here’s Rose’s tutorial, from the April/May 2012 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine.


  • Crayons (consider ones that are glittery or pearlescent)
  • Fabric that has been prepared for dyeing
  • Paint, water, and mixing containers
  • Sandpaper
  • Wax paper
  • Wide paintbrushes
  • Rubbing plates, carved stamps, and other textures (optional)

1. Choose 4-6 crayons from the same color family. Place your fabric over the sandpaper face up on a firm surface.

2. Using the crayons from your selected color family and pressing firmly, draw lines of varying sizes. Overlap the lines if you like, and fill in some spaces. Keep in mind that the paint you apply later will adhere in the spaces where there is no resist, so leave some areas free of crayon marks.

crayon rubbing surface design technique
Layers of crayon rubbings.

3. Once you are satisfied with your marking and have covered the whole piece of fabric, it is time to add additional interest with paint. Place your fabric on a piece of wax or freezer paper slightly larger than your project.

4. Mix paint for the background of your piece by adding approximately 1 teaspoon of paint to 1/2 cup of water. Stir the mixture thoroughly.

5. Using a wide paintbrush, apply the paint straight across the top and work your way down covering the entire piece of fabric. Allow the piece to dry thoroughly.

6. Add additional layers of paint if you wish, varying the type for more interest. Non-diluted pearl or iridescent fabric paints may be applied on the piece to add additional texture or designs.

7. Once the painted fabric is dry, place it between 2 paper towels, and press with a hot iron to remove any excess wax. Continue pressing to heat set the paint for the time indicated by the paint manufacturer.

That’s all there is to it. You could use the crayons for writing on fabric, and try it with resist dyeing as well. What a fun and easy method for creating small painted quilts, decorating prayer flags, or making quilt blocks.

This is just one of the many surface design techniques you’ll see in upcoming issues of Quilting Arts. Some are simple like this one, others more complex. Either way, if you like surface design, you won’t want to miss anything, so subscribe to Quilting Arts today.

P.S. Have you tried this technique or something similar? How has it worked for you? Please share your tips and suggestions below.

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