Stamping On Fabric

One way to extend the use of your rubber stamps is to stamp them on fabric. Using stamps, you can decorate clothing, home furnishings, linens, accessories...anything that is made out of material. But there are some guidelines that you must follow if you want positive results from your stamping efforts.


First, it is best to use a tightly woven piece of material that has no nap (raised fibers like velvet, velveteen, corduroy or terry cloth). Ink on fabric tends to bleed more than it does when used on paper so a tight weave is important. Cotton works best but other fabrics can be used as well. We suggest that you test them first before commiting a large piece of fabric to a project that you may be unsure of. Next, make sure that you wash the material before you stamp on it. Many fabrics are sized (coated with a chemical that makes them feel more expensive than they actually are) and paint doesn't stick well to sizing. Third, use a fabric compatible ink (we'll discuss what those are next). And last, iron your masterpiece before you wear it. This will heat set the color and prevent it from fading or washing out.

Fabric Inks

There are several coloring mediums that you can use when stamping on fabric. The first is fabric ink. It comes in a stamp pad just like your other inks and will be clearly marked - Fabrico is one brand you can look for. The next method is to use fabric paint (usually found in better craft stores). There are several brands available and they all work well. You will need to buy blank stamp pads and put the paint on the pads - that's an added expense . The last thing you can use is the pigment ink that you probably already have. The only problem with pigment inks is that they MUST be embossed or they won't set. Also keep in mind that embossing makes your fabric feel pretty stiff.

The Best Stamps To Use

Generally speaking, bold, blocky images work better than tiny, highly detailed ones. Again, try your stamp on a piece of scrap fabric before applying it to that $50 blouse.

Stamping On Velvet

An alternative method to stamping a colored image onto a flat fabric is to heat stamp an image onto velvet. You must use a blocky stamp for this (detailed stamps don't work) and you don't need ink at all. Place your stamp image side up on an ironing board, lightly mist the nap (fuzzy) side of your velvet and then place it nap side down onto the stamp. Take an iron (set to the wool setting) and press it down onto the wrong side of the material over the stamp. Hold the iron down with even pressure (don't rock it or move it) for 20-30 seconds (some materials may take a little more time. others a little less). Then lift the iron and it will have set the impression of your image into the velvet.

Back to Techniques Back to Main Page