Fabric Stamping {7 simple & awesome Techniques to use Stamps on your clothes & accessories}

Stamping is a simple but highly effective way of making prints and patterns on fabric. Stamping helps to apply paint in unique designs accurately the same way many times over – fabric printing at its simplest- these designs can stand tall among other professionally printed fabrics if done rightly.

With the help of readily available stamps, you can create beautifully patterned fabric surfaces  – even if you regularly refer to “How to draw for dummies” in your spare time.

No drawing skill required, No painting needed, No hard work involved. And No more stick people. Total win-win. 


Stamping techniques

1 Simple stamping (random or planned)

fabric stamping techniques

You can use the back of a pencil or your 0 number paintbrush to make dots on the fabric. Anything can become your stamp.

Related post: Best ways to make your own fabric stamps  ; Make your own cute little stamps from leftover potatoes – Checkout the post on Potato printing

fabric stamping techniques

There are some techniques that textile designers use in planning their designs and patterns on fabric. You can also use these sequences in planning your stamping pattern. Check out this post on the different types of repeats used on fabrics to design your own unique stamped design.

2 Multi coloured stamping

Use two or more colours in one go 

stamping techniques

Or stamp with one colour in one area, wait for it to dry. Meanwhile, wash and dry your stamp. Use the same stamp to print the other side in a different colour.

stamping on fabric -different methods

To do the first way, Just paint one colour on one side of the stamp and use another colour and stamp away. 

fabric stamping techniques

3 Over-Stamping

This refers to stamping one image first and then stamping over it later with another design – this can give a dramatic or subtle effect depending on how you use it. 

You can overprint with different colours or a shade of the same colour for a shadow effect. Stamp with one colour first and then using another colour Stamp over the first image. If you use a grey shade of the same colour a shadow effect can be created.

4 Stamping with bleach

This is a technique that you can use on dark coloured fabrics – use cotton fabric.Bleach is used instead of paint to stamp on the fabric.

Using bleach results in a faded look (washed out look) where you stamp. The colour is removed from the area.

How do you stamp with bleach

Bleach – instead of the liquidy bleach you could try to get hold of bleach with a gel like a constituency for better results. You will be using bleach just like paint with your rubber stamps. After you have done stamping keep your fabric out in the sun and keep it there for some time for the bleach to take effect.

5 Embossed stamping

With embossing, you get a raised effect for your stamped image

To do this kind of stamping you need to buy an embossing powder. Do the stamping as usual. As soon as the stamping is done, sprinkle embossing powder on the image- sprinkle liberally and wait a few seconds (10 seconds). Remove the excess embossing powder from the image by flipping the design.

6  Negative stamping

This involves using two stamps and creating a negative space inside one of the stamp shapes. The second stamp should fit inside the first one for this method to work

stamping techniques

First, you make an impression with the first stamp using a contrasting colour. I have done a rectangle shape in navy blue.

fabric stamp

After it is dry, you press the other stamp coloured with an approximate colour of the fabric – I have used white to make the heart shapes inside.

stamping on to fabric

This will make it seem as if you have removed the paint from the stamped impression you had made first

7 Drybrush stamping

This involves using the paint very sparingly on the stamp. Just put a little bit of paint on the brush and coat your stamp with it. A faded vintage/distressed look can be achieved this way.

How to apply stamps on fabric – General guidelines

Stamping is simple – you apply ink on the stamp and stamp away. But if you follow some rules the print will look sharp and last forever.

Other than stamps and suitable paints you also need brushes or foam roller to apply paint on the stamp

Related post: Best inks to use for stamping on fabric

Prepare your stamp

Inking is the technical term used to describe the coating of the stamp with paint.

Spread the thick paint on a plate. You can either dip the stamp face down on to paint kept on a flat surface or apply paint on the stamp using a brush, or roller face up. Run the roller through the paint till you are sure the stamp is evenly and well coated with the paint.

Prepare your fabric

Always prewash fabric. There may be starch, conditioners or glue that prevents absorption of colour. Avoid using fabric with special surfaces that will not absorb ink and those with very loose weaves and furry materials. 

Press fabric flat with an iron and remove all wrinkles. This is very important for proper stamping.

Test your stamp once on a piece of scrap fabric. Test the technique you will be using.

Keep your fabric on the backing sheet on a flat working area -use newspaper or thin cardstock. Ensure that it would not move.

Start stamping

Decide on where you will make the stamping design. Make small pencil dots. Use the stamp  on the fabric.

Start painting from one corner. If you want to print repeats you should space them equally – that is if that is your plan.

You need to apply gentle pressure to the back of the stamp and allow a couple of seconds for the ink to transfer – one or two seconds is enough.And when you take it off, do it carefully so that the outline do not smudge.

Make sure that the stamp is not overloaded, but neither should it be sparse with paint. If it is overloaded the excess paint will come out through the sides and your image will not be sharp. This will happen if you press too hard as well.

If the paint is less you won’t get the whole image – this can also happen if you do not press enough.

One problem with stamps is that you may find some areas of the fabric that have not taken paint well. This happens if the stamp is not smooth enough, the fabric is not pre-washed or if it has wrinkled. Use a brush to apply paint on these gaps inside – do not wait till the paint is dry. Use the leftover paint to do this.

Wash fabric, iron it wrinkle-free, and clean stamps regularly before the paint dries on it.

Setting and maintaining

You need to set the fabric paint with hot iron – follow the instructions on your paint or ink. Do not wash the stamped fabric for one week – it needs time to set.

Related posts : How to dye clothes ; Best Fabric dyes.

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