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How To Paint Denim

We’ve teamed up with "Project Runway Junior" designer Cartier Dior on how to use acrylic paints to customize denim!

cartier dior van gogh painted denim jacket diy

This is one of my favorite summer DIYs—hand painted denim! And best of all, I’m going to show you how to create designs that won’t crack or fade, even when you put them through the wash.

You’ll need a denim garment (i.e., jacket, shorts, jeans), acrylic paints, textile medium (found at craft stores), paint brushes, chalk, and masking tape.

paint your own denim jacket supplies


Step 1: Prepare your design. I chose to recreate one of my favorite paintings, but what you paint is up to you! Here’s a Pinterest board I created to help get your creative juices flowing.

Using a colored pencil or chalk, lightly sketch your design on your denim garment. You may also want to use masking tape to section off your painting area.

paint your own denim jacket sketch


Step 2: Prepare your paints.
Mix your paints with textile medium (one part paint to two parts textile medium). Textile medium turns acrylic paints into washable fabric paints, which is crucial. You want to keep your painting from cracking and fading when you wash it.

paint your denim jacket paint


Step 3: Begin painting. 

Now the fun begins! Using small to medium strokes, paint out your design. Don’t stress about getting it perfect. Haphazard, messier strokes can give your piece a more laid back vibe.

paint your denim jacket 2

paint your denim jacket 2

paint your denim jacket 3


Step 4: Seal the deal.
After the piece has dried overnight, seal your design with heat. Iron it using a medium heat setting. Let it cool down for a few moments, then wash and dry the piece. Et voilà!

paint your denim jacket van gogh