March 29, 2012

If you missed yesterday’s post on how to sew the basic summer scarf click here.

Today I am going to show you how I simply used fabric paint to give a little personality to the scarf.

After a lot of debate I finally decided to jump on the polka dot trend because it was the easiest and most reliable of my ideas to make something look really professional.


-light weight summer scarf
-fabric paint
-1 inch circle sponge (I got mine at the craft store for under $1)
-large ruler or straight edge
-hairdryer (optional)

Step 1
Iron you scarf so that it is flat.

Step 2
Lay your scarf out flat on a large surface (you may want to put cardboard or plastic underneith your scarf to protect the surface).  You can do it in parts if you want.  I did mine in two halves.

Step 3
Prepare you paint and test on a scrap.  I used pink fabric paint and found it best to water it down by about 30%.  This made the end paint less stiff once dried.

Step 4
Line up your straight edge or ruler to make sure that you paint in a straight line.  Press down with your brush and make a circle every 2 inches.  Make sure that you don’t have too much paint on your brush or else may be really thick and stiff once it dries.

Step 5
I found the best technique was to slightly rotate the handle of the brush in order to make sure that all of the edges of the circle apply paint.  I wasn’t too worried about if the the circles were perfect.  I wanted more of a handmade, block-printed effect.  Continue to make rows of dots in groupings in whatever numbers that you like.

Step 6
Let your scarf dry.  You can use a hair dryer for speeding up the process.

Step 7
Iron all of your painted polka dots to set the paint and make it washable.

You’re done!

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  • Reply Adventures in Dressmaking March 29, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    Looks just lovely! The softness of the polka dots reminds me of some spotty scarves from Old Navy and Gap a couple summers ago. Such a fun, stylish but casual vibe!

    • Reply Kelli Ward April 6, 2012 at 2:14 PM

      thanks so much. i am pretty excited about how it turned out.

  • Reply Molly March 30, 2012 at 12:29 AM

    That’s pretty cute!

  • Reply Carolyn March 30, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    the dots are so great! 🙂

    • Reply Kelli Ward April 6, 2012 at 2:14 PM

      yeah, i am on a bit of a polka dot addiction right now.

  • Reply Leslie March 30, 2012 at 3:20 PM


    • Reply Kelli Ward April 6, 2012 at 2:15 PM

      thanks leslie. always so good to hear from you.

  • Reply Melizza March 31, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Oooh. What a fab idea. It definitely can bring back a neglected garment back to life. Thanks for the info!

    • Reply Kelli Ward April 6, 2012 at 2:21 PM

      you’re welcome. thanks for the comment!

  • Reply Sophia April 22, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Fun! Thanks for this.

  • Reply sivasundaram April 26, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    I am going to make scarves for all my friends….you are awesome…A BIG thanks Kelli !!!!

  • Reply thingsforboys September 7, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    Love this idea! It inspired me to add yellow polka dots to some fabric to make a scarf! Thanks

  • Reply Summer Scarf - Things for Boys February 3, 2016 at 11:08 PM

    […] For the back, I used a super soft old bed sheet and painted yellow polka dots on it. I didn’t have a big paintbrush, so I wrapped a strip of felt around the end of a knitting needle and used some sticky tape to secure it. This makeshift paintbrush worked perfectly! I dipped it straight into the paint and then wiped the excess off on the side of the pot. I printed out a grid to place under the fabric so that my spots lined up. I think next time I would water down the paint a little, but I’m still really happy with it. I got the idea for the spots from gorgeous scarf by Kelli at True Bias. […]

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