Add stunning painterly patterns in your favorite shades to basic dish towels or table linens using only six items.

By Katie Bandurski

Painterly decor is taking over your Instagram feed for a reason. The pretty trend is soft, subtle, and stylish—and easy to DIY.

Painterly projects include wall art, linens, and more. For the most part, all you need is paint and a brush. You may need to make a few modifications depending on the surface.

The trick to a successful painterly project is to use a light hand when painting. This lets the brush bristles shine through in the finished product. With this DIY project, we'll show you how to get a painted brushstroke pattern on tea towels with only a handful of materials. 

What You Need

  • Tea towel
  • Acrylic paint in 2 or 3 colors
  • Fabric additive
  • Paintbrushes
  • Spray bottle filled with water
  • Iron

Step 1: Prep Materials

Gather all materials. Choose the order in which you'd like to apply the paints, then mix the first color with a fabric additive, such as fabric painting medium. This allows for painted fabric to be washed without paint fading or chipping. It also prevents painted fabric from becoming crunchy or tough.

Step 2: Paint the First Color

Once you've mixed your paint with an additive, paint brushstrokes onto the towel. Use a light hand so brush lines show. Lightly spray the paint strokes with water and let dry.

Step 3: Paint Additional Colors

Mix the second paint color with a fabric additive and paint brushstrokes onto the towel. Do not spray with water. Once dry, consider adding a third color. (We chose a metallic copper paint to add some sparkle and shine.) Mix the third color with additive and brush on light strokes. Let dry.

Step 4: Set the Paint

Set the paint according to package directions. We used an iron to set the pattern on our tea towels. Hand-wash towels, dry, and press with an iron on a delicate mode to remove any wrinkles. 


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