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DIY Scarf Painting

Little dabs of paint transform plain lightweight scarves into easy-breezy, one-of-a-kind wardrobe staples. The beauties shown here are a cinch to make, thanks to store-bought stencils in basic geometric shapes. Pick a design (circles, diamonds, or squares) and follow a few simple directions—you’ll be all wrapped up and ready for summer in no time.

Photography: Philip Ficks

Source: Martha Stewart Living, June 2015



Organic cotton stole, $15,
Mini mosaic-square and mini circle-grid stencils, by the Crafter’s Workshop, 6" by 6", $5 each; and diamond stencil, by Wendy Vecchi, $5,
Arabesque stencil, $17; multisurface satin acrylic craft paint, in Wet Cement, Mermaid Teal, Pink Dahlia, Sweet Potato, and Orange Soda, $2 for 2 oz.; tintable fabric medium, $7; and dauber set, $9, by Martha Stewart Crafts,



Prewash each scarf according to the label instructions; steam-iron before painting.

Use a separate dauber and palette knife for each color.

Rinse and dry daubers and stencils as needed to ensure crisp and clean impressions.

To align repeating patterns, fill in the stencil, and then move it forward so a few cutouts overlap with prints you’ve already made.


  • Scarf

  • Craft paper, for lining

  • Masking tape

  • Stencils

  • Palette knives or craft sticks

  • Craft paints

  • Fabric medium

  • Daubers

  • Iron


  1. Lay scarf on a flat, paper-lined surface. Secure with masking tape. Place a stencil on scarf.

  2. With a palette knife or craft stick, mix 2 tablespoons paint with 1 tablespoon medium. (Work in small batches, as the mixture dries quickly.)

  3. Dip a dauber in mixture, blot a few times on a square of folded paper towel, then fill in stencil. Repeat until you achieve desired design. Let dry 24 hours, then heat-set with iron.

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