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DecoArt Ink Effects review and custom place setting project tutorial

Written by: | Published: July 09, 2012 | Updated: June 05, 2017

DecoArt has a new product, available in stores soon, that allows you to create custom art on a variety of fabric types. This isn’t a typical fabric paint or dye. Instead of requiring you to use 100% cotton fabric items, Ink Effects works best on fabrics with less cotton. I was using poly-blends when testing and the color shows up vibrant and beautiful!

DecoArt Ink Effects project idea by Jen Goode

How it works: You paint your designs onto paper and then transfer the image to the fabric using an iron. The fabric stays soft yet the color transfers nicely. The beauty of this technique is that you don’t have to risk messing up, painting directly on your project. You can draw out your design on the paper and then trace over with the paint. I absolutely LOVE this product. I don’t regularly get the opportunity to paint as much as I’d like… the ease and versatility of Ink Effects makes me want to paint all the time, the possibilities are almost limitless. Plus, when you transfer your art to the fabric, much of the brush strokes transfer too – so neat!

I tested out the product before I made my place setting project (below). I wanted to see how it worked and test out the colors…learn what techniques would work best. For my test I just made some simple colored circles and some scrap polyester. The coolest thing I learned, I made a couple circles but was able to transfer the color from each a few times. So I ended up with a pattern of circles with very few painted pieces of art.

Testing DecoArt Ink Effects

To show you how DecoArt Ink Effects works, I created a custom napkin and placemat setting. You can get more elaborate with your painting and design if you’d like or go really simple… just like any other painting, what you create is up to you. The ink itself does transfer a bit transparent, so keep that in mind when creating your art.

Transform art to decor with DecoArt Ink Effects

For this project I purchased plain cream colored napkins and placemats at Walmart for roughly $6 total. I’m not positive what the fabric is, but it’s a polyester blend, the ink took really well. You can paint your entire design on to one sheet of paper, however I wanted to see how layers of painting would work, so I created two separate piece of art and over lapped them onto the fabric. Here’s how I made it…

STEP 1Sketching art ideas

My art idea sketching


Painting on paper with DecoArt Ink Effects

Transforming the sketches to painted designs


DecoArt Ink Effects transferred on fabric

Painted designs transferred and overlapped on fabric placemats

Make your own custom napkin and placemat place settings

Materials you need

  • DecoArt Ink Effects – whatever colors you like. I used brown, Violet, Light Green, Red, and Orange.
  • Paper
  • Fabric napkin and placemat
  • Iron
  • Towel (Optional)
  • Paint brushes
  • Artwork to paint – you can use a pretty art pattern that I created for this project.
  • If you’re using a cotton fabric, you need the base coat product as well
DecoArt Ink Effects products


  1. Paint your artwork on the paper. If you are using the art pattern, then either place the pattern under your blank paper and use to trace with the paint, or paint directly on the pattern. I created 4 pieces of art. 2 pieces were the same pattern painted just in brown. The other 2 pieces of painted art were the same pattern painted in colors. I created 4 pieces because the color transfer fades as you use the art on the fabric and I knew I wanted 2 placemats and 2 napkins, so I used 1 brown and 1 colors art piece for each place setting.
  2. Let dry for at least 30 minutes.
  3. If you need to add a second coat for more paint coverage, make sure to let the art dry for 30 minutes after the final paint coat.
  4. Transfer the art to the fabric. Place your fabric on top of the towel (unless you are using an ironing board – I ironed on my craft table). If you have a very thin fabric, you might want to protect your board with a towel as well.
  5. Starting with the brown art first, place artwork, paint side facing the fabric and add a second piece of paper on top of the art work.
  6. Iron on high for 30 seconds. I like to move the iron around to get an even heating, so I actually ironed for more than 30 seconds. You can kind of see the paint soak through to the blank paper top sheet as it heats and sets into the fabric.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 using the colored art work.

Tip: I found the ink transfers easier if I ironed the fabric before placing the art to transfer, so the fabric was a little warm to start off.

Note: Make sure to test out this product and technique on scrap fabric before creating your final art and fabric pieces.

Bonus project: I also made napkin ring holders using cardboard and the same pattern I used on the fabric. I’ll share a tutorial step-by-step later.

Use DecoArt Ink Effects to make a custom place setting

DecoArt Ink Effects should be available in Joann Fabric stores soon, I don’t have an exact release date yet, but when I hear, I’ll update this post.

design pattern for painting from Jen Goode

Download the free design pattern I used in this project.

Follow DecoArt for more great product and project ideas:


Disclosure: This post as part of a paid campaign with DecoArt and Blueprint Social. I was provided product to review and use, the art and opinions in this post are 100% my own.
Makes you want to get out the paint brushes doesn’t it?

More DecoArt Ink Effects Project Ideas:

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Jen is Passionate about Creativity. She is the owner and "doodle in charge" of JGoode Designs, a Denver based design studio. She is an illustrator, mixed media artist and creative lifestyle blogger. Jen has been a creative professional since 1998 but says she's been an artist since she was old enough to eat glue.

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11 thoughts on “DecoArt Ink Effects review and custom place setting project tutorial”

  1. These are beautiful Jen, love the design! I need to post my project. I used 100% cotton and did have some fading so am hoping to try it again on poly blends ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Oh these are so beautiful! I wouldn’t be able to wipe my face with one of these gorgeous napkins! I just love your whimsical doodles and the way you have blended the different colors of Ink Effects. What a lovely project!



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