How to Create a Unique Blazer With a DIY Watercolor Fabric Technique

The DIY Designer
by The DIY Designer
5 Materials
2 Hours

I’m going to transform a linen blazer that I thrifted for just a few dollars into a DIY watercolor fabric. This is an incredibly fun project that will get all of your creative juices flowing and then some. Let’s get started!

Tools and materials:

Blazers with flower designs

I’m going to be using dye, and my first thought was maybe an ombre dye jacket. Then, however, I decided to paint flowers with dye.

(If you are interested in learning how to do ombre tye-die, you can see this tutorial on how to ombre dye flannel shirts.) 

I have some amazing paint pens that have a brush tip, so they’re really easy to draw with. I’m going to draw the outlines of the flowers and then go in with a paintbrush and lightly paint the flowers in.

It will look like a line drawing of flowers all over the jacket with watercolor painted flowers in it.

Drawing the flowers on the blazer with paint pens

1. Draw the flowers

I always recommend starting on the back because sometimes it takes a moment to get comfortable, and you don’t want it to be front and center if you don’t love what you did.

With these drawings, you just need to go for it. You need to let yourself be really free. Oddly enough, the messier it is, the better it looks, so you need to let yourself move fast.

I recommend pulling up Pinterest floral line drawings to get a sense of some ideas and shapes that you can do. Then it just becomes about creating some balance in the size, shape, and location of the flowers, so you end up with a jacket that is really balanced.

I will say that the stem and some leaves are a great way to fill in some space. I also decided to add in a couple of butterflies. 

Adding dye to the flowers

2. Dye the flowers 

When I first started dying the flowers, I did it by mixing the dyes in a cup and painting. I then realized, though, that that actually wasn’t the right way of going about it.

What you want to do is paint the flower where you’re going to be painting with water first. Get the flower wet. Then you’re going to take just a tiny bit of dye, and you’re going to watercolor with it.

So, you’re going to add in your dye, then you’re going to dip into your water, and you’re going to blend it out and blend it out. Then you’re going to add more dye in an area where you want more saturation and more water where you want it to be more blended.

Just the way that you watercolor, you’re going to do that with these dyes.

How to paint clothes with dye

The reason that I recommend using dyes and not watercolor is that if you’re actually going to use watercolor, you have to mix in a fabric fixative. It’s a three-step process in order to get the watercolor to seep into the fabric, be machine washable, not fade and not be crusty on the fabric.

By using dye, it’s actually a really amazing hack for creating a watercolor effect that seeps right into the fabric, so it’s super soft and becomes one with the fabric.

How to create balance in the design

When painting, take a look at your blazer and consider what colors you’re missing in your design; that way, again you’ll have that balance.

Using acrylic paint pens on clothes

3. Design the lapels

I love the way it’s looking but I felt that I needed to add something to the lapels. I drew a big oversized flower on one of the lapels and then little tiny flowers on the other side to create some balance. 

Creating watercolor effects with dye, water, and paint pens

I then took a cup that had a little bit of blue dye in it, barely any, and I started buffing it in while the marker was still wet. It created this really cool pastel gray color.

Flowers painted on clothes

4. Fill in the rest of the blazer

Once the lapels were done, I decided that the blazer needed to be filled in throughout. So I took my pen and drew a ton of line drawings all over in black.

These are not going to get colored in; these are going to stay just the black outline to fill in the space so that the entire jacket feels full and feels like it’s covered with flowers.

Now the jacket is done, and I’m going to give you some outfit ideas on how to style it.

DIY blazer with a nude top

Here I’m wearing a nude-colored corset top, a pair of jeans, and a pair of heels that disappear under the jeans. To accessorize, I added a chain necklace. I could wear this outfit for so many different occasions - I love it.

DIY blazer with jeans and a t-shirt

A t-shirt will change this. We have all the same elements, but the t-shirt transforms the look and makes it feel more cool and casual.

DIY blazer with a denim dress

I thrifted this dress and released the hem to make it a bit longer. I threw on a pair of iridescent heels. I think that the blazer looks very cool just draped over my shoulders.

DIY blazer with a belt

Belting the jacket is another option for how to wear it.

DIY blazer with a clear plastic belt

Here I put on a little slip skirt, and I’m wearing the blazer buttoned closed. The very cool thing with a jacket like this is that it almost creates a peplum style when you wear it with a tight belt.

The fact that the belt is transparent means that you can also see the design on the blazer through it.

DIY blazer with a shirt

The tones aren’t exactly right, but this is an oversized silk shirt with the silk skirt with the jacket over it. Leave the jacket open and let the shirt sleeves pop out of the ends.

DIY blazer with a white outfit

Again, the colors aren’t exactly right here, but I just wanted to show how you can wear a silk shirt with a pair of casual linen pants. Just tie a knot in the shirt and this is great for the summer.

How to style the DIY blazer

Here we have the same pants that I’m wearing with a knitted crop top, wide brim hat and I feel ready for a yacht day. This is a real summer moment right here.

Another good thing about this jacket is that the colors of the flowers tie in with a lot of other colors, so this hat really works with the tones of the blazer.

DIY blazer with an open shirt

Next option, I’ve got simple high-waisted jeans that I’ll wear with sneakers and a second layer of an open denim shirt. The sleeves of the blazer are too short for where I like my sleeves to be, but the sleeves of the denim shirt give me that added length.

How to wear the DIY blazer

While we’ve got these jeans on, I want to show you how the outfit can transform based on the top you wear.

DIY blazer with a graphic tee

Little subtle graphic. Boom.

DIY blazer with a pink shirt

I would wear this top with a bunch of skinny necklaces. I like how the proportion of the top is the same as that of the shirt.

DIY blazer with a slouchy black outfit

Here I wanted to show you an option for something that is different to anything you would think which is wearing big, comfy, slouchy, oversized things that are almost masculine.

I really like how the hood comes out the back, on top of the blazer. This is an unexpected look that really works, though I do think it would look better if the sweater was lighter color.

Blazer with DIY watercolor flowers

This is a really chic and elegant vibe and you can belt it on the outside or on the inside.

DIY watercolor on fabric tutorial

This is such a creatively fulfilling project, and I cannot recommend it enough. Flowers are really good for this design because they are a free, organic shape.

I am way more into the jacket than I thought I would be. After showing you all the different ways to style it I’m realizing what a versatile piece it is. It’s really one of a kind!

Suggested materials:
  • Light-colored blazer
  • Powder dye
  • Liquid dye
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 17 comments
  • Charlotte Hayward Charlotte Hayward on Jun 02, 2022

    I've painted jackets and vests before. I used fabric medium and acrylic paint but love the idea of dyes. Love your jacket.

  • Nic3339207 Nic3339207 on Feb 11, 2024

    The paint pens you used can the item be washed after you use the pens or do the pens wash out?