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Free Ultimate Furniture Painting Guide

Wearable Art: The Tale of a Storytelling Denim Jacket

This is NOT just another painted denim jacket!

This jacket.....tells a story.....and I can't wait to share it with you!

storytelling denim jacket by Traceys Fancy

If you are a new reader, hello and welcome to the Fancy Fam! With over a decade of furniture painting experience, I can honestly say that sharing my projects through this blog is still my favorite way to inspire! I've got years worth of fun and creative ways to update your home decor and furniture through paint! If this sounds like something you'd like to have delivered to you every Sunday be sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter here!

Custom Storytelling Denim Jacket: The Design Plan

I was asked by someone very close to me to paint a denim jacket for her mother.

I've never met her mom and only know her through the stories of my friend.

She adores her mom and refers to her mother as her best friend. She looks forward to the time they spend together and it very often involves time spent at her moms home in the woods...hiking, nature walks, reading, long talks, and their favorite water fall.

When I asked what I should paint on the jacket, my friend told me "whatever I wanted"!

I asked if her mom had "favorite things" and she replied with "the color purple and the Chicago Cubs".

So I decided to paint what I saw in my mind when I envisioned her mother, the two of them, doing what they love!

This is the story of Allison and her mom!

Supplies Used

Chalk Mineral Paints (4 oz sizes would be perfect for this type of project)

Your colors choices will be unique to your project but these are the chalk mineral paint colors that I used for this project...

Chalk Pencil or Chalk

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How to Paint a Custom Denim Jacket with a Story

Painting the Background

I began by painting the entire backdrop (center panel of jacket) in Caviar. You could also paint the backdrop in a light color and do your tracing with pencil. I chose black as my canvas in hopes to deepen the overall vibe to lend to the feeling of a thick forest.

painting black background from storytelling denim jacket

Allison did provide me with a few photos of hikes with her mom. I referred to these when drawing the waterfall and the large bridge.

drawing waterfall on denim jacket with chalk pencil

I use a chalk pencil when sketching over dark colors. I REALLY enjoyed the simplicity of this sketch.....and the freedom I felt as I created a whimsical scene.

I included everything that Allison mentioned.....the waterfall, trails, reading, bird watching, Chicago cubs and large cozy sweaters.

Adding color to this custom storytelling painted denim jacket

Now to add color and bring this sketch to life!

I use chalk mineral paints as they are highly pigmented and work beautifully with water and fabric. Chalk mineral paints do not dry with a "skin" as acrylics often do. They actually become part of the fibers of the fabric as if they've been dyed. This is why my painted denim holds up so well to wash and wear.

I simply water down the paint to the consistency that I want and start painting.

I began with the blue sky over the waterfall and even with just this small place of color, the sketch already began to take on life!

adding blue paint to sky

PRO TIP: It is very helpful to apply straight water to the section you plan to paint. It's just like painting with water and then going back over it with your watered down color.

I worked my way from the back of the scene......the sky, rocks, the front of the scene.....the trees, house, birds, people etc.


More Inspiration: Painted Denim

I have been painting on denim for years! ALL the denim...and canvas...I can get my hands on. Here are more of my unique styles for your inspiration:


Adding little details to make a HUGE impact

Once everything was filled with color....I began to add details.

I used a Sharpie marker to add the lines to fill in as checks for my checkered trees - which I couldn't WAIT to add!!

drawing checks on trees

Once my trees were complete with my checks and dots pattern, I began to add details to everything else in the story.

I used heavily watered down Caviar to add deep shadows around the trees. I used an oil based marker to deepen the black outline around every object in the scene. I used the brighter colors in full strength to add highlighted pops of color to contrast with the darker shaded areas.

storytelling denim jacket by Traceys Fancy

This adds whimsy and energy to the scene.

To protect this project I brushed on a thin coat of Easy Peasy Spray Wax.

The Finished Look: Storytelling custom painted denim jacket

And I'm calling it done right here! It looks complete to me and I think the story is clear!

I LOVE this little story tale jacket!!!

storytelling denim jacket by Traceys Fancy

I can just feel the coziness of the cabin in the woods with its smoke filled chimney and clothes-filled clothesline!

The mushroom library provides the perfect place to sit for awhile with a favorite book! I can hear the birds on wires singing their sweet songs!

The tree swing is just big enough for two! The bridge is the perfect place to throw rocks from or watch as the fish swim the stream.

And call me crazy but I can feel the spray hit my face as the water falls and hits the rocks below. I can smell the moss growing on the rocks and feel the dampness under my feet where the trail meets the water.

I can see in my mind, Allison and her mom sharing this time together far away from the hustle of the real world.

THIS is what I love most about my work! I love the opportunity to tell a story!

Why not tell a story and turn it into wearable art?!?!

Thank you Allison for trusting me to create for your precious mom! I hope she is completely surprised by this denim jacket and I hope I get an opportunity to create more story telling jackets just like this one!

More Inspiration: Painted Denim (...and Canvas)

I have been painting on denim for years! ALL the denim...and canvas...I can get my hands on. Here are more of my unique styles for your inspiration:

How can I help with YOUR Painted Denim project?

Paint Your Own Project?

If you would like to paint your own denim/canvas project but would like more (video) instruction, I have a very detailed (and affordable) course, The Art of Painted Denim, that guides you through all the steps to create your own denim. This 1.5+ hour course gives you all the tricks and tips to make it look great and just as importantly make it LAST through the wash!

Allow ME to paint it for YOU!

I offer a variety of painted denim projects that I custom create for you! You provide the vision, we collaborate of the final look, and I create a beautiful lasting piece just for you! See all my painted denim/canvas offerings HERE.

JOIN ME FOR MORE...with Curiously Creative

If you enjoyed this and want more of a deep dive into home decor and DIY processes, I would love it if you joined my exclusive online creative group, Curiously Creative. I show up LIVE to guide you through every step of updating, upcycling, crafting, and creating on-trend home decor and gift-giving ideas!

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storytelling denim jacket by Traceys Fancy

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