Bubble Wrap Print Scarf Tutorial

I have a thing for scarves.  I hate that summer is too hot for them, so as soon as fall hits….BAM, scarf time!  I love the pop of interest a scarf can add to an outfit.  I also love it’s ability to hide 1/2 of my outfit in a stylish way. From fall through spring, 70% of the time my scarf pulls through and hides toddler smears and any questionable t-shirts.  Or at least that is what I tell myself.  🙂

A scarf is also a great way to try out fabric printing.  Here I am making a bubble wrap print scarf, but any of the patterns I demonstrated on in the f with everyday items would work great for this.  Go check out the chart of different items and prints if you need more ideas.


  • 2 yards of fabric with drape (or more for longer scarf – see below).  You want your scarf to wrap around your neck in a way that is not too stiff. I find that a gauzy open weave fabric or a linen blend fabric works best.  Make sure you pick something that is soft!  The last thing anyone wants is a scratchy scarf! You also want to be careful not to choose a fabric that is fuzzy, like a flannel.  Your printing may end up looking fuzzy or blurry.  Be sure to test out any fabric first if not sure.  No one wants to commit to two yards of fabric and not have the paint adhere right!
  • Fabric paint. I am using Setacolor transparent paints.
  • Bubble wrap
  • Brayer and a paint tray or a wide paint brush – just a way to evenly apply the paint to the bubble wrap.
  • The usually sewing suspects – thread, pins, needles, scissors, ruler, sewing machine.

Location and Time

I divided this project into 3 time chunks, all of which need an hour or less:

  1.  Prepping my supplies and picking colors
  2. Printing the fabric
  3. Sewing the scarf

For the printing stage, you will need to spread out your fabric on a long table or the floor.


Prep the Fabric and Paint

  1. Wash your fabric.  Get all of the sizing and other chemicals off, so that the paint will adhere nicely.
  2. Cut your fabric.
    • Clearly, you can make your scarf as wide or as long as you want.  In determining the size of my scarf, I measures some of the many scarfs already in my closet.  Most were about 2 yards long, but the width varied from 12in (for thicker, wintery scarfs) to 24 in  or even wider (for very thin gauzy scarfs).  Since my fabric’s weight was somewhere in between, I cut it at 19 in in width, expecting a little over a 1/2 in. seam allowance for each side.
    • Cut a sample swatch to try out colors and your printing materials.
  3. Pick your paint.
    • Your paint choice will depend on the color of your fabric and how much contrast you want.   As you can see from my photo, the colors may look different than expected on red fabric.  The purple looks almost brown and the blue has a black look too it, while you can barely see the yellow.
    • I have a set of 10 transparent fabric paints from setacolor paints that I tested on my sample fabric to decide on the color.  If you don’t have a set of fabric paints at home, use markers to get an idea of how different colors show up on your background fabric.  It won’t be exact, but it will give you somewhat of an idea before you go buy paint.
    • Once you pick your color do a test of your printing material, to make sure you like the look.

Print the Fabric

  1. Lay your fabric out of a long table or the floor.  Remember to protect your printing surface!  I like to spread out  a couple of old towels under the fabric.  Not pretty, but it does the job.
  2. Mix up your paint and apply it to the bubble wrap.  I used a roller, but you could also use a paint brush.
  3. Get printing!  For this scarf, I did an all over bubble wrap print. Be sure to apply even pressure to the bubble wrap, so that the paint adheres in all areas.  For more details on printing fabric with household items, c.
  4. Let the fabric dry to the touch, then  flip it over and print the other side.  This way, you don’t have to worry about which side of the scarf is the “right side.”
  5. Let the fabric dry and follow the instruction on the bottle to set the paint.

Sew the Scarf

Sewing this scarf is a pretty basic process, which is nice after spending so much time making beautiful fabric!  The goal here is to hide the raw edges in a neat and clean way.

Most handmade project are all in the details.  That is way elevates something from homemade and crafty to handmade and artisan – skill and details.

Soooo….let’s do a double hem with sewn mitered corners and maybe some decorative stitching!  Not sure how to miter your corners?  Well, how handy I have a !  Check it out as needed.

  1. Press a 1/4 in hem allowance on all sides.  Fold the hem over again and press your hem another 1/4 in. encasing the raw edge.
  2. Miter all 4 corners.  My will give you all the information you need to make strong mitered corners that won’t gape or come apart.  Try it!  It is easier than it sounds.
  3. Top stitch all edges of the scarf. For make interest, you could add one of your machine’s decorative stitch setting to the hem or try your hand at some free-motion stitching on the edges.
  4. Press your scarf and go show off your new accessory!

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