How to Weather fabric

  1. #1
    asok's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2002
    From
    Indiana
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    2,707

    How to Weather fabric

    I have some gray fabric that I need to weather to make it look charcoal. How do I do that and keep the weathered look after washing?


  2. #2
    BobaFettish's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 2002
    From
    Indianapolis
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    3,228

    Re: How to Weather fabric

    Are you just wanting it to look dirty, or dirty and worn, or dirty, worn and distressed?

    I use a misting of flat black, gray primer, brown, and Testor's Dull Cote to give my that dirty, smoked look. If you wash it, it will come off to an extent, so you'll have to re-apply it again.

    For the worn (aged) look, you can use a rough grit sandpaper or a wire brush to wear away at the fabric a bit. You could also drag it back and forth on rough concrete (like a driveway).

    For the distressed (battle damage) look, you can bunch up a small area and snip away at it with some scissors (dull scissors actually do a pretty good job as they don't cut all the way through it). After you wash it a few time, the ends will fray (depending on what type of fabric it is). Natural materials like cotton work best. Synthetics like polyester just tend to tear and then unravel when washed. You can always singe the fabric in a few spots if you dare, but be warned that it will weaken the fabric. If you do this, stand next to a sink or tub of water in case things go awry. Just be careful.

  3. #3
    Jedi-Bob's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 2002
    From
    Westchester County, NY
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    Re: How to Weather fabric

    BF - are those the colors you recommend for weathering the coverall?

  4. #4

    Re: How to Weather fabric

    Tie it to the bumper of your car and drive it around a parking lot for a minute. A buddy of mine did that to a leather jacket for his Wolverine costume and it looked great. Just a thought. Take care and good luck,
    The Dude.

  5. #5
    Fosterkeri's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 2004
    From
    Buffalo, NY
    Posts
    122

    Re: How to Weather fabric

    For my ESB jumpsuit I used...brake dust (grime) that accumulated on the hubcaps of my SUV. Sounds crazy...right? You'd be surprised how well it is to work with. Just rub it on your fingers and apply it directly to the fabric. Work with it...just keep rubbing it in where ever you want it. If you want darker areas...just add more. Then to fade the entire suit and make it look worn...I got out my trusty wire brush and scrubbed the whole thing down. The wire kinda shreds the fabic at the miniscule level...adding years of wear and tear to it instantly. I am quite pleased with how it turned out and trust me...anyone can do it. Have fun!

  6. #6
    cal196's Avatar
    Member Since
    Aug 2004
    From
    Earth
    Posts
    2,617

    Re: How to Weather fabric

    I airbrushed rust color, and flat black fabric paint on my coveralls. The trick I think is less is more. with an airbrush at least you can overdo it and it looks prefabricated.

  7. #7
    Jango's kid's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2002
    From
    SW Minnesota, very small town
    Posts
    2,517

    Re: How to Weather fabric


    Fosterkeri wrote:

    For my ESB jumpsuit I used...brake dust (grime) that accumulated on the hubcaps of my SUV. Sounds crazy...right? You'd be surprised how well it is to work with.
    Yeah, that stuff does work pretty well, just be carefull and wear a breath mask...that stuff is primarily asbestos, and can be really nasty if you breath it into your lungs. I've found that charcoal is just as effective, and less hazardous. For alot of my weathering on my ESB stuff, I just used a spray bottle with dilluted black dye. worked great. Also used very thin black testors paint through an airbrush.
    Damian


  8. #8

    Re: How to Weather fabric

    Yes,black,or 'carbon scoring' is just ordinary brake lining dust...we use it a LOT in weathering,for film...looks the bizzo..it won't shine,or reflect,but looks realistic.
    We here just go to the parking lot,and rub fingers on wheels and apply........simple.......

  9. #9

    Member Since
    Oct 2013
    From
    Juneau, Alaska, United States
    Posts
    71

    Re: How to Weather fabric

    Jango's kid said: View Post
    Yeah, that stuff does work pretty well, just be carefull and wear a breath mask...that stuff is primarily asbestos, and can be really nasty if you breath it into your lungs. I've found that charcoal is just as effective, and less hazardous. For alot of my weathering on my ESB stuff, I just used a spray bottle with dilluted black dye. worked great. Also used very thin black testors paint through an airbrush.
    Damian
    most modern breaks use little to no (more likely) asbestos, though powdered resin and metal like that isstill dangerous. mask is still reccomended

  10. #10
    animattor's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 2014
    From
    Las Vegas NV
    Posts
    183

    Re: How to Weather fabric

    I used a mix of water and various shades of browns and black paints. I brushed and layer it on while the fabric was damp.

  11. #11

    Re: How to Weather fabric

    Good info.

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