Introduction: Paint ANY Pet on a Denim Jacket

About: 18 year old artist who dabbles in a bit of everything! 100% addicted to coffee and painting @ElsiebsArt on insta, YouTube, and etsy!

Hey Ya'll!!

In this Instructable, I'll be demonstrating how to paint a denim jacket step-by-step. A denim jacket with a favorite furry pet is the perfect gift for a friend or for yourself! This is a super simple yet beautiful design that you can easily alter to make your own.

We have quite a few different animals, but my pride and joys are my rabbits. Including, my Dwarf Hotot rabbits. Dwarf Hotots are a rare breed, known for their snow-white fur and striking dark rings around their eyes. Poppy and Bob (who has since passed) have a son, Small Bob, who is as mischievous as he is cute. He is my inspiration for this jacket, and although he looks very similar to his mother, he is the model I am trying to paint! lol

While I am showing the steps to paint a rabbit, I am also providing a few simple instructions to paint dogs and cats.

Step 1: Supplies

    The supplies for this project are simple and depending on where you shop, incredibly cheap. I spent maybe $20 total on everything. The different colors of paint were the most expensive.

    • 1 Denim Jacket - I paid $5 for mine at Goodwill. Real denim is best, no imitation denim.
    • Fabric Paint - Hobby Lobby sells bottles for $2. The colors I used are below but you can use others as well.
      1. Black
      2. White
      3. Grey
      4. Red
      5. Dark Green
      6. Light Green
      7. Yellow
    • 2 Round Paintbrushes (I found that size 3 and 8 are best)
    • 2 Flat Paintbrushes (size 4 and 12)

    Step 2: Sketching Your Baby

    Its always best to practice drawing your fur baby (or scale baby, went and then modify it to look more like your own. However, do not spend too long on the rough sketches!! I only spent about 30 seconds on each portrait to get comfortable with the shapes.

    Practice a basic sketch of your pet a few times on paper before moving to the jacket because it's harder to fix mistakes once sketched on denim.


    The key to sketching an animal face is to capture the right shapes. Most dogs have a rectangular face while cats and rabbits are much rounder.

    In carnivors (dogs, cats, ect.) the eyes are much closer and in the front of the face. Herbivores (rabbits, horses, ect.) have eyes on the side of the face and when they face forward, they are much further apart and only part of the eye is visible.

    In dogs, cats, and rabbits, the ears are not balanced on the top of the head, but rather start across from the eye and point at angles instead of straight in the air.

    Step 3: Flowers and Leaves

    The wreath will be mainly abstract, as its difficult to paint details on denim. Besides, I prefer the messy, chaos look of leaves and flowers everywhere! :)

    Practice different types of flowers and leaves on paper to see what you like best. I've included several designs I experimented with. Ultimately, I decided I liked pink roses, big green leaves, and ferns best, although you can use any type of flower or leaf you want.

    I don't show step-by-steps on how to paint each type, but I do show how to paint the flowers I use coming up. ;)

    Step 4: Sketching the Design

    Next, sketch out the design you want on paper. Again, don't spend much time on this, it's only to get an idea of the basic shape. I spent maybe a minute, and definitely didn't spend much time making my bunny look realistic!

    Next, spread your jacket out to get it ready for painting. Be sure the arms are not tucked under the back or it will be an uneven surface. If your paint is thinner, you may need to spread newspaper underneath. You may also need a few extra coats of paint.

    Use chalk to sketch out the design on the back of the jacket. No details! Just the shapes so you have markers for painting.

    Step 5: First Coat

    Begin the first coat with white paint.


    The white is a base for the other colors and makes them pop! You don't have to paint each leaf in white, but as much as you have patience for is ideal. As you can see from the pictures, my patience ran out before my paint did! Lol

    Let the white dry for at least 2 hours.

    Step 6: Beginning the Leaves

    The leaves and ferns are first, since they are the background. Its easier to paint the flowers over leaves than try to paint the leaves behind the flowers.

    This is where the small round paintbrushes come in handy. Use them to paint the ferns and blend the greens together. It's best to paint lightest to darkest colors or the light green will not show up.

    The paint will start to fade as it dries, especially if it is not on the white paint. That is normal and ok, you'll just need to add another coat once it dries.

    Step 7: PAINTING THE ROSES!!!!!

    Now, I dunno about you, but I find roses EXTREMELY hard to paint. They're actually my least favorite flower to paint, but they're also my favorite flower, so we've got a love/hate relationship. Several times when painting, I had to gently set down my paintbrush, lay down, and count to 10, so as not to take a blowtorch to the entire thing.

    Needless to say, roses are annoying, but they are SO pretty, ergo I must paint them.

    Following the pictures is the easiest way to explain how to paint them but here is the simplest explanation in words:

    First, outline the leaves in black, starting from the center of the flower. This will add shadows and dimension. Next, follow the black in red, blending the two together. Next, add light pink along the red. Blend again, and fill in any white with light pink. This technique adds dimension but also has a slightly abstract effect.

    Step 8: Finishing the Roses/Starting the Bunneh

    Finish painting the roses around the boarder. I added 9, but you can add as many as few as you want.

    I also added another coat of paint to my bunny. If your pet is white, you may need to as well. I also sketched out his face in pencil. If you have a dog with many different colors, this is a good time to start adding them.

    Step 9: Another Coat of Paint

    Next, once the first coat is dry, add another coat of green to the leaves. Mine had faded into the denim, so this second coat really made the painting pop!

    Also, I love impressionism, and instead of actually painting each leaf, I created texture and layers of paint that give the impression of leaves, and are more abstract. This also keeps the viewer focused on the main subject - your pet.

    Step 10: Painting Your Pet!

    Almost done!! Now, I painted the details on my rabbit. Since Small Bob is a Dwarf Hotot, he is entirely white with black 'eyeliner.' This made painting very easy, but if you're painting another critter, this step may be the trickiest. Remember, paint lightest colors first, then move on to dark colors.

    After painting Small Bob, I decided to give him a black background. This is optional, but does make the subject stand out.

    Remember, when painting eyes, it's always a good idea to add a drop of white to the corners, as a reflection.

    Step 11: Whiskers and Bows

    Last step!!

    I gave Small Bob a bright red bow to match the roses. But you could add a bow, flowers, or hair bow, or anything else at this point!! Whatever matches your fur baby's personality. Since Small Bob is so dapper and sassy, a bright red bow was perfect for him! :) A little touch of white on the sides of the bow really make it pop!

    Since whiskers are so fine, I didn't want to use a brush and paint them on. Instead, I folded piece of paper and painted the crease with black paint, and then pressed it lightly to the painting. This was perfect, and captured the dainty-ness (is that even a word?) of whiskers.

    Step 12: Finished!!


    You're all done! I was really pleased with how the jacket turned out, since it was only my 3rd time painting on denim. If you decide to paint your own fur baby on a jacket, please post a picture! I'd LOVE to see how you made this Instructable your own! As always, any feedback is appreciated!

    Until next time,

    Elsie B.

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