Things You'll Need
- Flexible fabric paint
- Sponge brushes
- Clear contact paper
- Thin, black Sharpie
- X-Acto knife and blade
- Scrap cardboard
- Clothes dryer
Zentai suits are skin-tight nylon, spandex or Lycra garments designed to cover the entire body, including the wearer's face. Perfect for costumes when painted appropriately, these outfits were initially sold primarily to fetishists who enjoyed anonymous, skin-tight exposure, but have now moved into the mainstream as sports fans throughout the world use them in colorful pranks, according to Laura Kane of The Vancouver Sun.
Find or design an image to paint on the zentai suit. Beginners to fabric painting should avoid complicated images with many colors or details, and instead select images made up of basic geometric shapes, such as circles, squares and triangles.
Select a zentai suit in the primary color of the image selected to paint on it. For example, choose a blue zentai suit when planning to paint bubbles, fish or other underwater creatures, or a green zentai suit when planning to paint a jungle scene or tropical birds.
Create a stencil out of clear contact paper. Trace or draw the image on the contact paper using the Sharpie marker. Lay the paper flat on a table covered with scrap cardboard. Cut carefully around the drawn lines using an X-Acto knife with a sharp blade. Repeat as needed for more complex images.
Put the zentai suit on the mannequin so the images painted upon it do not appear distorted when worn. Remove the adhesive from the contact paper and stick the stencil on the suit in the next designated area. Dab the flexible fabric paint within the borders of the stencil using the sponge brush. Peel the stencil off and stick it on the next area to paint. Use a different brush for each color to avoid muddying the paint. Allow it to dry on the mannequin when finished.
Heat set the paint on the zentai suit. Remove the suit from the mannequin and turn it inside out. Place the painted suit inside a clothes dryer. Choose the hottest dryer setting and allow the decorated zentai suit to tumble for one hour. Check it every 15 minutes to make sure the synthetic fabric of the suit does not melt or burn.
Based in Los Angeles, Simone O'Shea began freelance writing online in 2009. She is a certified yoga instructor, and has written and illustrated several instructional manuals. O'Shea holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture from the Pratt Institute.