This is a really simple technique, but one we’re just trying out for the first time, so we wanted to share it with you. We have tons and tons of acrylic paint, but no fabric paint. We recently wanted to do a Handprint Mothers Day craft with the kids, but didn’t want to purchase several different colors of fabric paint when we already have so much acrylic paint. We knew you could turn acrylic paint into fabric paint by adding a fabric medium, but we’d never tried it ourselves.
There are a few different brands of fabric medium out there, but we went with Martha Stewart, because it’s relatively inexpensive, had good reviews on Amazon, and states that it’s able to be mixed with any brand of acrylic paint.
To use the fabric medium, you simply mix 1 part fabric medium with 2 parts acrylic paint. The fabric medium is a liquid that mixes easily with the paint and thins it out a bit. It did not dilute the color of the paint as far as we could tell.
Wash and dry your fabric prior to painting if possible, then paint away. After the paint is completely dry (at least 24 hours), you need to heat set it for permanency and washability. Most fabrics can be heat set using an iron on medium or high heat for 3-5 minutes. It’s recommended to put a scrap piece of fabric between the paint and your iron to ensure no paint is transferred to your hot iron, or turn the garment inside out and iron on the non-painted side. Continuously move the iron so you don’t burn the fabric. You can also heat set fabric paint by putting the garment in the dryer for about an hour. Once you’ve set your fabric paint, you want to wait about a week or so before washing it again.
One thing to note is that while we were painting a thin, flour-sack type dish towel, our DIY fabric paint soaked through a bit onto the table underneath. We aren’t sure if this happened because our fabric was thin, because the paint was thinned out by the fabric medium, or a combination of both, but wanted to mention it so if you try it you can be sure to put cardboard or something under your fabric while you’re painting.
We’ll be sharing our fabric paint project with you soon, but wanted to tell you about using the fabric medium in case you want to try it. If you’ve already made your own fabric paint, what did you use and what were your results? (Update: Here’s the fabric paint project if you’re interested in checking it out).
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