Can You Use Acrylic Paint on The Fabric?

Acrylic paint can be used to paint on fabric, but the results may not be as great as expected. To ensure results are as good as fabric paint, add a bit of Liquitex Fabric Medium or GAC 900 Fabric Medium. Read on for more details.

I’ll go into more detail about this in a while, but this will make effects exactly like fabric paint. If you’re determined to use acrylics on fabric without adding fabric medium, keep reading to learn what to expect.

Can acrylic paint be used on fabric?

The answer is unquestionably yes! To get the best outcomes, you must get it ready for the procedure.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on The Fabric?
Our top picks for acrylic paint manufacturers are:
  • Golden Acrylic for Professional Quality
  • Liquitex Basics for Medium Quality
  • Apple Barrel for Craft Quality

We must know several terms to get a clear concept of using acrylic paint on fabric.

What is fabric paint?

Fabric paint is made differently than acrylic paint.

It is a medium made of fabric dye mixed with a binder to improve its ability to adhere to fabrics.

We know that it is designed specifically for fabrics. Indeed, fabric paints can only be used on natural fibers and not synthetic ones.

For our fabric painting projects, we prefer to use acrylic paints because of this.

The following are some of the best fabric paint brands to use:

  • Arteza Permanent Fabric Paint
  • Castle Art Fabric Paint
  • Mont Marte Permanent Fabric Paint

What is the fabric medium?

In simple terms, fabric medium means transforming acrylic paints into fabric paints. Fabric medium is an acrylic polymer liquid mixture without pigments.

Why use fabric medium with acrylic paints?

If you add it with your acrylic paints, it will give the fabric a soft texture. Once the paint has dried, the fabric is simply washable by hand or machine. This has chemistry to it. You see, the fabric was not intended to be used for acrylic paint. It isn’t flexible enough.

Acrylic hardens after drying, and it is more likely to crack and peel when bent or folded. So, the fabric medium makes the paint durable.

Additionally, you’ll notice that acrylic paint is too thick to paint on fabric. To make it easier for your fibers to absorb, you will need to thin it. A fabric medium does this.

It will not only thin your paint to the desired consistency, but it will also improve the way it absorbs into your fabric.

  • Painting on fabric may additionally create watercolor effects and help the paint absorb and adhere to the fabric more effectively. Now painting on fabrics will be much more flexible for the artist thanks to the fabric medium. In addition, you can use a variety of additional painting techniques.
  • Many artists use fabric mediums to airbrush their fabrics after thinning their colors with a little water first. 

Directions on how to paint on fabric (Acrylic)

Step 1: Selecting fabric

You will get the nicest colors if the silk or cotton has a tight weave.

  • Apply a wax-like substance to any areas of your fabric with sharp edges. Once you’re done, you can easily remove the wax from your cloth through the dry-cleaning process.
  • If your fabric has soft edges, moisten that area with some diluted Flow-Aid Additive. Add some gel medium to your paint if it is too thick.
  • When working with Heavy Body Acrylic, put a standard cake decorating tip onto your tube. Test various nozzle thicknesses to see how you can get a variety of clear lines.
  • Use a lightweight cloth if you want the paint to scatter rapidly and evenly. The different fabrics that can be used for fabric painting, for example, terry cloth, velvet, felt, velveteen, silk, flannel, cotton-poly blends, suede, knitted, leather, cotton, corduroy, woven, and most synthetic materials.
  • If you wait for the paint to dry, you can add more coats without the undercoat showing through. To thin your paint to the required thickness, use some distilled water.

Wash and dry the fabric before painting and use acrylic markers for your convenience.

Step 2: Painting

You will need to add a fabric medium to change the consistency of your paint. Use Liquitex Fabric Medium to create a soft, flexible outcome. If necessary, thin your paint with distilled water, but be cautious not to thin it out too much.

  • Test your paint mixture first on a different piece of cloth, since different types of fabrics have distinct absorbencies and can impact how the paint is applied.
  • You must put down a protective covering to prevent your cloth from sticking to your work surface. To get the best outcome while painting on a t-shirt, you must place a piece of cardboard inside.

Step 3: Heat setting

Heat-setting fabric painting is an important step to ensure it lasts longer and prevents damage. In this step, you must wait for the paint to dry and iron it for durability. We suggest you wait for more than 24 hours before ironing. Now it’s completely dry. You can heat set the painted cloth. At this stage, if the fabric needs to wash wait for 4-5 days. Some tips for ironing-

Avoid using your iron’s steam settings when pressing your fabric. Only dry heat allows the paint to set. Turn off the steam settings if your iron does it automatically, and make sure the water container is completely dry.

If it’s possible, try to iron on the unpainted side of the fabric rather than the painted side. If this isn’t possible, all you must do is place a piece of clean fabric over the painted area of your clothing or fabric. Either of these solutions will prevent the painted side of your garment’s fabric from burning or the paint from melting onto your iron.

It’s a good idea to set a clean piece of fabric on top of your ironing board as well. When you iron your cloth with the painted side facing down, this will help to protect your ironing board cover from paint colors.

Adjust your iron’s temperature from medium to high depending on the type of fabric. To avoid burning your cloth, keep repositioning the iron over the painted area for a few minutes.

You should set your iron to a low heat and continue ironing for a longer period if you painted on a more delicate fabric.

You must press your fabric for three to five minutes to ensure that the paint has fully dried. It will be very hot at this time, so do not touch your cloth. We also advise ironing fewer pieces at a time because it allows you to move more quickly.

Note: Over time, acrylic on fabric has the tendency to fade or wash out. Direct application of acrylics to fabrics often results in a stiff feeling and comes out during laundry. Another problem with using acrylics is that there is nothing to bind the paint to the fibers. It can peel off easily even if you do not wash the fabrics. So, it is essential to use a fabric medium.

How to apply Acrylic Paint on Fabric without Medium?

You can use acrylic paint on fabric without a medium by using the advice given below. Use the tips provided in this article to improve your painted fabric’s elasticity and adhesion to the cloth.

Before you begin your project, gently rub the fabric’s surface with a piece of medium-grit sandpaper. As a result, the paint will stick to the fabric much better.

Spray the entire surface of the fabric with a spray bottle loaded with water. When wet paint is applied to wet fabric, the paint binds more evenly. Dilute your paint with a little water before you start. This enables you to use the paint easily.

If there is no readymade fabric medium, we have the solution. Here is our DIY fabric medium recipe. Mix equal volumes of glycerin and water with the vinegar. The liquid can be added to your acrylic paint until you get proper consistency.

Acrylic-painted fabric maintenance

It’s necessary to take good care of your painted fabric. Keep in mind that your acrylic paint won’t be very stable for cleaning if you applied it without a medium. So, treat your fabric with caution.

The following tips will make the painted fabric durable:

If possible, we advise hand washing and letting your fabric air dry. In the case of machine washing, we advise using the gentle cycle and the low heat setting on your tumble dryer. Your fabric’s lifespan and the durability of your design will both be increased.

If it’s possible, wash and dry the fabric by hand. Don’t soak your fabric in hot water. Give your cloth at least 4 days to dry before washing it to ensure that the paint has dried completely.

If you use a dry cleaner, ensure the spin-drying cycle is set to room temperature. The Suede may be dry-washed. If the fabric needs to be ironed later, do it on the reverse side and always use a low setting on your iron.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is acrylic paint safe to use fabric without a medium?

Without a medium, acrylic paint can be applied to fabric. However, if you want to wear the fabric, it will become incredibly stiff, which could be harmful. By using a medium, you can keep your fabric’s elasticity while minimizing absorption.   

How can fabric with acrylic paint be maintained?

Heat-sealing fabric is the best way to keep acrylic paint on it. Heat sealing makes sure that the paint and fabric are permanently united and won’t bleed when washed or worn. Applying heat, either with a clothes iron or a heat press, will seal acrylic paint into the fabric.

 Is acrylic paint permanent on the fabric?

If the cloth has been sealed and primed using a medium, then the answer is that acrylic paint does remain on it. When you use heat to seal your fabric workpiece, the paint will not run or flake off because the fabric may keep its elasticity thanks to the medium.

Wrap up

Can you paint with acrylics on the fabric? Hopefully, the information presented above has explained your query. Remember that washing tends to damage the paint, so avoid washing your cloth frequently if you want it to last longer.

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