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Washable Home-Made Fabric Paint

In this tutorial we experimented with making our own DIY fabric paints from acrylic paint by adding a couple of household ingredients, and came out with fabric paints that not only look fabulous, but are also washable - and we didn't even need to set them with heat!

Over the weekend, the kids and I visited a country fair. Poking around the craft tent, I was delighted to come across some very reasonably priced, hand carved, printing blocks. I knew exactly what I wanted us to use them for - to stamp on some little muslin bags we have for another project - but we need the stamped bags to be washable!

 

In this tutorial we experimented making our own diy fabric paints from acrylic paint by adding a couple of household ingredients, and came out with fabric paints that not only look fabulous, but are also washable - and we didn't even need to set them with heat!

A quick google suggested that you can turn acrylic paints into fabric paint, just by adding an acrylic paint medium - which would be perfect if we had some, but we don't, so I had to delve a little deeper. A couple of artist sites suggested using glycerine with acrylic paints, to make them act more like oil paints, or combined with water to make them more like a fabric paint.

 

In this tutorial we experimented making our own diy fabric paints from acrylic paint by adding a couple of household ingredients, and came out with fabric paints that not only look fabulous, but are also washable - and we didn't even need to set them with heat!

We decided to try adding vinegar to the mix, to encourage the colour to 'fix' to the fabric, hoping it would work in the same way as it would with traditional dyeing, which we tried in our Turning Stains into Dyes tutorial. Now we had our 'paint medium' recipe. We mixed 10mls white vinegar, 10mls glycerine and 20mls water in a jar and gave it a shake. We then used a small amount of this to thin down the acrylic paints (which came from the Pound Shop). We mixed 3 slightly different shades of green, and then applied them to a sponge with a brush, to use as an ink pad.

 

In this tutorial we experimented making our own diy fabric paints from acrylic paint by adding a couple of household ingredients, and came out with fabric paints that not only look fabulous, but are also washable - and we didn't even need to set them with heat!

We used one of the kid's old T-shirts to try out the stamping and it looked fab. I know that with traditional fabric paints they need to be fixed with heat, so once the paint was dry I decided to Iron the bottom half of the T-shirt (the bottom 3 leaves in the picture), keeping well away from the top - to see how much difference it would make. I then threw the T-shirt in the washing machine with a detergent capsule and put it through a 40C wash (with my fingers tightly crossed!).

 

In this tutorial we experimented making our own diy fabric paints from acrylic paint by adding a couple of household ingredients, and came out with fabric paints that not only look fabulous, but are also washable - and we didn't even need to set them with heat!

We were delighted to see all the leaves intact when I removed the top from the washing machine - the non ironed stamped images are just as bright as the heat set ones, so the vinegar definitely did it's job!

 

In this tutorial we experimented making our own diy fabric paints from acrylic paint by adding a couple of household ingredients, and came out with fabric paints that not only look fabulous, but are also washable - and we didn't even need to set them with heat!

We managed to stamp lots of muslin and cotton bags during this session, and cant wait to show you what we will be using them for later in the week.

 

In this tutorial we experimented making our own diy fabric paints from acrylic paint by adding a couple of household ingredients, and came out with fabric paints that not only look fabulous, but are also washable - and we didn't even need to set them with heat!

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53 Comments

  • Reply Naomie Moore, Castaic, CA

    Clever! Great share and the little bags you all stamped are just darling. Thank you!

    March 9, 2017 at 4:47 pm
  • Reply Linda at Mixed Kreations

    How pretty! I love the leaf print! Would make cute dish towels, and that’s great that it didn’t wash out.
    Linda at Mixed Kreations recently posted…How to Make a Saint Patrick Day Luck SignMy Profile

    March 7, 2017 at 9:21 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks Linda, dish towels would be great, and I’m keeping an eye open for cheap napkins or cushion covers 🙂

      March 8, 2017 at 2:04 pm
  • Reply Michelle

    Sorry I got so carried away that I forgot to say how lovely the stamps look and I can’t wait to see what you’ve got up your sleeve 😉

    March 7, 2017 at 4:08 pm
  • Reply Michelle

    No ways Sarah, I’ve been trying to figure this out for such a long time. So vinegar is the secret ingredient. Oh the possibilities, thank you soooooo very much.

    March 7, 2017 at 4:06 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      One visitor thought that the acrylic paint would probably work without the vinegar but I haven’t tried it yet to see. Either way it saves money buying the medium 🙂

      March 8, 2017 at 2:00 pm
  • Reply Lynne B

    The chemistry does not add up…. white vinegar (weak acid) should not have had any affect on acrylic paints, and especially on getting them to fix to cellulose fibre. A comparison test with just water added to the paint should show pretty much the same result.

    March 5, 2017 at 6:33 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      It never occurred to me to do a comparison test Lynne but I will try just watered down paint next time and see if I see any difference – thanks 🙂

      March 7, 2017 at 8:15 am
      • Reply Leah Shirokoff

        I hope you do, Sarah, to see. When we used food coloring to color Poodles we always used Vinegar.

        March 9, 2017 at 5:05 pm
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