In this tutorial we experiment with making our own DIY fabric paint from acrylic paint by adding household ingredients. The result is a fabric paint that not only looks fabulous, but is also washable – and we didn’t even need to set it 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 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!
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 didn’t, so I had to delve a little deeper. A couple of artist sites suggested adding glycerine to the acrylic paints, to make them act more like oil paints. Others recommended adding water to make them more like a fabric paint.
We decided to do both and added vinegar to the mix hoping it would encourage the colour to ‘fix’ to the fabric. Vinegar is often used as a mordant in traditional dyeing, which we tried in our Turning Stains into Dyes tutorial. Now we had our ‘paint medium’ recipe.
Our DIY Fabric Paint Recipe.
First 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 our acrylic paints (which came from the Pound Shop). Altogether we mixed 3 slightly different shades of green, and then applied them to a sponge with a brush, to use as an ink pad.
We used an old T-shirt to try out the stamping and it looked fab. Most traditional fabric paints need to be fixed with heat so we decided to test if ours did. Once the paint was dry I ironed 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!).