How to make Brilliant DIY Fabric Paint at Home

by Sarah - Craft Invaders

In this tutorial we show you how to make fabric paint from acrylic paint by adding household ingredients. The result is a DIY fabric paint that not only looks fabulous, but is also washable. You didn’t even need to set it with heat!

 

How to make fabric paint: In this tutorial we make our own brilliant diy fabric paint from acrylic paint simply by adding a couple of household ingredients.

 

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 suggests that you can turn acrylic paints into homemade 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.

 

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!

 

What is fabric medium?

Fabric medium is a solution you add to acrylic paints to increase their ability to bind to fabric. Also know as textile medium, it gives the acrylic paint a softer more flexible finish, making it easier to paint on to fabric and reducing bleeding. It thins the paint without diluting the colour, and encourages the paint to adhere to the fabric, particularly once it has been heat set.

How do you make fabric medium?

A couple of artist sites suggest adding glycerine to 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 ‘DIY fabric medium’ recipe.

 

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!

 

How To Make Fabric Paint.

Ingredients needed to make homemade fabric paint medium.

  • White Vinegar.
  • Glycerine.
  • Tap Water.

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 our DIY textile medium to thin down our acrylic paints to make fabric paint. We thinned our fabric paint mixture so that is was the consistency of an ink.

Altogether we mixed 3 slightly different shades of green using our fabric paint recipe, and then applied them to a sponge with a brush, to use as an ink pad.

The stamp we used was a pretty Indian wood block stamp (Amazon affiliate link) and we stamped onto small muslin bags and cotton bags (Amazon affiliate link).

 

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!

 

Using our DIY Fabric Paint.

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 below), 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 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!

 

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 fabric medium recipe definitely did its job!

 

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!

 

We managed to stamp lots of muslin and cotton bags during our session.

We used our hand printed bags to make some gorgeous herbal bath soaks. Because this DIY fabric paint is so easy to make and use, it’s perfect for kids to use to make gifts for their teachers.

 

Home made presents are such a lovely thing to give and receive, and are perfect for teacher appreciation gifts, hostess gifts or to pop into home made hampers. They are also a fabulous way to get children involved. These Bath Tea Bags are such fun to make, and can be tailored to suit the recipient.

 

Not only did the kids have lots of fun printing the bags, they also loved combining some gorgeous herbs to make both relaxing and invigorating blends.

There are so many plants that have a positive action on your skin, making them perfect to use in bath products. Our 21 Botanicals that are fabulous for your skin post doesn’t cover every single one, but will certainly give you a good starting point if you’d like to learn a little more.

 

Home made presents are such a lovely thing to give and receive, and are perfect for teacher appreciation gifts, hostess gifts or to pop into home made hampers. They are also a fabulous way to get children involved. These Bath Tea Bags are such fun to make, and can be tailored to suit the recipient.

 

More Fabric Printing Inspiration

We recently used our DIY fabric paint to make batik art on an old pillowcase using a glue stick to provide the resist.

This project only works with fabric paint that is washable without needing to be heated due to using glue on the fabric, so our homemade fabric paint is perfect.

You can see in the photo below how pretty the results were. Visit How to Make Batik Art Using a Glue Stick for the full tutorial.

 

In this easy tutorial, I show you how to make a gorgeous piece of batik art using a glue stick and home-made fabric paint.

 

If our homemade fabric paint has inspired you to try more fabric printing at home you might also be interested in our review of the Screen Sensation home screen printing system.

And for those of you who love natural crafts, our Making Dye from Lichen and Eco Printing posts are both brilliant activities to try at home.

 

How to make fabric paint: In this tutorial we make our own brilliant diy fabric paint from acrylic paint simply by adding a couple of household ingredients.

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103 comments

Ryan August 12, 2019 - 11:03 am

This is a great idea! Please may I ask what is the ratio of diy fabric medium to acrylic paint e.g 1:5 etc.

Reply
Sarah - Craft Invaders August 12, 2019 - 2:24 pm

Hi Ryan. I’ve never actually measured it as I go by the consistency of the mixture aiming for an ink consistency so the dye doesn’t just sit on top of the fabric. I’d guess that 1:5 would be a good starting point and you can always add more if you need too. Hope that helps 🙂

Reply
Ryan August 16, 2019 - 3:27 am

I used this fabric medium on paint for my shoes and I’m proud to say it worked perfectly! It kept the flyknit material soft and flexible and My friends think it looks fire.

Reply
Sarah - Craft Invaders September 4, 2019 - 8:20 am

That’s brilliant Ryan, thank you so much for taking the time to let me know 🙂

Reply
Bea Nel July 28, 2019 - 9:17 am

Awesome

Reply
Sarah - Craft Invaders September 4, 2019 - 8:23 am

Thanks Bea 🙂

Reply
Sage June 30, 2019 - 2:26 am

what a stellar job you do nurturing creativity! your responses are so encouraging. My question: i’m planning on painting onto curtains and don’t plan to wash them afterwards. Do u think this is likely to encourage holes – ie would the combo recipe be acidic, etching into the fabric in time?

Reply
Sarah - Craft Invaders June 30, 2019 - 10:46 am

Thank you for your kind comment Sage, and such an interesting question. I am planning to print curtains myself using this method at some point and it has never occurred to me that the vinegar could damage the fabric. My gut feeling is that it wont. I think vinegar is too weak an acid to damage a fabric such as cotton, particularly since you are diluting it further by mixing it with the other ingredients. In short, I cant make any promises but I plan to try it on relatively inexpensive plain fabric myself although I wouldn’t be painting it onto cherished antique fabrics! Hope that helps!

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