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. 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 suggests 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.
Ingredients needed to make homemade fabric paint medium.
- White Vinegar.
- 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 this to thin down our acrylic paints (which came from the Pound Shop). We thinned our fabric paint mixture so that is was the consistency of an ink.
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.
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), 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!).
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.
Not only did they 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.
If our homemade fabric paint has inspired you to try more fabric printing at home you might be interested in our review of the Screen Sensation home screen printing system.