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Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Fabric?

Have you ever wanted to know if you could use Acrylic paint on fabric? I’ve answered this question and more with product details too.

I’m no stranger to painting fabric. Heck I paint nearly everything I can get my hands on from laminate to tile and the list goes on…

In the past I’ve painted a few old cushions with chalk paint and wax, and most recently I updated a few outdoor lumbar pillows with fabric spray paint. If you are looking to dye fabric, I’ve also shared my thoughts with a quick project on a lampshade with Rit Dye. Both projects turned out well!

Also don’t leave without checking out our post about Acrylic Painting Techniques with tips and tricks. That is a great informational post especially if you are just starting out with acrylic paints.

Disclosure; this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This does not affect the price you pay. This disclosure statement refers to the rest of the Amazon links in this post.

Acrylic paint in rainbow colors

So the question is;

Can you use acrylic paint on fabric?

Yes, you can use acrylic paint on fabric. However, it is important to note that acrylic paint is not specifically formulated for use on fabric, so it may not be as durable or long-lasting as fabric paint. Also, acrylic paint may stiffen the fabric and cause it to crack or peel over time. Because of this, the key is adding fabric medium to the acrylic paint to give it more flexibility and better adhesion properties.

To use acrylic paint on fabric, you should first wash and dry the fabric to remove any dirt or residue. Then, apply the acrylic paint mixed with fabric medium to the fabric using a brush or sponge, and allow it to dry completely. Once the paint is dry, you can heat-set it by ironing the fabric on a low heat setting for several minutes. This will help to ensure that the paint adheres to the fabric and does not wash out.

fabric paint

What is fabric medium?

Acrylic paint fabric medium is a liquid additive that can be mixed with acrylic paint to make it suitable for use on fabric. The fabric medium helps to make the paint more flexible, durable, and resistant to cracking and peeling when applied to fabric. It also helps the paint to bond better with the fabric fibers, making it less likely to wash out or fade over time.

In a nutshell, it allows the paint to adhere better to materials like fabric and it allows it to be more moveable and bendable (like when wearing clothes).

To use acrylic paint fabric medium, you simply mix it with your acrylic paint according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, you will mix one part fabric medium with two parts acrylic paint. Once the paint and medium are mixed, you can apply it to your fabric using a brush, sponge, or other applicator. After the paint has dried, you should heat-set it with an iron on a low heat setting to ensure that it adheres properly to the fabric.

Where do you buy fabric medium for acrylic paint?

You can order acrylic paint fabric medium online at stores like Amazon and Walmart. You can also find it at any craft store.

One of the best things about fabric medium is it allows you essentially make any color acrylic paint into fabric paint!

Acrylic paint is fairly cheap and comes in so many colors so it’s a great (and cheaper) option than trying to buy actual fabric paint.

Although not required, It’s best to try to use the same brand fabric medium as acrylic paint you are using when painting on fabric with acrylic paint.

For example, if you plan to use a DecoArt acrylic paint, the best option would be use the DecoArt fabric medium.

Below are a few options of Acrylic paint Fabric Mediums:

As far as fabric medium products go, be sure not to confuse them with pouring mediums. I’ve made this mistake before so I know how easy it is to do!

What’s the difference in all these mediums?

Dick Blick says, “An acrylic medium is a substance that is added to paint to change one or more of its properties. In acrylic mediums, these mixtures can be incorporated into the pigment to lengthen its drying time, make it thicker, or change the texture. Mediums are bought in addition to paints.”

Each type of Acrylic Medium serves a different purpose and alters the paint in a different way. There are a number of acrylic mediums that produce different effects like a matte effect, making it more flexible like on fabric, make it thinner and the list goes on.

paint fabric with acrylic paint?

Pouring Medium vs. Fabric Medium- are they interchangeable?

Fabric medium mixes with acrylic paint to both make it adhere properly directly to fabric and make it less prone to cracking and separating from the fabric. This allows it to better withstands washing.

Pouring medium mixes with acrylic paint to allow the paint to flow more smoothly and freely. Pouring mediums act to dilute and bind the paint better to the surface.

So to answer the question above;

Even though both of these acrylic mediums have similar properties and create similar results, they are altered slightly for whatever purpose they are created for. That being said, I would not use them interchangeably.

Can you machine wash fabric with acrylic paint on it?

Yes, you can machine wash fabric with acrylic paint on it, but you should take some precautions to ensure that the paint does not wash out or fade over time.

First, you should wait at least 48 hours after painting before washing the fabric to allow the paint to fully cure. Then, turn the fabric inside out and wash it in cold water on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. Avoid using fabric softeners or bleach, as these can damage the paint.

After washing, hang the fabric to dry or tumble dry it on a low heat setting. Do not use a high heat setting, as this can cause the paint to crack or peel.

If you have used a fabric medium with your acrylic paint, it should be more resistant to washing and fading. However, it is still a good idea to follow these washing instructions to ensure that your painted fabric lasts as long as possible.

Has this answered your question? I sure hope so. If I haven’t, please feel free to drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you!


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  1. John says:

    is it machine safe to wash clothes that have acrylic paint on them

  2. Maria says:

    what would happen if I mixed pouring medium with acrylic paint on fabric?