View Full Version : Acrylics on fabric without medium is this possible?

02-15-2011, 12:29 PM

I really want to start painting with acrylic painting on fabric to create decorative art that's wash-proof. Doing some research, I found out about Golden GAC 900, which is not sold here. I had to import it, so, as my mail system sucks, it's probably take a month to arrive. Is there a way to paint on fabric without that and still make it washproof? Maybe diluting painting a lot with water, so it'll stain the fabric instead of sticking on it?

Thank you,


02-15-2011, 02:41 PM
I have painted directly on fabric with acrylic paints. The only thing I found was that the fabric gets stiff and you have to use more layers of paint to get the colours right.

02-15-2011, 06:15 PM
I have painted directly on fabric with acrylic paints. The only thing I found was that the fabric gets stiff and you have to use more layers of paint to get the colours right.

Thanks, Kitaye. Luckily, I've found a similar product here (though I cannot use it on synthetic fabric). I have noticed, however, that when I sketch with graphite and try to erase it, not only nothing gets erased, but the remains of the eraser get stuck into the fabric? How to fix this? I tried priming the fabric with acrylic paint first, but I'd like to hear if you (or any other people around) have any other ideas.

02-16-2011, 02:06 PM
Can't help you there. I drew my pattern on paper first then traced it with iron on transfer pencil and ironed it onto the fabric. I just made sure to cover the lines with my paint.

02-17-2011, 12:12 PM
Why not sketch with dressmaker's chalk?

02-18-2011, 06:18 PM
When I've painted on fabric with acrylics, I've always used a medium, but I also know that when I've accidentally gotten some on my clothes, it doesn't come out after quite a few washings. I guess it depends on how much washing you are going to do and how much you mind it fading. I painted a baby quilt for my grandson a couple of years ago, it was for using, but they mostly just hung it on the wall.

Night Dancer
03-09-2011, 04:14 PM
I have painted T-shirts and my daughter has hand painted jeans with great detail. I always use artist acrylic paint with 1/2 Textile medium. The jeans were painted with the mix too. I usually just use chalk, but it is hard to sketch in any detail. I have used light lead, but that does mix with the paint
to a degree. I usually have to paint several layers to get the paint to have a
solid look. Paint does not want to adhere to cotton T-shirts. With jeans you have to use a short stiff brush and rub the paint in. I have just painted on
the shirts without no sketching too. You can see some of mind and my daughter's work on my threads.

08-18-2011, 12:34 PM
Ive used jo sonja (sp) fabric medium before with a lot of success. its with the "craft" acrylics and costs like 2 bucks. *disclaimer- i have only used it on semi-rough surfaces like canvas bags, shoes etc.

but i have also had some good luck with heavy body acrylics on fabric
ETA the jo sonja medium is at hobby lobby and micheals

Alessandra Kelley
08-22-2011, 05:48 PM
Graphite pencil is erased from paper by the action of the rubber picking up the graphite and slightly abrading the paper. As you've discovered, this doesn't work on fabric. claire c.'s suggestion of dressmaker's chalk is a good one. I would recommend either doing all of your sketching on paper, then transferring it to the fabric, or painting freehand. Priming first is okay, but you still have the problem that graphite migrates (this is true for any acrylic painting).

08-25-2011, 09:52 PM
I'm not sure where you live, but you should check out this online store: ArtisticArtifacts .com They have a lot of great items that you can use to embellish on fabric, including Stewart Gill paints, oil-based paint sticks, dyes, and ink. The paints can be mixed with a medium or shaving cream. The inks can be mixed with gel or shaving cream. After letting the fabric dry for about 24 hours, heat set the paint with an iron to make it washproof. Unlike cheaper acrylics, these paints do not stiffen the fabric, but keep it soft. :thumbsup:

Alessandra Kelley
08-25-2011, 10:38 PM
? Shaving cream is soap. How can anything mixed with it be permanent on fabric? Surely it would saponify and be more at risk of washing out.

I would also hesitate before painting on clothing/fabric with anything oil-based, as the oil deteriorates fabric fibers over time (this is why canvas is primed with something impervious to oil like rabbitskin glue or acrylic gesso before painting).

09-27-2011, 10:39 AM
I use white chalkboard chalk to rough sketch and sometimes prisma pencils. If you cover your ironing board with paper towel, then iron the acrylic (after it has dried!) from the back of the fabric, it will heat set the acrylic into the fabric. It will also heat set the prisma pencils, so watch for that. There are fabric mediums available in most craft stores relatively inexpensive. Don't over-do the fabric medium or you'll have a rubbery hand to the fabric. Some people I know paint the fabric medium on the fabric first, then paint with acrylic, some add a few drops to their palate and mix with the acrylic as they go. Either works well. I still heat set even if I use the medium. Painted on lightweight denim shirt and have washed and dried in the dryer countless times, and the paint is still fresh and bright with no cracking.

01-17-2012, 10:15 AM
Go to dahrma trading online, painting on fabric and dying is thier speciality.
the link is dharmatrading.com. everything you can imagine including instructions is available here to work on fabric. Including fabric painting pens. I paint on silk and other fabrics. Tracing a pattern I use a water soluable pen found in sewing stores. It is purple and washes away with water, they are a couple bucks. Hope this helps.

01-27-2012, 03:48 PM
Thank you guys! Your ideas are very interesting. I loved the idea of sketching with chalk, or using a water soluble pen.

11-21-2012, 06:47 PM
My girls for their birthday parties have had t-shirt ones, I found printing off coloring pages worked or drawing with a black sharpie can be seen through a white t-shirt then I put a piece of cardboard at the least the size you want to paint inside the garment so no paint goes through an pin or clip this on with what ever you have on hand, we have an embroidery and screen printing business so I used the temporary spray adhesive to keep it in place. The kids used sharpie right on the t-shirt for outlining then fabric paints for fill. Good luck.

02-24-2014, 12:34 AM
I've used acrylics for painting on jackets, (denim included) and they wear well but I only use them on special occasions and have no need to repaint but I have on certain occasions had to re-do certain colours. Most that I sell are used in similar fashion but they can be brought back for a touch-up if something needs it. Any shirts that were worn and washed regularly were completely faded and I never bothered with doing anything for daily wear nor did I try using a medium to make it washerproof.

02-24-2014, 12:51 AM
This is a thread to a posting that I made last year which shows a work in progress with the finished picture of the vehicle on the back of a jacket. I have done many of these over the years.

Re: What's on your easel? January 2013

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Jan-2013/985241-16_blower_mm,.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Jan-2013/985241-18_tire_treads,_passenger_side_header_mm,_bh,_ro,hg,.jpg...

02-24-2014, 12:53 AM
That isn't the complete post but it gives an idea of what it looks like in mid-project.