Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Fabric? – [Details Guide]

Randy Charles
Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as...Read more

Creativity is one of the attributes of great artists, and with acrylic paints, there are lots of things you can do. You can use the paint on different things with great alluring results, but can you use acrylic paint on fabric? What outcome will it give if you embark on such a painting task?

You can only use acrylic paint on fabric with the help of fabric medium. It is your only chance of getting acrylic paint to stay on any fabric material and Liquitex Professional Effects Medium is the right choice to consider. Without the medium, the acrylic will not seal on the fabric because it will fall off once it gets dry even if it stays initially.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Fabric?

Acrylic paint dries very fast, and due to its nature, it will not stay on any fabric because it will break and fall off once it dries. But with a fabric medium, you can use acrylic paint on fabric and get excellent outcome.

You need to mix the paint with the medium, which will turn it into fabric paint, and then you can apply it to the fabric. It is through this method that acrylic paint can stay permanently on any fabric material. Also, for optimal results, you should seal the process with heat set to ensure that the paint stays perfectly on the fabric.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Fabric

To do that, you can use your pressing iron to heat set the paint on your fabric, but you should not apply the iron directly. It would help if you placed a cloth on the area where you have the paint after you are sure it is dry and then move the iron over the surface to seal the paint.

Take note that your only chance of getting the right result with acrylic paint on fabric is through fabric medium. There are different mediums out there in the market you can choose from and the Liquitex Professional Effects Medium is one of the best. You need to pick the medium that will complement your paint perfectly to produce a softer feel.

The role of the medium is to dilute the paint and makes it softer or lighter. That way, it can stay on the fabric without breaking once it dries off.

Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off Clothes?

Acrylic paint washes off clothes, and the best way to do that is to act fast before it gets dry. Once the paint gets dry on the cloth, it can take lots of effort to get it off, and you might end up damaging the clothing.  So how can you wash the paint off your clothes?

Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off Clothes

Act Quickly

The first step to getting acrylic paint off the clothing is to act swiftly. Once you notice a stain or splash of paint on the clothing you are working on, you should act immediately to get it off. Leaving it to dry is not the right thing to do.

Scrape The Paint Off The Surface

Get a knife or spoon to scrape the paint from the surface of the fabric. The goal is to get as much paint off the fabric surface before it soaks in.

Dab The Surface Using A Paper Towel

You should get a paper towel and ensure it is dry. Dab the surface area of the stained fabric and ensure you repeat the process for a longer period. The towel will absorb some paint. You need to give maximum attention so you do not to rub or push too hard on the surface area—just dab with little force to get the paint off.

Apply Isopropyl Alcohol

You should apply the isopropyl alcohol you purchase from any local or online store on the surface area where you have the paint stain. You should ensure the area is saturated, and then you can leave it for a while.

Apply the alcohol again and gently scrub the surface with any object, preferably your fingernail. Otherwise, you can use any object that will not damage the fabric’s texture.

Wash The Cloth

The last step is to wash the cloth. You should hand wash that particular area with the paint stain and clean it with neat water before you air dry it.

How Do I Make Acrylic Paint Stay On Fabric?

You should add a quality medium with your acrylic paint before applying it on the fabric. It is your only chance of keeping the paint on fabric without falling off once it gets dry.

The medium will make the paint flexible by interlocking between the fabric fibers to make a texture of paint that won’t crack.

How Do I Make Acrylic Paint Stay On Fabric

Also, some certain medium helps retain the depth of pigments that comes with the paint to ensure the fabric keeps its vibrant color even after washing the cloth several times.

Furthermore, you should always wash the cloth gently, especially where you have acrylic paint. Squeezing the area where you have the paint will break the paint and affect the appearance after that.

How To Use Acrylic Paint On Fabric

There are different ways you can use acrylic paint on fabric. First, you need to choose the paint color you prefer and get the right medium from any local or online store. You need to ensure that the medium you are getting will not alter the color of the paint but complement it.

Go ahead to mix the fabric medium with the acrylic paint. You should mix thoroughly because you need it to be lighter and softer to stay on the fabric. After that, you can pick your paintbrush and go ahead with painting on the fabric.

Take note that before you use your acrylic paint on your fabric, you need to prepare the fabric. Most fabric comes with chemical from their production which can affect the effect of acrylic on it. So, you need to pre-wash the fabric and leave it to dry.

Once the fabric is dry, you can go ahead to plan the design you want on it and then carry out the painting task on it.

Tips For Painting With Acrylic Paint On Fabric

There are important things that you need to know as regarding painting acrylic on fabric. Below are tips to carry out the task just like a professional, even in your first trial.

Tips For Painting With Acrylic Paint On Fabric

Pre-wash the fabric

You should wash your fabric before you go ahead to paint the acrylic paint on it. Most of the new fabric comes coated with chemicals, preventing the paint from getting into the fabric for effective results.

Therefore, pre-washing the clothe will break down the chemicals or remove them to ensure the fabric is ready for the painting.

Make use of barrier

Acrylic paint can bleed between layers. So, if you will be working on a t-shirt and you are painting the two sides, you should use a barrier like cardboard. Place cardboard inside the cloth, and it will prevent the paint from bleeding to the second layer.

Test the acrylic paint

You should not join the multitude to think that the way the color in the bottle is how it will be on the fabric. You must test the color. Get clean cardboard and test the color on it so you can get to know the exact result you will get with your fabric.

Paint on the fabric

Once you are sure of the color combination you want to use, you can paint the fabric. You must be very careful when painting to avoid any form of paint splash or stain. Also, once you are through with painting you should properly dispose the acrylic paint leftover. {Internal Linking}

Heat set the painting

For a lasting effect on your fabric, you need to heat set the paint. However, after painting, you should leave the fabric to dry out for a day before heat setting. You can then go ahead to heat set using your pressing iron.

It would help if the iron is set to medium heat as you do not want too much heat on the fabric. It is advisable that you should not press the paint directly. Therefore, you should get a light cloth to cover the painting surface and press the iron on it.

Wash the fabric

The next things to do is to wash the fabric, and you should leave it for five days after heat setting it before you wash the fabric.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How Do I Seal Acrylic Paint On Fabric?

When you are through with the fabric painting, you sure need to heat set it for a long-lasting impact. The best way to seal the acrylic paint is through the use of your pressing iron. You should ensure that the iron is not on steam setting as it can cause more damages than good to the fabric. It would be best if you had it to be in the dry heat setting.

You should turn the fabric and ensure you iron the opposite side where you have the painting. Ironing directly will likely damage the painting. Also, you can place a clean piece of fabric on the top of your painting and then press the iron on it.

The fabric you place on it will prevent direct exposure to the heat and make it safe for your painting. When you are heat setting the paint on fabric, you need to give all attention to the task. You should set the iron setting to medium for effective result.

Should I Heat Set Acrylic Paint On Fabric?

If you want your painting to be permanent on your fabric, then heat set is the right thing to do. Acrylic paint will fade and might even fall off over time, and the best way to seal it for a longer period is to heat set it.

The decision to heat set your acrylic paint on fabric all depends on how long you want to have the paint on the fabric material. if you ever want your acrylic painting on your fabric to last longer, then you need to heat set it.

It is your only chance of prolonging the lifespan of the paint and you can only do that using your iron. You need to set the iron to dry heat settings and then press the painting area. You need to ensure that you press the opposite of the painting so that you don’t damage the painting through direct exposure to heat.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Last On Fabric?

The longevity of the acrylic paint on fabric depends on lots of factors. The paint can last as long as one year or more if you get it done rightly and properly maintain it. Most acrylic paint on fabric that does not go through heat settings does not seal permanently.

For a painting that will last longer, you should ensure you heat set it. Also, you should always wash with your hand and not with a washing machine. You should also choose the right soap for washing, and you should never squeeze the paint area when washing the fabric.


Can you use acrylic paint on fabric? It is a major question most artists ask because they find it hard to get the right way of painting acrylic on fabric. The truth is that acrylic paint will not stay on fabric because of its nature. It dries quickly and will fall off any fabric.

However, the use of fabric medium with acrylic paint will make it stay. The medium will break the paint and ensure that it is lighter and softer to stay on the fabric. Also, to seal the paint for a permanent effect, you need to heat set it.

Randy Charles
Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as a painter earlier in my professional career. There is simply nothing about painting that I didn’t do as a painter. From painting a fridge to a multi-storied building, I left nothing. I retired from my painting job in the mid of 2018 due to back arthritis problems.

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