Does Fabric Paint Wash Off?

Fabric painting is a fun and creative way to upscale bland upholstery, personalize garments, or start a new textile decoration project. However, many crafters want to know if fabric paint is resistant to fading after washing. So, does fabric paint wash off? 

Fabric paint does not wash off. Most fabric paints are designed to be permanent after application. They’re formulated with acrylic polymer, a compound that blends into the fabric’s fibers and leaves a permanent mark after curing.

This article will explore why fabric paint does not wash off and give you tips to ensure that your painted fabrics remain vibrant. You’ll also learn how to paint jeans, iron fabric paint, and preserve your work. So keep reading before you start your next project.

Does Fabric Paint Wash Off?

Fabric paint comes in many varieties with different instructions on how it should be applied for the best results. With proper application, fabric paint will not wash off easily.

Follow these general steps when using fabric paint:

  1. Pre-wash and iron out your fabric before painting. Doing so will help the color adhere better and last longer over time. Pre-washing also removes any dirt or oils that have built up on the fabric, which can affect how the painted design looks once dry.
  2. Place a barrier on the front and back of the fabric. Paint can seep through the fabric and transfer onto the other side, so don’t forget to place a barrier. This is an essential step for preventing messes while you work.
  3. Apply one color at a time. As you paint, don’t forget to let each color dry thoroughly before moving on to the next. Applying different paints too closely can lead to unsightly color bleeds that ruin the design. 
  4. Allow fabric paint to air-dry for at least 24 hours. This gives the paint enough time to fully dry and adhere properly to the fabric surface. Skipping this step could result in a less durable design that may start fading quickly after just one wash.
  5. Set the paint with heat. Iron the reverse side of your painted fabric on medium heat. You can also cover the painted side with scrap fabric to prevent direct heat application on the paint. Make sure the steam settings are turned off when setting the fabric paint. 
  6. Wait for a few days before washing the newly painted fabrics. Fabric paint needs time to properly cure and set into the fabric for a lasting finish. Washing too early also runs the risk of ruining other items in the wash with splotches of color from your newly painted fabrics.

Tips for Washing Painted Fabrics

Most fabric paints cannot withstand high temperatures during washing, so you should pay attention to your machine’s settings. It’s best to keep the water at cold or lukewarm temperature.

Similarly, using the highest settings in the dryer can also ruin the paint. Stick to low to medium heat settings instead. Alternatively, you can air-dry your painted clothes on a rack or a hanger.

Furthermore, painted fabrics should not be washed with harsh detergents and bleach. These commercial cleaning products can cause your painted items to fade and lose their vibrance. I recommend using mild soaps when washing your painted clothes or upholstery. You can also forgo detergent and do your laundry using household products, such as white vinegar and baking soda.

Lastly, don’t forget to turn the garment inside out before throwing it in the washing machine. You should also use the hand wash or gentle cycle on your washing machine to reduce friction on the painted surface.

Does Fabric Paint Wash Off of Denim?

Fabric paint doesn’t wash off of denim when applied correctly. This means you need to pre-wash and prepare the denim, let the paint dry thoroughly, and heat-set the paint.

When working with denim fabrics, you should use only use high-quality fabric paint. Cheap, low-quality fabric paints contain filler ingredients that don’t adhere well to denim. While these cheap paints may still look decent on canvas and other garments, denim is more unforgiving. Low-quality fabric paint will crack and peel more easily on denim. 

How Can I Permanently Paint My Jeans?

You can permanently paint your jeans using high-quality fabric paint. Wash your jeans and let them dry completely before applying the paint. You can use stencils or hand draw designs with a pencil, then trace over them with the fabric paint.

The following discusses the above steps in more detail:

  1. Prepare your jeans. Wash the jeans to remove any chemicals and starches. Iron out any wrinkles if necessary.
  2. Slightly dampen the surface of the jeans. Spray some water over the area you wish to paint.
  3. Sketch your design. Use a pencil or washable tailor’s chalk for this task.
  4. Mix your paint with the appropriate fabric medium. Make sure to use high-quality paint and fabric medium to avoid cracks and peels later on.
  5. Paint your design. Be generous when applying your paint, as the denim can absorb most of it. 
  6. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly for at least 24 hours. Make sure to place your jeans on a safe and stable surface to avoid smudging.
  7. Set the paint. You can iron the underside of the painting to set the paint permanently on your jeans. This will prevent the artwork from cracking under the sunlight or fading during the wash. 

Do I Have To Iron Fabric Paint?

You have to iron fabric paint. Doing so increases the durability of the paint. When ironing painted fabrics, turn the garment inside out and iron the reverse side. Be careful not to directly iron on the painted surface.

Follow these steps to iron and heat-set fabric paint properly:

  1. Set the iron to a medium setting. For delicate fabrics such as silk or lace, set your iron to a low heat setting.
  2. Turn off the steam settings.
  3. Turn the garment inside out or cover the painted surface with scrap fabric.
  4. Move the iron around the painted fabric constantly so the heat doesn’t linger in one spot for too long.

You can also use a hair dryer for this task. Follow these steps:

  1. Set your hair dryer on low.
  2. Cover the painted surface with scrap fabric.
  3. Hold the painted garment close to the hair dryer for a few minutes.
  4. Move the hair dryer around so the heat is evenly distributed without scorching the paint.

Alternatively, you can use your dryer for heat-setting. To do this, simply put the painted clothes in the dryer for 30 minutes on the highest setting allowed for the fabric type.

Do I Need To Seal Fabric Paint?

You need to seal fabric paint before using or washing the garment. Sealing should be done once the fabric paint has fully dried. Otherwise, the paint might still come off or fade after a few washes.

Most people use fabric medium to turn acrylic paint into fabric paint. An extra layer of clear fabric medium can also act as a sealant for the painted surface. When applied correctly and allowed to dry thoroughly, you should have a vivid and long-lasting painting on your garment!

Final Thoughts

Fabric paint will not wash off if applied correctly. The key to preserving your artwork lies in following the correct steps and techniques for fabric preparation, drying, and sealing. Once dry and sealed, fabric paint is very unlikely to come off, fade, or bleed.

Previous Post

How Often Should You Wash Your Blankets?

Next Post

Can You Clean Silver and Gold With Toothpaste?