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How to Dye Fabric with Acrylic Paint (with or without Medium)

how to dye fabric with acrylic paint

The dyeing of fabric gives you the freedom to design your fabric. It allows you to use your creativity and design clothing on your own using the colors of your choice. So, do you want to try it using acrylic paint? You will easily dye any fabric with suitable materials and by following these instructions closely. Then, how to dye fabric with acrylic paint? Let’s get into it.

How to Dye Clothes with Acrylic Paint

To dye your clothes or any fabric, you will need your acrylic paint and an acrylic medium. The medium’s purpose is to thin down the paint you will put on the fabric.

You also need an iron and a board, a foam brush, or a paintbrush.

Step 1: Thin down the Acrylic Paint

Thinning down acrylic paint is essential because acrylic paint is much thicker than fabric paint. If not thinned down, it could be flaky when it dries.

It’s essential to use an acrylic medium; water or rubbing alcohol can thin down the paint, but it will cause the paint to seep through the fabric.

You can use two kinds of mediums for light-colored and dark-colored fabrics. Use the transparent gloss medium for the light-colored cloth and the opaque gloss or matte medium for the dark-colored ones.

To thin down the acrylic paint, use an equal amount of paint and medium as the basis. From there, you can work out which ratio will work best on your clothing.

Step 2: Test the Paint on the Fabric

The different types of acrylic paints work in different ways. To get the perfect color blend you desire, it is best to test it out on a piece of cloth that is of the same fabric as where you will actually paint.

If the paint seeps into the fabric, add more acrylic paint but if it dries up too quickly, then add more acrylic medium. Add more paint or add more medium until you get the perfect thickness.

Step 3: Paint Away

After, hopefully, not much trial and error to attain that perfect color and thickness, you should be able to paint your clothes. You can use a paintbrush, but a sponge foam will work best for this type of painting.

I will have to warn you. Do not take so much time on this step, or the paint will completely dry out and get flaky,

Step 4: Iron the Clothing to Heat set the Paint

For the last and final step, get your iron and iron board. You want the surface of the paint to be dry at this point. Do not let it completely dry out until it creates flakes before heat set it.

To heat, set the paint on the clothing, place your cloth on the iron board with the paint right side up and place another piece of clothing on it. The piece of clothing will prevent the paint from sticking to the underside of the iron.

Alternatively, turn the clothing upside down and iron on the non-painted side of the fabric. When ironing, continuously move the iron and do not use steam. Ensure to iron over all the painted areas so that the paint will surely stay on the fabric.

If you can’t use an iron, you can also try using a hairdryer. A hairdryer can also help set the paint on the fabric.

Now that you know how to dye clothes with acrylic paint using a medium, I can show you how without using an acrylic medium.

How to Dye Fabric with Acrylic Paint without Medium

how to dye clothes with acrylic paint

Have you ever wondered how to dye fabric with acrylic paint without a medium? Because perhaps you do not have a medium, or you simply do not want to use it. You can use some alternatives to an acrylic medium to thin the paint, but we will focus on the most famous one.

Essentially, dyeing fabric with acrylic paint but no medium is the same as using a medium. Only this time, you are using glycerol to thin down the paint for an easier painting.

Thin down the Acrylic Paint Using Glycerol

Glycerol is a colorless liquid used as a moisture-control reagent in the beauty industry. It is a common ingredient in acrylic paints. It is a perfect substitute for an acrylic medium as it helps the paint remain on the fabric longer. Be careful when handling glycerol because it can be toxic.

By using glycerol to thin down the acrylic paint, you can start by diluting the glycerol in water. The water will stabilize the glycerol, making it mix with the paint better. The ratio of glycerol to water is 1:5.

Once mixed well, add the diluted glycerol to the paint little by little until you get the mixture right.


There are thousands of ways to get creative, and one of them is getting creative with your clothing or a piece of fabric. Not having material should not stop you from painting on any fabric. Hopefully, this article helped you know how to dye fabric with acrylic paint with or without a medium. So, why don’t you go ahead and try it out?

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