How to Heat Set Fabric Paint


Fabric paint can be used to decorate clothing, crafts and quilts. The myriad of colors that are available encourage artistic creation. Fabric paint is easily washed off of skin and craft tables, making it an ideal product to use in craft projects for children. This characteristic can be negative when it comes time to wash the painted fabric, though. Follow the correct heat setting procedure to eliminate the danger of losing your art in the wash.

Things You'll Need

  • Ironing board
  • Cloth
  • Paper towel
  • Iron
  • Set up an ironing board and cover it with a scrap of cloth. The cloth should be something that can get paint on it.

  • Place your painted fabric on the ironing board, painted side down. Do this after the paint has been allowed time to bond with the fabric and air dry. The paint is ready to be heat set when it feels stiff to the touch.

  • Cover the fabric with a layer of paper towels. The paper towels will provide extra cushioning between the iron and the paint.

  • Turn an iron on to medium heat or "cotton" setting. Lower the temperature for more delicate fabrics so as not to burn the material.

  • Iron over the top of the paper towels making sure that all sections of painted fabric receive between three and five minutes of heat. For more delicate material and lower heat settings, increase the time by two to three minutes.

  • Remove the paper towel and turn the fabric over. Let the fabric sit, paint side up, until completely cool. Wait at least 24 to 48 hours before washing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consult paint package instructions before heat setting.

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