How to Paint on Washable Fabric With Acrylic Paint

Painting fabric has a variety of options for creating beautiful clothing or home decor. Instead of investing in special fabric paints, you can use acrylic paints you already own if you modify them. Paint on washable fabric with acrylic paint after adding textile medium to the acrylic paint. This special additive changes acrylic paints so they glide on easily to fabric surfaces and leave the fabrics soft and without the typical stiffness you would expect from painting acrylic paints onto fabric.

Paint on washable fabric with acrylic paint mixed with textile medium.

Things You'll Need

  • Acrylic paint

  • Painter's palette

  • Textile medium

  • Wooden craft stick (for stirring)

  • Washable fabric

  • Waxed paper

  • Paintbrush

Step 1

Choose a color of acrylic paint and pour out one part of this paint color onto the painter's palette. Add an equal part of the textile medium right beside the acrylic paint.

Step 2

Mix the two ingredients well with the wooden craft stick to incorporate them fully. Stop mixing the ingredients when you no longer see the white textile medium because it blends in fully with the acrylic paint. Mix other colors of acrylic paint using the same method.

Step 3

Prepare the fabric by placing a sheet of waxed paper immediately under the top layer of fabric. If you are applying paint to a T-shirt, for example, slide the waxed paper in between the layers of the T-shirt.

Step 4

Dip the paintbrush into the mixed acrylic paint and apply the paint directly to the fabric in whatever design or pattern you desire.

Step 5

Continue adding the modified acrylic paint to the fabric until you finish creating the pattern or design on the fabric.

Step 6

Set aside the painted fabric (with the waxed paper still in place) and allow it to dry for 48 hours. Remove the waxed paper after the drying time elapses.

Step 7

Launder painted washable fabric using standard methods of washing and drying. Follow any specific washing instructions for the specific fabric.


If you are applying the acrylic paint to cotton fabric, consider prewashing the fabric in warm water and drying it in the dryer to remove any fabric sizing chemicals that may be present on the fabric. This step is optional, however.