How to Heat Set Acrylic Paint

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Things You'll Need

  • Pressing cloth

  • Iron

You can use an iron to heat set acrylic paint.

Acrylic paint is a very useful artistic tool. The medium dries quickly and is quite permanent. Acrylic paint is much easier to work with than the less forgiving oil paints. For apparel applications, acrylic paint is the recommended choice for embellishing, stenciling and other decorative effects. For the best results, heat setting is often necessary to ensure that the design will withstand numerous washing and drying sessions. Luckily, heat setting acrylic paint is simple.


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Step 1

Allow your acrylic paint design to dry completely.

Step 2

Place a lightweight pressing cloth over the top of the acrylic paint design.

Step 3

Adjust your iron to the highest heat setting that is appropriate for your fabric.

Step 4

Run the hot iron over the painted area, pressing each section firmly for about 30 seconds. Keep the iron moving over the pressing cloth to avoid scorching or burning the fabric.

Step 5

Allow the item to cool completely before wearing or washing.


You can also heat set acrylic paint by running a hot dryer cycle for about an hour. For acrylic paint designs that are not on fabric or clothing, a hot hair dryer can help heat set the paint. In most applications besides clothing embellishments, it's unnecessary to heat set acrylic paint.


Keep the pressing cloth completely covering the design at all times to avoid burning or melting your painted design. Avoid touching the hot surface of the iron while heat setting the acrylic paint.