How to Thin Out Fabric Paint

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Thinned fabric paint can be used to dye delicate fabrics.
Thinned fabric paint can be used to dye delicate fabrics. (Image: Ciaran Griffin/Lifesize/Getty Images)

When you use fabric paint to dye cotton or wool, you can often prepare the dye based on the package directions. This is because these fabrics will take fabric dye evenly and readily. However, when you are dying more delicate fabrics, such as satin or silk, it is necessary to thin out the fabric dye so that the dye can be applied in multiple layers, preventing the fabrics from becoming streaked or blotchy.

Things You'll Need

  • Stock pot
  • Distilled water
  • Table salt
  • Fabric paint
  • Long-handled spoon

Place a stock pot onto a stove top and fill it with 2 gallons of distilled water. Turn the stove to high and heat the water until it begins to boil. Reduce the heat to medium-high so that it will simmer but will not come to a full boil.

Pour in 1 cup of salt,. then stir the mixture with a spoon. Salt will enable lighter shades of fabric paint to adhere to fabrics more readily than if you were to just use distilled water.

Add in 1 tbsp. of powdered fabric paint or 1/4 cup of liquid fabric paint. Stir well, then observe the dye bath to see if the water is as dark as you would like for your project.

Add in more fabric dye in the same measurements until you reach the depth of color that you want to use on your fabrics. By adding in dye gradually, it allows you to dilute the water as much as you want, preventing your dye bath from becoming too heavy too soon.

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