How to Apply Permanent Acrylic Paint to Fabrics – without cracking!

Hi there! Gabriela from the Single Yet Married Mom blog, and I’m so excited to be guest posting for the Silhouette School Blog (seriously, what A dream).

I have had my Silhouette Cameo since Christmas of this year, and I have to say – I am obsessed. From designing signs and nursery art, using it to address letters in fancy calligraphy, to even applying vinyl on fabric – this thing does it all; and I’ve yet to even really skim the waters with this awesome machine!

I have been dying to get my sewing machine out and doing some fabric appliques, but I haven’t gone out to get any new fabric in a while. What I do have lying around my house however, is a ton of acrylic paint. I really think I have 2 of literally every color that was available in Michael’s! I also have a large amount of freezer paper on hand – so I thought, why not paint onto fabric? I really love the ease of vinyl, but sometimes a little diversity in my closet would be nice.

I decided that my first acrylic paint fabric artwork would be for my best friend’s daughter. Not only does this momma LOVE the White Stripes (and maybe a slight obsession with Jack White), but her favorite song is Jolene. The White Stripes had a vinyl record released with an image of Meg White (at least, it REALLLLY looks like her) and the name “Jolene” in her hair.  I decided that’s what I would do on a baby onesie. EPIC.

Now, before you assume you’ll need fancy Adobe Illustrator to do a nice trace of this image, you are so wrong! Here is a screen shot of a trace from Silhouette Design.

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 11.32.07 PM

Pretty awesome, right!

Now here’s what you’ll need to complete this project:

Acrylic Paint color(s) of your choosing
Textile Medium (helps make the acrylic paint permanent on the onesie, and will give it a smooth make, so it won’t crack after you’ve put it in the dryer and wash multiple times!)
Foam brush
Freezer paper
Baby Onesie (pre-wash if you want, just don’t use any fabric softeners)
Handy dandy black magic Silhouette machine

Make sure you read the instructions on your textile medium when mixing this with your acrylic paint. Mine says 2 parts acrylic to 1 part medium.
Mine also suggest pre-washing your fabric (no softeners!) to make sure all the stretching and shrinking takes place.
This is the one I used (you can use any fabric medium!).

fabric medium

Place your cut out freezer paper stencil onto your fabric (shiny side down), and iron on your freezer paper. This allows the freezer paper to adhere to the clothing so you can be a bit messy with your paint, and it will help prevent bleeding. You can also prevent a lot of bleeding by using a small quantity of paint at a time. Don’t slather it on there. Patience is a virtue here!

After trying this experiment, I will say that when you put your freezer paper onto your mat, place it so the wax from the paper is NOT what is sticking to the mat (you following me here?). When you do this, you’ll have to remember to MIRROR your image, so when you place the wax side on your fabric, you’ll get the correct image. I say this because I found when I tried doing a direct stencil (so no mirroring and the wax side – which is the shiny side) was laying directly on the sticky mat), when I was weeding my image and transferring it to my fabric, sometimes the wax adhered to the mat! This means when you go to iron on the freezer paper, wherever the wax is missing from the paper, that portion will not create a stencil layer with your shirt, causing bleed marks from the paint. Boo!

Using a foam brush, dab your paint onto the fabric until you have reached your desired look. I would wait about 3 hours to make sure the paint has dried onto the fabric, and then you can peel off the freezer paper. Again, slow and steady wins the race.

My fabric medium also suggests ironing over your new image (after you’ve peeled off your freezer paper stencil) for about 20 seconds.

That’s it! You have your awesome new design.
Wear it around proudly 🙂



One thought on “How to Apply Permanent Acrylic Paint to Fabrics – without cracking!

  1. Jessica says:

    Hello, I have a question I have created a few shirts and each one seems to crack, it’s frustrating would you happen to know why?


Leave Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s