Ideas for Adding Color to Your Mixed-Media Fabric Art

Those of us in America are (hopefully) celebrating Labor Day today, and if you’re like me, you’ll be using some of your extra time to explore your creativity through art. Today’s special offer is a 30% discount that can be used on most items at the Cloth Paper Scissors store.

I’m a big fan of all types of fabric art. I’ve experimented with various ways of using scraps for three-dimensional pieces, art journal pages, and more. I also have to actively keep myself from hoarding the bag of clothes I plan to donate, thinking that I’ll use them for fabric. I mean, I can repurpose a pair corduroys somehow, right? But I’m always learning something new, like how to dye fabric so that it’s a custom, or at least unique, color. Here’s what I came across recently in a back issue of Cloth Paper Scissors; read this and get new ideas for your own fabric art projects! ~Cherie

Trendy Ways to Add Color to Fabric from Cloth Paper Scissors (July/August 2011)

As mixed-media artists, we don’t always need to wash our fabric art creations, but it’s important to know which products to use that are washable or are specifically made for fabrics to ensure our success from the start. Of course, experimentation is always fun, too. We hope this information will help you to incorporate more imaginative fabric work into your next piece of art.

Fabric art dyeing ideas |
Color removers and replacers (Love fabric art? PIN this article!)

Color Removers and Replacers
Kandi Corp, deColourant®: Whether your fabrics are hand dyed or commercially printed, deColourant will remove the color just where you want it. Paint or spray the deColourant onto your fabric, let it dry (preferably for 24 hours), and then heat it with an iron to see the color almost magically disappear. The more heat you use, the more color is removed. Want to remove the color and replace it with another one? Use deColourant Plus, a deColourant creme with pigments already added.


Fabric art dyeing ideas |
Silk screen gel and fabric painting medium

Silk-Screen Fabric Medium 
Golden Artist Colors®, Silk-Screen Fabric Gel: You can turn the heavy body, matte, or fluid acrylic paints in your supply cabinet into silk-screen medium that is fabric friendly. This product stays soft and pliable when properly heat-set, and it’s washable. Blend the gel in a 1:1 ratio with your acrylic paint to get the body you need for screen printing.

Fabric Painting Medium
Golden Artist Colors, GAC-900: Mix this heat-setting medium with acrylic color to create a fabric paint that is suitable for brushing, airbrushing, or screen printing. After the fabric paint dries, it can be heat-set with an iron or a hot clothes dryer to obtain a soft hand and increased washability.


Fabric art dyeing ideas |
Fabric markers

Fabric Markers
Tsukineko, Fabrico™: When you need a smaller fabric marker, the dual-tipped Fabrico marker will fit the bill. These markers feature both a brush and a bullet tip, and work on a variety of surfaces. The 36 child-safe colors will give you the flexibility to doodle, add lettering and details, or paint. Heat-setting is recommended.

Tulip®, Big Phat Fabric Marker™: Use this marker just like you would any other marker, but end up with bigger results. These markers are permanent, non-toxic, and washable. They work on all surfaces, but work best on 100% natural fiber fabrics. The large 12mm tip is especially great for stencils. Available in seven colors.


Fabric art dyeing ideas |

Phoenix Brands™, Rit® Liquid and Powder dye: Rit, a non-toxic, user-friendly dye, is now available in 25 liquid colors. Rit dye will not only dye fabric, but it will also dye paper, wood and wicker, plastic, buttons, feathers, and bamboo sticks. These dyes are perfect for all types of mixed-media art projects.


Fabric art dyeing ideas |
Fixative and washable resist

Fixative (above, left)
Jacquard®, Airfix: When heat-setting your painted fabric is not practical, try adding Airfix to your fabric paint to make your painting permanent. This additive works with Jacquard’s Textile Colors, Neopaque, and Dye-Na-Flow paints as well as most other acrylic fabric paints.

Washable Resist (above, right)
DecoArtTM, SoSoft® Color Resist Medium: Apply this resist medium anywhere you do not want color. Use it directly from the bottle for drawing fine lines or use it with a brush. Fabric paint or dye can be added to the fabric once the resist is dry to the touch. To remove the resist, wash on a warm, gentle cycle.


Fabric art dyeing ideas |
Textile paint

Textile Paint
Jacquard, Textile Colors: A true textile paint will leave your fabric as soft as possible. Apply this paint straight from the bottle with a brush, airbrush, squirt bottle, or a stamp. The color is intense, semi-opaque, and mixable. These paints are absolutely colorfast on natural or synthetic fabrics, and can be permanently fixed by ironing on the opposite side of the fabric.


Fabric art dyeing ideas |
Ink pads

Ink Pads
ColorBox®, Crafter’s® Acid-Free Pigment Inkpad: Ideal for fabric, as well as wood and paper, this ink becomes permanent by heat-setting it with an iron. Press the stamp pad directly on your fabric, or use a stencil or a rubber stamp. The 14 available colors wash off most surfaces with cold water.


Fabric art dyeing ideas |
Fabric spray

Fabric Spray
Tulip, Fabric Spray Paint™: If you like the idea of covering a lot of area without a heavy brush-on application, try using fabric spray paint. Use the spray on prewashed fabric (no fabric softener), and make sure to cover your work surface. Spray-painted fabric can be washed inside-out after 72 hours.


Fabric art dyeing ideas |
Dye-based inks

Dye-Based Inks
Tsukineko, All-purpose ink for Fantastix: This quick-drying ink is suitable for all porous surfaces. It is water based and non-toxic, and can be heat-set for permanence on fabric. You can layer colors to achieve a watercolor effect or heat-set between colors to prevent bleeding.


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