FABRIC PAINTING TECHNIQUES 


It is possible to apply Matisse Colours to the vast majority of fabrics without the addition of any mediums. If the image is to be applied to a garment, a T-shirt, for example, Derivan Fabric Fixative will allow Derivan Acrylics to stand up to laundry detergents, regular machine washing and the constant rigours that a garment may be subjected to during its life.

Using Derivan Acrylics mixed in equal parts with the Derivan Fabric Fixative has the perfect consistency for fabric painting.

When painting fabric, do not build up a 3-dimensional surface but rather let the paint penetrate the fabric and flow out flat. If the paint is built up thickly, it may tend to crack and peel.

Heat-fix the fabric as per instructions below.

shirt with circular pattern on it being worn

AIRBRUSHING ON FABRIC

It is possible to airbrush on fabric using the Derivan Fabric Fixative mixed with Derivan Acrylics . Use up to 2 parts Fabric Fixative to one part Derivan Acrylics to give a very thin consistency which will flow easily through an airbrush. (See Airbrushing with Matisse Acrylics.) Heat fix the fabric as per instructions below.

SCREEN PRINTING ON FABRIC


Derivan Screen Inks can be used with brilliant effect on most fabrics to give a permanent finish

Heat-fix the print as per instructions below.


SILKSCREEN SYSTEM 

It is important to make sure the silkscreen block out or stencil system that is to be used is compatible with water-based products (some are completely resistant to many solvents but water will destroy them).

Mesh size

Generally speaking, the best mesh size for fabric printing is 10T to 25T (monofilament). A coarser mesh screen is required for fabric than for paper, as more ink is required because fabric tends to be more absorbent.


CHOICE OF FABRICS

Best results are obtained from absorbent fabrics; avoid waterproof fabrics as they tend to inhibit penetration of the paints which will affect their washability. Wool, in general, should be avoided unless thoroughly cleaned as the wool grease (lanolin) can repel the water-based colours.

Fabrics containing starch, size, fillers, softeners or creaseproof treatments should be washed prior to printing/painting. Fabrics containing waterproofing treatments may not accept the paints and may result in mottling, poor colour adhesion or patchy printing and may not remain wash-proof.

silkscreen in use
using a silkscreen to put a red flower onto a t-shirt                      

HEAT FIXING IMAGES


It is necessary to heat-fix the image if it is to be wash proof. Heat fixing can take many forms; the main points to be observed are:

  • The image has been air dried before it is heat fixed.

  • When heat fixing, the heat is applied evenly over the image.

  • The heat is applied continuously for the required time over the image.

  • Be sure not to scorch or burn the image or garment.

  • Any type of heat can be used. Heat tunnels, ovens and even the humble household iron can all be used. If using contact heat (for instance an iron), use a tea towel or another piece of cotton cloth over the image to iron on. Do not use the iron in direct contact with the image.

HEAT FIX TIMES & TEMPERATURES

Heat fixing times and temperatures vary. However, a guide is as follows: Cotton, calico, linen, rayon - 4-5mins at 140°C -180°C

Synthetics, nylon, polyester, tetron, acrylic - 5-8mins at 115°C -130°C Important projects warrant a test. Tests should always be done on the fabric to determine the temperature and time required to make the image fast but without scorching the particular fabric. Test by heat fixing a test strip and washing in a heavy-duty cycle.

an iron on top of a shirt that has been painted on
using a spouncer to stamp acrylics onto fabric
Stamping on fabric example
tie dye example
Tie Dye example