Painting Cotton
  • I'm trying to figure a way to add color to specific areas of sateen (cotton fabric) that will be used in a quilt. Sateen has a shiny finish, like satin. I want a product that I can paint on the back side of the fabric that will be permanent, won't bleed or wash out even with repeated washings. I'm looking for a soft hint of color to show on the front. I'm hopeful that by applying to the reverse side of the fabric I'll not only have a subtle touch of color, but will also retain the shine of the sateen which will show off the quilting stitches.

    One other thing you should know...I'm not a painter, so please keep responses simple-stupid!:D

    Thanks in advance...I'm hoping someone out there has used these paints and washed an item repeatedly...and can report back with a huge thumbs up!
  • Hey there!

    You could try using Dye-na-flow. It is our fluid paint (thin, like ink) and you could dilute it up to 25% with water. Painted from the back I think it may create the effect you are looking for--but always test first!!! After the paint dries, heat set with a hot, dry iron (instructions are on the bottle). In my experience all our paints perform very well over time and repeated washings, as long as they are heat set very well.

    Wishing you great success!!!!

  • Thanks for the information, Noelle. I had been thinking that perhaps textile paints would be easier to control (and since I can thin them they might work), but I read up on Dye Na Flow. Is the synthrapol wash just for the first wash after painting? In other words, can you wash the item with regular laundry soaps and toss it in the dryer?

    Secondly, how long does the auto fade pen marking last? I'm assuming that if I use it and then resist over the auto fade lines, there won't be some funky chemical interaction that will set the marks, right? What is the auto resist? Will it wash out?
  • Textile paints are great and easy to use!

    Synthrapol is a strong detergent mainly used as a pre-wash when dyeing fabrics, it really gets sizing and grease off (it is also used for the wash-out). I wouldn't recommend it for washing a painted piece. When properly heat-set, painted fabric will wash with regular detergents in regular cycles and can indeed be tossed in the dryer.

    I haven't really paid attention to how long the auto fade pen lasts. If you don't get it wet of course it will stay for quite a while. Once it gets wet it's gone quite quickly. Experience is the best teacher here. It's purpose in life is to help you draw resist lines, so you shouldn't have to worry about any reaction there.

    I'm not sure what you are refering to when you say "auto resist". Did you see it on our website? I looked in our resist section and didn't find that. Give me a little more info and I'll do my best to help you out.

  • Well now, that was clear as mud..."auto resist" indeed! Sorry, meant to type "water-based resist". Normally I mark the quilting stencil lines on the fabric with a blue fabric pen, something that goes away when you spritz water on it. Maybe I should mark the areas I want to use the paint with the auto fade, use the resist over that mark, then paint away. I'm concerned about registration lines becoming permanent when I didn't intend for them to be.

    Thanks for explaining synthrapol, hope the art store carries it. Now that I think about it, would the textile paint work if I just washed my new fabric with regular laundry detergents before applying the paint? Since I'm working with the sateen, I don't want to do something that might take the shine off the fabric. I had to have the fabric mailed to me, wish I had thought to buy an extra yard just so I could run multiple tests..though when I ordered it I didn't think I'd be painting it! I do have some extra, just not tons. Getting more, aside from the expense, makes another 10 day wait for the mail.
  • No worries:)

    The water based resist will wash out, leaving a white line (or whatever color your fabric is). The permanent water based resists are metallic or black and will hold up to washing and dry cleaning after heat setting. The auto fade pen should work just fine with either one and leave no marks after washing out with water.

    The paints will work great on regularly washed fabric---nothing special required.

    You'll probably have plenty of fabric--extensive tests are not required--just experiment in a little corner to get the hang of it.

    You'll be fine!!

  • Noelle,

    Glad to learn the water based resist washes out. One last question (I think!:o ), will the paint adhere to the fabric if I simply wash it first with regular laundry detergent and then paint? In other words, do I have to use Synthrapol for the first wash? I'm concerned about Synthrapol changing the finish of the sateen.
  • You can always ask as many questions as you need to.:)

    Synthrapol is not needed at all for painting fabrics. Regular washing is a good prep for painting.

  • O.K., I've bought a bunch of products. I have dynaflow in turquoise and in white, thinking to mix the two to achieve a pale blue. I also bought colorless extender, but now I'm confused as to it's purpose. I want just a touch of color. Should I use water to thin the paints or the extender?
  • Hi,
    The white will make a pastel shade the extender is colorless and will extend the color without diluting the paints binding ability. But to be honest on natural fiber water is OK for that purpose as well.
  • Celia and Noelle,

    I just wanted to give you both a big thumbs up for so patiently and quickly answering all my questions! (Feel free to forward this to your boss :D )

    Just in case others drop in and can benefit from what I did...I mixed the white and blue to get to a color I liked, added a bit of colorless extender to make it more transparent...then applied it to wet fabric. I found it gave a soft, watercolor effect which was what I wanted. It's a great shade of robin's egg blue, which is lovely for a baby quilt! I ironed it for three minutes on a dry, cotton setting. Since I was worried about burning the fabric, it was actually 3 one-minute intervals...hope that works. I'm gettting ready to throw it in the wash now, so we'll see how the color lasts!
  • Hello again lv2quilt

    So glad you got results that pleased you! We were happy to help.