Asked on Mar 16, 2014

Alternative to fabric medium?

Collyn WellesShannonSharon Holmes
+24

Answered

I have a great project in mind (painting upholstery), but will need fabric medium--lots of it. That stuff is super expensive (especially when I'll need to purchase quite a bit of it). Anyone know any less expensive alternatives to using fabric medium?
16 answers
  • Z
    Z
    on Mar 17, 2014

    What type of upholstery painting project do you have in mind? Many, including myself, have used straight up latex over the past decade and others have used the chalk paints. I'm sure neither lasts forever with daily use, I know mine has stretch marks and a tear or two, but the great thing is they can easily be be fixed with a little more paint for no more cost than what you originally paid for the paint.

  • Sam Baty-Wright
    Sam Baty-Wright
    on Mar 18, 2014

    Make your own fabric medium by googling it. The recipe I know is on Pinterest! There are many more on You Tube! Happy painting!!

    • Wil347767
      Wil347767
      on Jan 26, 2015

      I've googled Diy recipe for making fabric/upholstery medium, but some the ingredients seem difficult to find. Do you have a recipe you wouldn't mind sharing? Thanks!!

  • Tracy
    Tracy
    on Sep 8, 2014

    not tried it yet but an artist i watch said you can use a mixture of vegetable glycerin and water, ratio is 1:5 then add your acrylic color

  • Viltcen
    Viltcen
    on Mar 9, 2015

    am searching, too. wonder if this helps https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwxgETI7jvE

  • Tania
    Tania
    on Mar 17, 2015

    I used chalk paint (home made) on our dining room chairs 4 years ago, and we use it all day every say, I have 5 kids, they are still as beautiful and clean up fabulously. I thought about fabric medium until I saw the cost!!!

    • Dorothy
      Dorothy
      on Oct 26, 2015

      @Tania Does it leave the fabric very stiff feeling, and what do you use to make chalk paint, what is your mix ratio? I made some with lime but have not tried it yet. It seems very thick to me. Should it be thin to paint fabric, also a friend said to keep a bottle of water handy so as to not let it dry till finished. Sorry for so many questions, but I'm new to this.

  • Christine
    Christine
    on Jun 26, 2015

    I agree it's expensive. I'm painting my outdoor patio cushions right now, and after one coat I have already gone through 6 bottles of the Martha stewart fabric medium, and now I'm stuck with purchasing at double or tripple that amount to finish the job with the right amount of coats. It's starting to look like I should have bought new cushions instead of trying to refurbish the old ones. On the bright side, they do look great, and the fabric seems to be flexible as promised.

  • Rose Shinn Venci
    Rose Shinn Venci
    on Oct 2, 2015

    1 part glycerin to 5 parts water

    • Stacy
      Stacy
      on Nov 30, 2020

      So you're about 5 yrs too late to help her but you can help me! What does adding lotion to the paint do? And how did your last project turn out?

  • User
    User
    on Dec 16, 2016

    Did you try this method ??
  • Jennifer Cierniak
    Jennifer Cierniak
    on Jan 14, 2017

    I have used ink with alcohol and sprayed the colors on. I do not know if acrylic paints can be thinned with alcohol but may not hurt to try on a scrap. I have some experimenting to do myself as I have several pounds of material I want dyed black. Not the easiest task on Poly/cotton blends.
  • Sheila Robinson Hennessey
    Sheila Robinson Hennessey
    on Mar 11, 2018

    what if there is no glycerin available?

    • on Nov 20, 2020

      you can use other glycerins but personally I cannot gurantee the results but thats what I found online.

  • Perla Bonilla
    Perla Bonilla
    on Jul 10, 2018

    Avoid alcohol with water based paints (acrylic or latex) it breaks down the bond between the paint and mediums (already in the paint and any you add). Try Golden (brand) airbrush medium or glazing medium (gloss or satin) they will thin the paint but keep its integrity. Both of these mediums are milky so they will affect color a little (most mediums will). Start thin, test unseen portions first. You can add a little water but not too much - again it will affect the integrity but will also thin the paint so it will be softer/more pliable. Good luck.
  • Ona
    Ona
    on Jul 24, 2018

    I came across this and I am definitely going to try it - hope it helps some of you ladies....https://craftinvaders.co.uk/washable-home-made-fabric-paint/

  • UNA
    UNA
    on Sep 12, 2018

    10mls white vinegar, 10mls glycerine and 20mls water in a jar and gave it a shake. We then used a small amount of this to thin down the acrylic paints (which came from the Pound Shop).

    -recipe from https://craftinvaders.co.uk/washable-home-made-fabric-paint/


  • Sharon Holmes
    Sharon Holmes
    on Feb 1, 2020

    Have not yet tried it myself but read in a forum for set designers that they use fabric softener. Makes sense, it relaxes the fibers for the paint to saturate more thoroughly. Fabric softner can be made from conditioner so this may also work as well


    • Rebecca Leahy
      Rebecca Leahy
      on Feb 22, 2020

      Hi, I read that fabric softener causes the paint to not set. Can you tell me where you saw this. Thank you

  • Shannon
    Shannon
    on May 16, 2020

    Could fabric conditioner and water help? I used it for Tie dying a t-shirt when I read it could be used as a fabric medium when mixed with acrylic. The colours were vibrant and though it bled a little when I hand washed it, it was still really good and the paint didn't stiffen the material. It was 3 parts water, 1 part acrylic and half part fabric conditioner but you probably won't need to water it down a lot.

  • Collyn Welles
    Collyn Welles
    on Jul 26, 2020

    Hi,

    I’m trying to paint my fabric Roman shades but I’d like to do it with latex paint. All the textile mediums seem to be for acrylic paints. Does anyone know of a medium for latex? A tested DIY recipe would be even better!! I have a ton of chalk paint additive also but I’m not sure if chalk paint works on upholstery fabric. I’ve heard it makes fabrics very stiff and as I’d like my blinds to still be functional after painting them, I’m not sure that’s the best route. Thanks in advance for any suggestions you might have!!

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