Can You Dye Fabric With Watercolor Paint? – (Guide)

Last Updated on August 10, 2023

Can You Dye Fabric With Watercolor Paint: Welcome to an exciting and artistic project where you’ll learn how to transform ordinary fabric into a beautifully colored canvas using watercolor paints. The result? A unique piece of fabric ready for slow stitching and crafting.

Can You Dye Fabric With Watercolor Paint
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Here, we’ll walk you through the process step by step, from selecting your supplies to applying the paint and setting the colors.

Can you dye fabric with watercolor paint?

Yes, you can dye fabric with watercolor paint. The pigments spread and blend by applying watercolors to damp fabric, creating unique and artistic patterns. Once the fabric is dry, heat-setting the colors with iron helps make the dye more permanent.

This technique offers a creative way to add color and design to fabric for various crafting and sewing projects.

Dive into the art of dyeing with Acrylic Paint, Turmeric, Tea, Coffee, Black ink, Polyamide, Wine, Sharpie, Food Coloring, Mica Powder, Turmeric, Rose Petals, Indigo Leaves, Onion Skins, Avocado, Flowers, Dylon, Kool-aid, Rit-Dye, Spray Paint, Alcohol Ink and Hair Dye. Intrigued? Explore the captivating articles and unleash your creativity.

Let’s dive in and explore the full process of watercolor fabric dyeing!

ARTISTRO Watercolor Paint

ARTISTRO Watercolor Paint
  • High-Quality Watercolor Paint Set
  • Create On the Go
  • Elegant Design & Giftable Box
  • Non-Toxic
  • Everything Included

Supplies You’ll Need

  • Thin cotton fabric (such as cotton lawn) – white or light-colored
  • Watercolor paints – choose a variety of colors
  • Water brushes or regular brushes
  • Water-filled spray bottle or mister
  • Wax paper or a protective surface
  • Mesh baking rack or flat drying surface
  • Iron for heat-setting the colors

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Prepare Your Workspace

Prepare Your Workspace
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Lay down a protective surface, like wax paper, to prevent paint from spreading to your working surface. This will make cleanup easier and help contain the water and pigments.

2. Wet the Fabric

Wet the Fabric
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Using a water-filled spray bottle or mister, lightly dampen your fabric. This will help the watercolors spread and blend more effectively.

3. Choose Your Colors

Select your desired watercolor palette. Watercolor sets often come with a variety of shades. Start with lighter colors and work towards darker ones to achieve a gradual gradient effect.

4. Apply the Paint

Apply the Paint
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Dip your water brush or regular brush into the watercolor paint, squeezing it to release water and activate the pigments. Apply the paint directly onto the damp fabric. Let the colors blend and mix naturally as the wet fabric absorbs the pigments.

5. Experiment with Mixing

Experiment with Mixing
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Explore color blending by layering different shades and experimenting with complementary colors. You can mix colors directly on the fabric to create captivating hues.

6. Create Texture and Depth

Vary the amount of water and pigment you apply to achieve different effects. The wet-on-wet application will result in more diffuse and blended colors, while a drier brush will produce more defined strokes.

7. Keep Adding Colors

Keep Adding Colors
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Continue adding colors and blending until you’re satisfied with the overall appearance of your fabric. Feel free to let your creativity flow and experiment with different techniques.

8. Dry the Fabric

Allow your painted fabric to air dry or speed up the process with a hairdryer on a gentle setting. Alternatively, place the fabric on a mesh baking rack or other flat drying surface.

9. Heat-Set the Colors

Once your fabric is dry, heat-set the watercolor pigments by ironing the fabric on a medium-high setting. This will help the colors become more permanent and prevent fading. Be sure to protect your ironing surface with a cloth or paper towel.

10. Final Touches

Can You Dye Fabric With Watercolor Paint
Image Source: Jo: peaceofpi studio

Your watercolor-dyed fabric is now ready for slow stitching, crafting, or any creative project you have in mind. The colors may appear lighter once dry, but they will remain beautifully integrated into the fabric.

How to make watercolor permanent for fabric?

To make watercolor permanent for fabric, you can use specialized mediums like DecoArt, FolkArt, or Delta that are mixed with the paint. Apply the mixed paint onto the fabric using a brush. Alternatively, mix the paint with the medium beforehand and then paint it on. This method helps enhance color retention and prevent fading.

While regular watercolor may wash out, using these mediums increases the chances of the paint remaining vibrant and long-lasting on the fabric.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully learned how to dye fabric with watercolor paints, transforming plain fabric into art. Your watercolor-dyed fabric is a versatile and visually captivating material that can be used in various sewing and crafting projects.

Have fun incorporating your painted fabric into your creative endeavors, and remember to experiment and enjoy the process of bringing color and life to your textile projects.

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