Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Calico Fabric?

We use the Calico fabric in our daily lives way more than one might expect. Be it for curtains, furnishings, or for kitchen handi wipes, the calico fabric is a great choice.

As it comes in a wide range of subdued colors, it also serves as an amazing platform for creativity. 

For those of you creative geniuses, using calico cloth as a designing canvas is nothing new. But, a question remains, “can you paint calico fabric acrylics?” Well, yes, thanks to acrylics, you can now give life to your imagination using simple paints on Calico fabric.

In this article, I have covered some tricks to paint your calico fabrics using acrylics. Be it your aprons, curtains, bags, crafting projects, furnishings, clothing or household items. Keep reading to know more!

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Calico Fabric?

Does Acrylic Paint Work On Calico Fabric?

Acrylic paint works perfectly well on any calico fabric. You can use acrylic on calico fabric by mixing the paint with a fabric medium. 

Another way to make the acrylic paint stay in your calico fabric is to heat set it. Now, let’s see which Calico best complements each type of acrylic!

100% Cotton Calico Fabric

Calico, which is 100% cotton, comes fresh off the spindle. These fabrics are usually not colored, bleached, or pre-shrunk. 

Before applying your acrylic paint, it is preferable to moisten this fabric. Moistening the fabric will allow more flexibility with your acrylic paint.

You can start with heavy duty acrylics to achieve a full coverage design on your Calico.

But for a more intricate design, I would recommend using acrylic spray paint. You can use these canvases for your craft projects and fashion designer toiles.

Drill Calico Fabric

The fabric weight of drill calico is more than that of natural calico. The weave is tight. A unique feature of the Drill calico is the fine lines that give texture to your painting.

You can use Acrylic gouaches to create your design on drill calico. The reason I say this is because impasto paintings are popular for Calico bags and pillow covers. 

Fire Retardant Calico Fabric

Fire retardant Calico fabric is often used for small to medium-sized projects. If the width is larger, you may keep it for larger projects.

You can use Acrylic paint to decorate fire retardant calico for various purposes. 

For example, painting home furnishings, crafts and refinishing dressmakers’ mock-ups. Yet, there might be some shrinkage. 

So, it is wise to wet and dry the fabric beforehand. If you want your paintings to keep color intensity, Acrylic fluid paints are a good option. 

Extra-Wide Fire Retardant Calico Fabric

For larger projects, as I’ve already said, you can use fire retardant textiles with a wider width. In that case, you should invest in a high-quality fabric medium.

On your extra fire retardant cloth, acrylics will stay a long time in this manner. Be it your cooking apron or curtains, these fabrics need a good base for acrylics.

You can use acrylic markers to make intricate details or even acrylic spray to paint on them.

How To Dye Calico Fabric With Acrylic Paint?

I will be showing you four easy steps to dye your Calico fabric.

Step 1: Pre-Washing

As Calico fabrics are prone to shrinkage, it is better to wash them before. Pre-washing the fabric would allow a more flexible canvas for acrylic paint.

That way, the chance of paint flakiness also decreases. 

Step 2: Do A Patch Test

As you would do with your hair dye, acrylic paints also need a patch test on your Calico fabric. 

It is preferable to test the color combination on a small piece of clothing first. This will help you to get the desired color blend. 

Add more acrylic paint if the paint bleeds into the cloth; if it dries up too, add more acrylic medium. If necessary, use more medium or paint to achieve the ideal thickness.

Step 3: Use The Right Tool

Although you can use a paintbrush, sponge foam works best for this kind of painting. 

But, I must remind you. Spending too much time on this step could cause the paint to dry out. So, you need to work fast! Then, allow the paint to dry.

Step 4: Seal The Paint 

To seal the paint, you can varnish and hot-press the fabric. Avoid using steam while ironing, as it may melt the paint. To ensure that the paint will remain on the fabric, be sure to iron over every painted area.

What Other paints Can You Use On Calico Fabric?

The best option for your calico fabric are acrylic paints. Any cloth medium, though, can be useful, including Posca markers, fabric inks or fabric crayons, and plaid dimensional paint. 

These paints allow you to create your own masterpiece on a variety of everyday items. 

  • By using POSCA markers, you can get interesting textures on your calico fabric. This is especially helpful because POSCA markers help you to layer pigments easily. 
  • Fabric inks produce vibrant, strong colors despite being lighter and more transparent than other fabric colors. This is because inks create a covalent bond with the cloth fibers.
  • Plaid dimensional paint puffs up when it dries on your fabric, creating textures. This paint is also known to seep into the Calico quite easily. 

Suggested Materials You May Need

To paint calico fabric with acrylics, you should invest in some high-quality fabric mediums and painting sponges. 

But, finding the ideal match might be challenging. Well, do not worry, I got you! Here are some recommendations for products.

#1 Liquitex Professional Effects Medium : (Recommended Fabric Medium)

Some problems with acrylics on calico fabric are fading and water irresistibility. That’s why fabric medium is crucial. 

Acrylic paint would be flexible and adhere to fabric with the help of a good fabric medium. Additionally, it prevents colors diluted with water from bleeding. 

You can treat Liquitex Professional Effects Medium the same way you would acrylic paint. But keep in mind that acrylics may appear to be a lighter color with the medium. 

But this is not the case once the combination has dried. Yet, combining colors first before adding the medium is simpler. 

Remember that the color was not washed off or rendered translucent in any way by this process. I discovered that the cloth and paint remained pliable after the paint on the fabric dried.

Over To You

With acrylic paints, decorating your pillowcases, furniture, apparel, or home goods is now simple. Because now, you can make new designs as well as renovate and edit your older ones. 

In this article, I hope to have offered some advice. Please feel free to comment below with more suggestions!

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