Best ink for stamping on fabric : 9 FAQ answered on using it

Which is the best paint for stamping on fabric?

fabric painting on clothes

The two best paints for stamping are water-based acrylic fabric paint and screen printing ink.Screen printing inks may be oil based and hence should be treated differently from water-based fabric paints. Oil based inks are richer and more vivid in colour effects.

You can buy regular water-based acrylic paints (not fabric especially) and mix it with a fabric medium to transform it to fabric paint and use it to stamp fabric. If you use ordinary acrylic paint on fabric it kind of dries hard on the fabric if no fabric medium is used. The texture of the fabric is altered, which is why fabric medium is added to soften it.

If you buy fabric paint / screen printing ink you can use it directly off the bottle without any medium. Some brands may require you to dilute the fabric paint in the medium. You will have to read the label for details. Some brands of paints just need you to add water to dilute the paint.

How to use the paint/ink to stamp?

You should prewash the fabric properly removing sizing, detergent residue or fabric softner residue thoroughly from the fibers. Dry thoroughly and iron the wrinkles out. Keep the fabric to be stamped on a firm (not hard) flat  surface. Keep the surface protected from seeping paint with paper or plastic sheet. A felt piece under the area to be stamped will keep the area flexible but flat and firm.

Use a sponge roller to coat the stamp with the paint/ink. You can check out the posts on Block printing DIY & DIY Fabric printing stamps for more details on the process.

How to print lighter colors properly on dark fabrics, so that they stand out?

There are two types of colours – translucent colours and opaque colours. Translucent colours are good for light coloured fabrics. Select a paint which is opaque for printing on light as well dark coloured fabrics. It will be mentioned in the label of the paint.

How to lighten colours ?

You should be adding white (opaque)  to solid colors to get pastel shades of those colours. You can also add fabric medium / extender base to the colours to lighten colours.

How long does it take for the paint/ink to dry?

The stamping ink dries very quickly. It dries in a matter of some minutes.Fabric paint also dries very fast.You may find that when you touch the paint it seems dry in one day or less.

But the actual cure of these paints/inks takes longer, sometimes upto a week. So be patient and donot use, wash or iron the fabric which is stamped upto a week, for maximum effectiveness.

You will have to heat set the ink/paint before washing it.

Precautions to take when stamping with the paint/ ink

Do not add too much water to colours –  the colours will spread on the fabric fibers. Use water with an eye dropper or something so that you do not add more than is needed

Clean paint from brushes/stamps after every use. The dry colours will dry on the brush/stamps . Use warm water with soap solution to thoroughly clean your brush.

You may have to wipe the stamps in between uses as thick paint can settle in the grooves of the stamp and obscure the lines. A wash or a sanding with the sand paper will clean linoleum stamps.A light brushing with a sandpaper is all that is needed.

How to ensure that the paint does not fade in the wash?

By heat setting the colour of the ink/paint

Heat setting is necessary with any painted / stamped image on fabric so that the colours will not fade with washing.Wait till the colours are completely dry before heat setting.  There are two ways you can do it. After the ink/pain is dry, press with a moderately hot iron on the reverse side.

Another method is to use an oven. Fold the fabric so that the painted area is facing inside. Keep in a clean tray in the oven at the lowest heat setting for about 5-10 minutes. Donot take out the fabric immediately. Wait till the oven is cool.

Can I use dyes ? How to thicken dyes for stamping

If you are using dyes you may wish for a thicker consistency. You can get the dye thicker by adding a chemical called Sodium Alginate dye thickener. Actually, it is used to thicken food. Just a pinch is needed to thicken your dye mostly. Test it out for the consistency you are looking for.

How to wash your stamped fabric without ruining it?

If you are afraid that the colours are not fully set you can use a product like synthrapol in the wash.It is a kind of detergent that will ensure that the discharged dye from the paint/ink will not settle in other places which are not stamped.

Related posts: Make your own potato stamps 

potato stamps

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