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How To Heat Set Fabric Paint

Heat setting fabric paint is a method used by hobbyists, artists, and crafters to make permanent designs on clothes. It works by locking the colors into the fibers allowing for normal washing. Such would make great projects for transforming clothes into wearable pieces of art. Fabric paints need to be set with paint so that they don’t come off easily, especially after being washed. You need to be very patient to ensure that your work comes out properly and lasts long.

Tips For Heat Setting Fabric Paint

Here are a few tips to help you do it successfully:

  1. Always read all the instructions on the specific fabric paint that you’re going to use and follow them to the letter
  2. Ensure that the project dries up first before you try to heat set it
  • Make sure that the area is well ventilated before starting
  1. Set the fabric paint before you can add glitter or any other embellishment
  2. Set the fabric paint before you can add dimensional paint

Heat Setting Methods

There are four main methods that you can use to heat set fabric paint. All four of them may be used with equally positive results so you can choose one that works best for you. However, in today’s article, we’ll focus on ironing as a way of heat setting fabric paint.

  1. Oven

Heat Set Fabric Paint oven

To heat-set your fabric paint in the oven lay out the piece of fabric on an old newspaper and place it in an oven that’s been preheated to 350°. Leave if for about 15 minutes.

Keep a close eye on your project to make sure that it doesn’t burn.

Once the time is done, carefully remove the project from the oven and allow it some time to cool down.

  1. Clothes drier

Clothes drier

This time you won’t need any newspaper – place the project in a clothes’ drier by itself. Set the drier to the highest heat setting and leave it in there for about one hour.

  • Screen printers’ drier

Screen printers’ drier

Not everyone has easy access to screen printers. However, if you have access to one, heat set your fabric paint in there for about one minute at 350 degrees.

  1. Ironing

This is the most commonly used method for heat setting fabric paint.


The heat setting process is similar to that of ironing a garment except that you’ll need to iron an area for much longer than you would when removing creases. A good rule of thumb is to iron for at least two minutes if not more. For Golden Paints, the recommended ironing time is between 3-5 minutes using a medium heat setting. If you’re ever in doubt, iron for a little longer just to be sure that the paint doesn’t wash out or run.

The setting you use depends on the type of fabric that you’re using in your project. If the fabric is very delicate, set the heat setting to a lower, more suitable temperature; but this means that you have to iron for longer. Run the iron box across the area of interest for a couple of minutes, moving it constantly so that you don’t scorch the fabric.

Cover the design using a clean and dry pressing cloth so that it doesn’t come in direct contact with the iron. Alternatively, you can iron on the “wrong” side of the project. In both cases, make sure that you keep the iron moving to prevent any accidents that may include the transfer of color or burning.

As you iron, don’t use any steam settings. The goal here is to make sure that you only get dry heat for setting the fabric paint. Turn off any steam settings that may come on automatically or better yet, empty the water container.

While you’re ironing, you should be very careful as the fabric can get quite hot to touch. The solution is to iron around quickly so that no one part either gets too hot or cools down too much.

Does the iron get damaged?

If you let the paint dry out completely, there’s no risk of the iron getting ruined. On the other hand, if the paint is still wet there’s a high likelihood that it’ll stick to the iron. Even though this is quite easy to clean off, it’s still better if you prevent it from happening by waiting for the paint to dry out completely.

Wherever possible, you should wait for at least 24hrs for the paint to dry especially if a thick coat was painted.

How soon can I wash my project?

Usually, once the fabric paint has been heated, the garment can be worn without any concern about the paint coming off. After the successful completion of the project, you should wait for about two weeks before you can wash the project.

Allow it to cure for a sufficient period then after that, you can wash it in the washing machine on a gentle cycle. Use slightly warm water and a mild detergent. This applies to when you’re hand washing too.

Different types of fabric paint

There are quite a number of fabric paints that are available in the market. Each is best suited for a different type of project. Understanding these options will make it very easy for you to choose the best type of fabric paint to use to get amazing results. The 5 common types of fabric paint include:

  1. Spray-on fabric paint
  2. Dimensional fabric paint
  • Stenciling fabric paint
  1. Brush-on fabric paint
  2. Bead-style fabric paint

Also Read : Best Combo Heat Press Machine For The Money


Painting on fabrics is a fun way to make your own designs on clothes. Fabric paints need heat setting after they have been painted on a piece of fabric that will need to be washed afterwards. Just be sure to give the project ample time for the paint to set in before heat setting and for the design to cure before washing.

With all the fabric paints and the heat setting methods available, find a combination that works best for your needs. Knowing how to use the paint and the best way to heat set it is very important to the success of your project.

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