Dying Fabric With Paint

I have been wanting a new shower curtain in one of my bathrooms for quite sometime.  This particular bathroom is pretty small and doesn’t have a window so it can be quite dark.  For the past few years I just had a plain white shower curtain hanging and it was getting pretty worn and kept shrinking in the wash. a plain white shower curtain in a bathroomI really wanted a change and to add something that would complement the large picture in there while adding some colour to the small space.  flower picture hanging in a bathroomI had found this bolt of muslin for next to nothing last year (literally… it was 90% off!!!) so decided to use some of it to make the new shower curtain.  As much a I love the look of natural muslin (I think it is so pretty looking!), I wanted something with some colour for this particular space.
I have used paint to dye fabric before (see that project here) and really liked the look so knew that was the perfect solution to colour the muslin.bolt of muslin fabricDying fabric with paint is quite easy but if you are trying to achieve a certain colour, as I was, it may take a little trial and error.  I used Country Chic Paint in Cherry Blossom (pink) and an orange colour (that for the life of me, I can’t remember the name of) to mix with the water.  Tip: do not use latex paint for dying… chalk type paints like County Chic or Annie Sloan or a milk paint like Miss Mustard Seed work best.
dying fabric with paintTo dye the fabric, simply add some of the paint to a bucket of room temperature water, add some table salt (to help set the colour) and drop in the fabric.  Make sure to swirl it around to soak up the water and dye and then let it sit for awhile depending on how concentrated you want the colour to be.  Tip: I would strongly suggest doing this project outside so that you don’t have to worry about getting the dye on anything 🙂 trying to match dyed fabric to a pictureAs you can see, my first attempt dried waaaaay too pink.  Like I had said, getting the right colour took a little trial and error because I was looking for a specific shade.  You can see how vibrant the colour was though just using the paint and water… it really did a fantastic job.  drying dyed fabric on a clotheslineAfter a few more mixes, I found a shade of coral that looked great with the picture in the bathroom.  adding a ruffle to a diy shower curtainI had pre-cut my pieces into the sizes I would need before dying them so after I got the desired colour, all I needed to do was sew them all together.  a bright DIY shower curtainThe new shower curtain adds such a wonderful pop of colour to the little bathroom and completely brightens up the space.   a coral coloured DIY shower curtaina diy shower curtain dyed with paintDying fabric with paint is the perfect way to get a colour that you love and an inexpensive and non-traditional way to use paint in your home.  Give it a whirl and if you decide to dye something using paint, please be sure to share it on the Recreated Designs Facebook page so that we can see your wonderful handiwork!


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  1. Thanks for your tutorial /blog post! Joann Fabrics was having a 10 for $10 sale on acrylic paints and I grabbed some. I wanted to experiment with them making my own batiks designs with Elmer glue as a resist. Will definitely let you know how it turns out.

    1. Hi Sheri,
      I have washed it and it held up well. I wouldn’t recommend washing dyed fabric often but it did do fine on the gentle cycle. I would also recommend waiting as long as possible once you do it before washing. It takes paint approximately 3 weeks to cure (on any project) so washing it right away will wash some off it away… I made that mistake once 🙂 Hope that helps!

  2. LOVE the coral!!! I assume “homemade” chalk paint wouldn’t work since it’s made from latex paint?

    Also, I didn’t see a listing of the ratio of paint and salt to water. Will you give me an idea of how much of each to use?

    1. Hi Donna, if your recipe for home made chalk paint includes latex then it wouldn’t work. Latex paint is pigmented differently, usually with black undertones and that is why you are not able to use it for dying 🙁 For the bucket of water I used, I put in about a cup of salt to help set the dye and I am guessing between a cup and two of paint. I kept adding paint until I got a colour I liked and that was why I didn’t have the exact amounts 🙂 If you are looking for a very specific colour, you will need to start with just a little bit of paint and then keep adding until you get the colour you desire. Different brands of paint will also dye differently so it is a bit of a guess as to how much paint you will end up using. It will probably be between a cup and two though. Hope that helps and please let me know if you have any other questions… I am also happy to help 🙂 Hugs, Lisa

  3. Well, because I live in Australia, I am not sure what chalk paints are, but I do use acrylic paint when painting (art). Can anyone advise me please. I would like to try this.

    1. Hi Lorraine, I have not tried dying it with acrylic but you can always test out a bit on a little strip of fabric. Mix a little of the paint, water and table salt and then let the strip of fabric sit in it for awhile. I do now Chalk paint (specifically Annie Sloan) is available in Australia and I think Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint (which works well too) is available there as well. I would love to know if you try it with the acrylic and how it works so please be sure to share if you do 🙂 Have fun!

  4. I really like how well the shower curtain turned out. I was reading your post on Hometalk and came over. I was curious to see how you dried the curtain. Artist acrylic paints do very well for dying too (not the craft paints). I have painted on hanker chiefs for many years and used the acrylics to stain several of them. It works on Tee shirts too though after many washes they do fade a bit.

    1. Oh that is great to know Phillip about the artist paints. I haven’t tried though for dying fabric yet. Thanks so much for dropping by and for sharing that information! Have a great week!

  5. Lisa, this looks so good! I can’t believe you dyed the fabric with paint. I totally need to try this. Thanks for the heads up! Hugs, CoCo

    1. Oh I would love to see what you make if you try it Coco!! I am sure you can come up with something great 🙂 It really was fun… even if it was a little messy… Have a wonderful week!

  6. What a great idea!! Thanks for the tip on what types of paint to use. I would have most definitely tried latex and failed miserably 😉

    1. 🙂 Thanks LZ! (and yep, no latex… it is pigmented differently so does’t work the same). Please share if you ever decide to give it a go! I’d love to see what you create!!

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