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Fabric Paint

feismom | Posted in General Discussion on

My husband’s favourite jacket, a heavy caramel coloured denim with a sewn in winter lining, had an unfortunate encounter with some bleach and now is covered in white splotches.  Could I use fabric paint to bring the spots back to something closer to the original colour and if so, what kind of paint or dye product do you suggest?  I’m finding a lot of information on the web but nothing that’s persuading me one way or the other.



  1. fabricholic | | #1

    Maybe you could ask someone at this website what would work best.
    http://dharmatrading.com/Hope you find what you are looking for.Marcy

    1. MaryinColorado | | #2

      I agree, Dharma folks are great.  I would email them with your question.  The paints on a man's jacket may not be the best choice as it sits on the surface.  I am thinking dye of some sort would be best.  They will know what is the best choice on your fabric and for durability and care.  Mary

  2. User avater
    TwilaTee | | #3

    This is probably really bad advice.... but maybe bleach out the entire garment, and re-dye? I think if you try and dye just the bleached spots you'll get over spray and where the garment has not been bleached it will be darker. But the only fabric dying I have done was tie dye in high school... what a mess. I've heard that if you buy the higher quality dyes they give a more uniform color, and that you can dye fabrics with natural dyes like saffron. ummm not very helpful, I know. -Twila

    1. fabricholic | | #4

      Hi Twila Tee,My daughter got a tie dye set and you just squirt on the dyes out of plastic bottles. The colors were so vibrant, not at all like I was used to when I was in high school (the dark ages). Marcy

  3. Gloriasews | | #5

    Bleaching, then dying the whole jacket would be the easiest remedy.  Spot colouring is too risky.  As to an alternative, you could embellish the spots with thread painting designs, rubber stamps, stencils or appliques.  You would have to do the whole jacket this way, though, to make it consistent & look like it was designed that way.  Good luck with whatever method you try!

  4. Teaf5 | | #6

    I agree with other posters that dyeing or spot dyeing is unlikely to work well. You could augment the splotches with more of them so that it looks intentional or use a bleach pen to stylize them into intentional-looking motifs, but if your husband is anything like mine, he'd never wear it again. However, no man ever has enough pockets; could you put decorative or functional pockets in a coordinating fabric over the splotches? Maybe use camo fabric so that it looks as if the splotches are just part of disguise?

    1. Cherrypops | | #7

      I've been reading this discussion with much delight. All good advice.

      Teaf5: I like that you 'think outside the square'. You are so right about men and pockets. This option could work and give her the least amount of headaches.

      well done!

      :) CherryP





      1. feismom | | #8

        Thank you all.  My initial thought was that I could possibly bleach out the entire jacket and re-dye but it has a heavy pile lining, ribbed inner cuffs, etc. - it would be a nightmare to take apart.  The outer shell wasn't colourfast to begin with - it lost a lot of colour on its first washing.  Pockets won't work - you'd have to be a contortionist to fish your keys out from behind the armpit.  There seem to be heat-set paints or dyes that you can play with a bit without setting the colour and I will probably try some.  I expect I will end up with something of a camo effect but that would be better that where we're at now.  What I'm having trouble deciphering from the web materials is which products are actually dyes that penetrate the fibres versus paints that bind to or sit on top of the fibres and alter the hand of the fabric.  So I will contact Dharma Trading and see if they can make a recommendation.  Keep your fingers crossed and I will report back anything illuminating!

        1. Cherrypops | | #9

          Yes you would have to be a contortionist. Did you state the actual positioning "behind armpit" of the spot, I must have missed reading it.

          Thanks for your update.

          1. feismom | | #10

            There are spots all over the jacket.  I figure a camo effect is achievable.  Dharma can't help me much - I'm in Canada.  I've found G&S in Toronto that sells something they call "liquid colour" and they weren't terribly encouraging and I've found a distributor for Tsukineko but might have to buy many more colours than I would need or want.  Does anyone have any experience with either of these products?


          2. Cherrypops | | #11

            Did you see the advertisement in Threads 130 for Grandma's Secret Spot Remover.? Claims to remove all types of stains. I typed Spot remover in the search bar.

            They also have many Dye Products (under Notions)


            I haven't tried any of the products.

            Hope you find someting somewhere which will help you.


          3. Teaf5 | | #12

            I have used simple acrylic craft paints (less than a dollar each at fabric/crafts stores) diluted with a bit of water to "colorize" fabrics. I mix dabs of colors with white or black until it's close to the fabric color, then dilute it and sponge it on.The craft paints makers don't make any claims about its use on fabrics, but since they permanently stained my shirts when I spattered them, I'm convinced that they work!

          4. MaryinColorado | | #15

            For Tsukineiko, try an art supply store, I think you will be able to buy just one bottle. It is ink, which like dye, should penetrate the fabric rather than sit on top like paints.  I wonder if you can dilute the ink and "paint" it onto the coat.  If you let it "cure" long enough,  I would think it will be colorfast as it is so difficult to remove ink stains.  I wouldn't risk washing it with anything else though.  I'd practice with a scrap of like fabric first of course.

             I wonder if a dry cleaners would have any ideas?  Mary

          5. Alexandra | | #16

            The phone lines from Canada go all the way to Dharma, they have an 800 number.  I order from them all the time.  If anyone has not checked out their web site, have a stroll around, there are many interesting things there.  As a timid dyer I have lots of fun dyeing scarves and fabric from them.  Check out their devore silk and rayon scarves.

            in Canuckland too.

          6. feismom | | #17

            The phone worked fine, just the person at the other end told me I'd pay $15 US to ship a $3 container of paint/dye/ink/whatever then told me to look for someone in Canada.  A bit of an odd conversation.  I could make a field trip to G&S or pay the UPS shipping and guess at colours; at least the package wouldn't get held up at customs.  Now that I have a couple of product names, I will also try the local Curry's or Loomis art supply stores.  Finding distributors hasn't been as easy as I expected.

            Unique it will be!  I'm actually looking forward to playing around with this.  And he's wearing it, blotches and all.  Maybe I could use a leaf stencil and a few colours to spread the effect around?

          7. Sancin | | #18

            Try this shop in North Vancouver BC


          8. feismom | | #19

            Thank you - it looks wonderful and I will be in the Vancouver area next week.

          9. NovaSkills | | #21

            Sounds odd, but if you have acrylic paints, you can mix a dab with fabric medium, which makes the paint behave like a dye on fabric. It's easier to get a color match.

            Paint or dye from the center of the spot out, and you needn't go all the way to the edge of the spot or you risk overcoloring the edge. A secret from my days of removing redeye from B&W prints...

            I had bleach spots on my favorite cotton turtleneck, after trying to remove stains. In frustration, I just scrunched it up in a tight wad, dropped it in a bleach and water solution for a bit, then rinsed it out and have a lovely gentle tie-dyed effect that looks more like marbling. I wear it often.

            Good luck!

          10. feismom | | #22

            I like your attitude!  I will investigate fabric medium.  This is all new to me. 

      2. Teaf5 | | #13

        What is that saying..."Desperation is the mother of invention"? My extreme exuberance combined with limited patience have gotten me into all kinds of desperate situations that require unconventional escape routes!I'd prefer to do something right the first time, but over the long run, it seems the disasters and their unconventional "fixes" always add something interesting to the garment that makes me love it. If nothing else, this man's jacket is going to be unique!

        1. Cherrypops | | #14

          Thanks for those words.

          I too prefer to 'get it right the first time' but sometimes it doesn't happen.

          Glad to see I am not the only one who has wonderful 'fix' ideas. No-one knows. I never sew and tell.

          The finshed garments are a little different yes, which does show more creative skill in the long run.

          Keep up your good work.



  5. mimi | | #20

    I just saw something new in the Dick Blick catalogue, http://www.dickblick.com, called tee juice.  It is a fabric paint/stain that looks like giant markers and it does come in brown.  It's made by Jacquard, a trustworthy manufacturer.


    1. feismom | | #23

      Thanks - I've never heard of Dick Blick.  Worth looking up.

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