How to Make Fabric Paint Dry Quickly

    by Ruth Eshbaugh

    About the Author

    Ruth Eshbaugh is a freelance graphic designer, writer, artist and photographer who has been writing for eHow, LIVESTRONG.COM and other websites since 2008. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Eshbaugh is a published haiku author.


    Fabric paint allows you to customize your textiles for use in apparel and home decorating projects. Such paints are acrylic, which means fast drying in most cases. If you create a bold image that requires more paint, or if you paint on thick fabric, it may take up to 72 hours for the design to dry. Additionally, some fabric paints must be "set" to ensure that the paint adheres to the fabric permanently and doesn’t crack and peel.

    Things You'll Need

    • Prewashed fabric or clothing item
    • Fabric paint
    • Hair dryer
    • Iron
    • Ironing board
    • Pressing cloth

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    Wash and dry the fabric to remove the sizing before beginning your project. This helps the paint adhere to the fabric.

    Thin your fabric paints with a bit of water or fabric paint medium so that the paint goes on the fabric smoothly. Adding medium or water also lessens the drying time. Note that a thick application of paint takes longer to dry. You can buy fabric paint medium at a fabric or craft store.

    Dry the fabric with a hair dryer, especially persistently wet sections of the painted design. Alternatively, place the fabric in the sun to speed the drying time, but limit prolonged exposure to sunlight, which typically damages textiles and fades color if left unmonitored. You also can place the fabric in front of a clean fan to dry it faster.

    Set the paint once it has been dry for several days. Place a pressing cloth or towel over the painted design. Following the fabric paint manufacturer's suggested heat setting and ironing time, turn off the iron's steam setting and press the design. You also can set fabric paint by placing an item in a clothing dryer and running it for 30 minutes; turn the fabric inside out if it's premade clothing item.

    • Do not wash painted fabric for 72 hours, or until the fabric is set if the type of paint you use requires heat setting.