How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Fabric

    by Mason Howard

    About the Author

    Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.


    The craft of fabric painting turns ordinary items into works of art. Pillows, backpacks, curtains, jeans and T-shirts are all possibilities for painting. Artists who paint on fabric typically use textile paint, acrylic paint or acrylic paint mixed with textile medium. If using acrylic paint, ensure that the colors stay bright and the paint doesn't peel by applying a sealing finish over the painted areas.

    Things You'll Need

    • Cardboard
    • Plastic wrap
    • All-in-one sealer, glue and finish for fabric (in bottle)
    • Plastic cup
    • Flat paint brush
    • Round paint brush

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    Lay the painted fabric on a worktable. Place a piece of cardboard covered in plastic wrap under the item to keep the sealer from soaking through the fabric and causing it to stick to the work surface. If the item is two-sided, like a T-shirt, place the piece of cardboard inside the garment.

    Squeeze out a few drops of sealer into a plastic cup.

    Use a flat paint brush to paint a thin coat of sealer directly over the image. Don't worry if it looks a bit cloudy because it will dry clear. Work in crisscrossing strokes to reduce ridges. Carefully, paint just barely over the outline of the image. About 1/8-inch over the outline is sufficient. Use a small, round paint brush to paint over any thin areas, such as flower stems. Allow the sealer to dry.

    Look at the painted image at an angle to observe the finish. If it looks patchy or inconsistent, apply a second coat of sealer.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/ Images