The experiment was going well and I did discover that painting on wetted prefelt results in the paint wicking (bleeding) away from where you put it. And I confirmed that if you don't iron the paint before washing, it WILL wash out.
This is the paint while it is still drying:
Once dry and before I messed up, you can clearly see how the red paint has "bled" in the lower sample:
After felting, the bars on the left of each piece are acrylic paint mixed with textile medium and it does appear to have protected them from my stupidity to some extent:
Back to the drawing (painting) board....