Sunday, 2 February 2014

Using acrylic paint on prefelt - the results

As I mentioned in an earlier post I have been experimenting with acrylic paint on prefelt. These are the results of my experiments....

This is what the paints looked like on the prefelt after ironing but before felting:

The effect of wetting out the prefelt before painting
Painting on damp felt saw the paint soak through the felt so that more of it ended up on the newspaper behind than on the felt itself. As it dried it also wicked across the felt. This might be useful for blending colours for a background but would be too unpredictable for most forms of painting. The wicking was most obvious with the red paint:

Thick vs thin paint
During felting more fibre migrated through the thin paint than the thick, producing a slightly paler colour in the thinner paints.

This is the sample after wet felting:

The thickest paint is uppermost in each block of 3 stripes, the thinnest paint is the bottom stripe of each block of 3.

Iridescent medium added to the paint
These are the top 3 bars in each column. This worked remarkably well and the sparkly flecks are particularly effective in the thicker blue paint

Addition of textile medium
These are the blue and red bars on the left, it has clearly made a big difference, especially the paint without the iridescent medium added (lower 3 bars in each column). The thinner paints have largely washed away during felting. It looks as though the iridescent medium has a similar protective quality to the textile medium.

Commercial fabric paints
All the commercial fabric paints have rippled during felting, however, the Deka permanent black and Silkcraft metallic silver have a flatter, more flexible finish than the Pebeo commercial paints.

Forgetting to iron fix before felting
As I mentioned in an earlier post, it appears that iron fixing is essential if the piece will get wet, without it the paint washed out during felting (or washing), even when textile medium was added. This was the result of felting without ironing first, the top sample was dry when painted, the bottom sample was damp:
Final thought
Having looked at how the fibres have migrated through the paint during felting I think this technique is best reserved for use after fulling / milling, although the rippling in the commercial fabric paints is rather appealing.

Have you used acrylic paint on felt or fabrics? Please feel free to post a link to your work in the comments section.


  1. Very interesting experiments Teri - I hadn't even thought about felting/fulling after applying paint. There is definitely so much to explore with felt and paints - have these experiments given you any ideas for future projects?
    I've occasionally dabbled with handmade felt and acrylic paint on top of fulled felt, but the best picture I've done (joint project with my husband) used commercial felt.

  2. Thanks Lyn, I love the yacht, the combination of paints and fabrics is very effective. I didn't think of using a hairdryer, it dried just fine but did take several hours before it stopped being tacky. I initially started these experiments with the Jackson Pollock challenge in mind but think this has great potential for more delicate painting / surface decoration techniques too.

  3. I'm glad you're posting your results as they are quite interesting. I have used a bit of paint on felt but not much and nothing to really show for it. I like the texture though of the thickened paint after felting. I think I'll let the ideas simmer and see what comes of it :)