Can You Use Acrylic Paint for Block Printing?

Can You Use Acrylic Paint for Block Printing cover image

Block printing involves using a rubber or linoleum stamp to print images or patterns onto fabric. Most people use fabric paint for this process but will acrylic paint work? 

You can use acrylic paint for block printing. It’s the ideal paint type due to its ability to adhere well to fabric. Before using it, you should combine it with a textile medium so that it’s suitable for printing on fabric. 

In this article, I’ll explain what happens when you use acrylic paint for block printing and share with you how to block print with acrylic paint. I will also clue you in on some of the most compatible fabrics that will yield the best results. So, Can You Use Acrylic Paint for Block Printing? Yes, and we will give further details in this article.

What Happens When You Use Acrylic Paint for Block Printing

Acrylic paints are a fraction of the price of block printing ink and offer a selection of bright and vibrant colors, making them an attractive option for block printing. 

Block printing can take some practice in order to get that satisfying end result. However, before you get the result, you must change it to fabric paint to be able to get started.

Acrylic Paint Is Transformed Into Fabric Paint

When you use acrylics to block print, you have to change it into fabric paint by mixing a block printing medium. To create a block printing medium, you should combine equal parts of acrylic paint and a textile medium. 

This mixture transforms acrylic paint to be more suitable for fabrics. It also makes it so that the acrylic paint won’t wash out.

A Stamp Is Carved Into Linoleum or Rubber

To try your hand at block printing, you will need a stamp. Stamps for block printing are usually made of linoleum or rubberOpens in a new tab.. You can buy a stamp from an art shop or create your own design by carving one yourself.

Carving a Block Stamp

There are a few things you need to create a block stamp. The two options to choose from to carve your stamp are linoleum and rubber. For a beginner, rubber is a great first step as it is much easier to cut into than linoleum. 

Tools Needed

  • Rubber or Linoleum
  • Carving tools
  • Pencil
  • Design


  1. To carve your own stamp out of rubber, you first need to draw your own design or print one off. 
  2. Cut out your design and trace over all the dark sections, shading them heavily with a black graphite pencil.
  3. Cut out just enough rubber to fit your design.
  4. Turn your design over, shaded side down, on top of the rubber, and rub over the back of the design with the bottom of your pencil. This will transfer the design onto the rubber.
  5. Remove the printout and clean up the lines on the rubber with a pencil. 
  6. Shade back in the dark parts from your design onto the rubber so you can see which pieces to carve out.
  7. With a carving knife, carve away all the light-colored rubber sections, leaving behind everything you shaded. This needs to be done very carefully to avoid carving out pieces you don’t intend to mistakenly.
  8. Make sure you are carving deep enough. You may have to practice some to get a feel for doing it just the right amount. Remove all the carved shavings to get them out of the way so you can see what you are doing better.

How To Block Print With Acrylic Paint

Block printing with acrylic paint is actually quite simple. Once you have added the textile medium to your acrylic paint and carved out your stamp, you can begin. 

Tools Needed

  • Fabric
  • Iron/ironing board
  • Acrylic paint mixed with textile medium
  • Brayer or paintbrush


  1. To begin, iron out the fabric you intend to use for this project. 
  2. Lay it out flat on a clean surface.
  3. Use a brayer or a paintbrush to spread your paint over your stamp, making sure not to paint the carved-out areas.
  4. Carefully place your rubber stamp where you want it to be on the fabric. Press it down and apply slight pressure all over the back of the stamp. Slowly lift the stamp from the fabric.
  5. Repeat in more areas on the fabric and with any colors you choose. 
  6. When you’re happy with the result, let it dry completely for at least a day.
  7. Now that it’s dry, go over the top of it with an iron to heat set it.
  8. Once it’s cooled, it is ready to go through the wash and will then be ready to use.

Keep in mind that the first few times you try this, it can be trial and error, so do not fret if your prints are coming out blotchyOpens in a new tab., as there is also a way around this.

Which Fabrics Are Most Compatible?

Once you create the fabric paint, you can begin stamping with your printing block onto a variety of different fabrics. Different fabrics can yield different results, with some that are coe suitable for acrylic paint printing than other fabrics. 

Fabrics to look for should have the following characteristics:

  • Soft
  • Solid color
  • High thread count

Some of the most compatible fabricsOpens in a new tab. to use acrylic paint on for block printing include:

  • Cotton
  • T-shirts
  • Leather
  • Napkins

When using your acrylic fabric paint on a compatible fabric, the results will be a smooth texture and a precise picture.

Some fabrics that are not so compatible include:

  • Silk
  • Jeans
  • Bedsheets

While some fabrics will allow the acrylic paint to adhere, it won’t turn out as well as some other fabrics that are more compatible. Paper is also compatible with block printing with Acrylic paint.

Final Words

Acrylic paints are a great alternative to the higher-priced block printing ink out on the market. They work beautifully on many fabrics, and the color choices are endless. This is a fun way to show your creative side and throw a little personality on some everyday items used around the house. 

The sky’s the limit, as you can create any stamp you please, making it easy to decorate napkins with different holiday themes, customize your throw pillows with your initials, and create fun and personal gifts for friends and family. 

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Ines, a self-taught artist from Caracas now based in the UK, explores diverse forms of art, from unconventional materials to sustainable and responsible use of resources.

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