How to Make Fabric Medium without Glycerin

Fabric medium is a necessary component of painting on fabric. It helps the paint adhere to the fabric and prevents it from cracking or peeling. 

You can buy fabric medium at most craft stores, but it can be expensive and contain ingredients you may not want to use. Here’s how to make fabric medium without glycerin.

How to Make Fabric Medium without Glycerin

Can You Make Fabric Medium without Glycerin?

Glycerin is a clear, viscous liquid that is often used as a fabric medium. It helps to keep colors bright and prevents dyes from running or bleeding. Glycerin is also used in many other crafting applications, such as soap-making and candle-making.

While glycerin is widely available and fairly inexpensive, some crafters prefer to avoid it for various reasons. Fortunately, a few glycerin-free alternatives can be used in their place.

One popular alternative to glycerin is xanthan gum. Xanthan gum is a white powder that is derived from corn sugar. It is often used as a thickening agent in food and cosmetics.

When added to fabric medium, it helps to provide the same color-enhancing benefits as glycerin. Xanthan gum is also non-toxic and biodegradable, making it a more eco-friendly option than glycerin.

Another alternative to glycerin is gelatin. Gelatin is a protein that is derived from collagen. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals.

When added to fabric medium, gelatin helps to achieve vibrant colors and prevents bleeding and fading. Gelatin is also non-toxic and biodegradable, making it another eco-friendly option for those who wish to avoid glycerin.

Viscous Liquid That is Often Used as a Fabric Medium

Why Should You Make Fabric Medium without Glycerin?

Glycerin is a clear, odorless, viscous liquid often used in fabric mediums. It is derived from plant or animal fats and softens and protects fabrics. However, glycerin can also attract dirt and dust, which can eventually discolor the fabric.

In addition, glycerin can cause fabrics to turn yellow over time. For these reasons, many fabric medium recipes do not include glycerin. Fabric medium without glycerin is less likely to attract dirt and dust and will not cause fabrics to yellow over time. As a result, it is a better choice for most fabric medium projects.

7 Tips to Follow on How to Make Fabric Medium without Glycerin 

1. Start with A Basic Acrylic Medium

Look for an acrylic medium that does not contain glycerin in the ingredients list. Acrylic mediums are available as fluids, gels, and pastes and can be used to extend paint volume, create glazes, and increase paint transparency.

Acrylic Mediums Are Available as Fluids

2. Choose an Appropriate Fabric Substrate

Natural fibers like cotton and linen work best when painting on fabric, as they absorb the paint better than synthetic fabrics. Be sure to pre-wash the fabric in hot water with a mild detergent to remove any oils or dirt, which can also interfere with how well your paint adheres.

3. Combine Acrylic Medium and Fluid Acrylic Paint

Mix equal parts of the acrylic medium and fluid paint together in a container before applying it to your fabric. This will help ensure that the colors remain bright and vivid on the fabric and give you greater control over how thick or thin the paint is applied.

4. Use an Appropriate Tool for Applying Paint

Choose a brush, sponge, or another tool best suited to the fabric medium and paint you selected. The type of brush you use will depend on how detailed your painting will be and how thick or thin the fabric medium and paint mixture is.

Best Suited to the Fabric Medium and Paint

5. Test the Medium First

Before applying it to your fabric, test the fabric medium and paint the mixture on scrap fabric. This will give you an idea of how the colors will look once it is applied to the fabric, as well as how long it takes for the paint to dry.

6. Heat Set Your Paint

Once your painting is complete, use a hot iron or steam from an iron to heat set the paint. This will help ensure that your painting won’t wash away or move when you go to use it. Heat setting your fabric medium can also help keep your colors vibrant and prevent fading over time.

7. Clean Your Brushes Thoroughly

Once you are done painting, clean your brushes thoroughly with soap and water to prevent any buildup of fabric medium or paint on your tools. This will help keep them in good condition and prevent them from becoming too stiff or clumpy.

That’s it! You’ve now learned how to make fabric medium without glycerin. With these simple steps, you can create beautiful and vibrant paintings on fabrics that won’t fade over time. So get creative and enjoy the benefits of fabric medium without glycerin!

Clean Your Brushes Thoroughly With Soap

Things You Need to Know Before Making Fabric Medium without Glycerin

If you’re looking for a way to add fabric medium to your painting without glycerin, you should know a few things first. Fabric medium is a liquid that helps to bind the paint to the fabric, making it more durable and giving it a more even appearance. It also helps to prevent the paint from cracking or peeling over time.

Glycerin is often added to fabric medium to help keep the paint from drying out too quickly, but it can also make the paint less flexible and more likely to crack. If you’re using fabric medium without glycerin, be sure to add a bit more water to your mixture so that the paint will have enough time to dry before it cracks.

You should also avoid using too much paint in one area, which can cause cracking. With a little care and attention, you can successfully use fabric medium without glycerin in your paintings.

Benefits of Making Fabric Medium without Glycerin

Fabric medium without glycerin is an excellent choice for those who want to preserve the natural beauty of their fabrics while also creating a durable and vibrant painting.

The non-toxic, biodegradable, and renewable properties of fabric medium without glycerin make it an ideal choice for artists and environmentalists. With its many benefits and easy-to-use formula, anyone can make fabric medium without glycerin to create beautiful art pieces that will last for years to come.

So if you’re looking for a great way to use fabric medium without compromising the environment, try making it yourself with these simple steps and tips!

Some Common Mistakes People Make When Trying to Make Fabric Medium without Glycerin

One of the most common mistakes when making fabric medium without glycerin is using too much water. This can cause the fabric to stretch and become misshapen. In addition, it can make the colors run, making it difficult to achieve the desired effect.

Another mistake is not boiling the water before adding the fabric. This can result in the fabric not absorbing the color properly and making it more difficult to work with. Finally, people often forget to add a fixative to the medium. The colors will eventually fade without a fixative, making all your hard work for naught.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your fabric medium turns out just how you want it to.

What Kind of Fabrics Work Best with Fabric Medium Made without Glycerin?

Various fabrics can be used with fabric medium, but some work better than others. Glycerin is a common ingredient in fabric medium, but it can be expensive and difficult to find. Fortunately, there are several ways to make fabric medium without glycerin. One popular method is to mix equal parts water and white glue.

This mixture can be used with most fabrics, but it works best with natural fibers such as cotton and linen. Another option is to use a mixture of water and acrylic paint. This medium is less likely to bleed into fabrics, so it is ideal for use with light-colored fabrics. However, it can be harder to work with than the glue-based medium.

Ultimately, the best fabric medium for your project will depend on the type of fabric you are using. Experiment with different mediums to find the one that works best for you.

Can I Use Other Types of Liquids in Place of Glycerin to Make Fabric Medium?

Fabric medium is a liquid that is added to acrylic paint to thin it out and make it easier to work with on fabric. Glycerin is the most commonly used type of fabric medium, but you can also use other liquids in its place. One option is distilled water, which will thin out the paint without changing the color or opacity.

Another option is rubbing alcohol, which can help the paint to dry faster. You can also use a dilute acrylic medium, although this will change the properties of the paint slightly. Whichever liquid you use, be sure to test it out on a scrap piece of fabric before using it on your project.


Now that you know how to make fabric medium without glycerin, there’s no excuse not to start crafting! Fabric medium is a great way to add vibrant colors and interesting textures to any fabric project.

Just remember to be careful when adding liquids, as too much can cause the paint to bleed into the fabric or stretch it out. Experiment with different mediums and find the one that works best for you! With a little practice, you’ll soon master making fabric medium without glycerin.

Jennifer Branett
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