Help my awesomely painty jeans stay that way
March 21, 2010 6:24 PM   Subscribe

How can I set tempera paint stains on my jeans?

I have paint stains on my jeans than look awesome. Unfortunately, it's washable tempera paint. Is there anything I can do to prevent the paint from washing out?

The stains have been there for about a year, after I set the jeans aside for fear of washing them and forgot about them. I imagine by now they're not likely to get completely clean even if that were what I wanted. Any suggestions to maximize the amount of paint that stays on them?
posted by cloudburst to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, drying on high is supposed to set stains, so maybe give that a try. Though it could make a mess in the dryer.
posted by defreckled at 6:31 PM on March 21, 2010

Try using an iron. Put a rag between the iron and your jeans, and apply medium heat with no steam.
posted by runningwithscissors at 6:51 PM on March 21, 2010

I've mixed fabric medium with acrylics for fabric stenciling before. That said, I'm not sure tempera would work with it. Would painting over the stains with acrylic + fabric medium be doable?
posted by quadrilaterals at 6:54 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

match the stains in color with flow formula acrylics. The tempera won't stay. Tube acrylic and media will leave the fabric stiff.
posted by effluvia at 7:03 PM on March 21, 2010

Paint over them, front and back (or rather, on the inside and outside of the jeans) with a clear colorless fabric paint, such as Neopaque Flowable Extender. Heat-set the fabric extender, after it dries, with a hot iron or a commercial clothes dryer (home dyers don't get hot enough).
posted by Ery at 7:28 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm an elementary school art teacher and spend a great deal of time covered in tempera paint. The key is to love the article of clothing and curse yourself for ever wearing it around art materials. That'll 100% guarantee that the paint will never come out. Works every time, for me at least...
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:47 PM on March 21, 2010 [5 favorites]

Heat-setting (either by using an iron or several trips through a dryer, or both) is key. Here's the thing...tempera being what it is, you will probably not be able to retain the full-strength color over time. It will fade down to the base stain as the carrier is washed-away. This could actually be very attractive, in an "old sign on the side of a building" sort of way.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:38 AM on March 22, 2010

Vinegar helps set dyes, so adding vinegar to your cold wash water should minimize fade over time once you've done a thermal set.
posted by lizbunny at 7:22 AM on March 22, 2010

Why do you want to use tempera? There are so many good fabric paints and mediums.
posted by cosmicsister at 9:48 PM on March 29, 2010

cosmicsister - did you read the question? The question seems to indicate that the jeans are already stained, so its not really a matter of the OP wanting to use tempera... they just already happen to be stained with it.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:32 PM on March 31, 2010

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