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What's the Difference Between Watercolor Paints for Paper and Fabric?

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Question: What's the Difference Between Watercolor Paints for Paper and Fabric?
"Can you tell me what the difference is between the watercolor paints used on paper to watercolor paints used on fabric? Pentel make watercolor fabric paints but only produce them in small tubes, so some colors I find I run out of very quickly." -- Harriet O.
Answer:

There is an importance difference if the item you're fabric painting might ever be washed. Watercolor paints for paper remain water soluble, and will wash out even once they've dried. The paint will also come off or smudge if it's dabbed with a damp cloth or gripped with a wet hand. Heat setting them with an iron won't make watercolor paints permanent. Only watercolor paints that include the word "fabric" in their name, that is "watercolor fabric paints", can be made permanent on fabric by heat setting.

The same applies to pastels. For permanent fabric painting, ensure that the pastel sticks you're using are formulated for fabric painting, not paper.

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