How can I dye or paint acrylic fur?

Name: chris



Jacquard dye-na-flow fabric colors

Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow Fabric Colors

Dye-Na-Flow is a free-flowing textile paint made to simulate dye. Great on any untreated natural or synthetic fiber.



Dye Polyester with iDye Poly

Jacquard idye

Jacquard iDye

iDye Poly is disperse dye that can be used to dye polyester, nylon, and acrylic. (Note that regular iDye is a direct dye that can be used only on natural fibers such as cotton; it can be mixed with iDye Poly to dye polyester/cotton blends.)


Message: About dying acrylic fur: I am making a coverlet for my bed from faux fur and cannot find a natural, motley looking fur I want. I was thinking of dying something. I've read about your polyester dying, but heat will ruin the fur (melt it). Are there unconventional ways to dye acrylic/polyester fur? I was thinking of wood stains, oil paints thinned with mineral spirits/seed oils, etc. How are they colored by the factory? thanks.

Fake furs are usually colored in the liquid form, before the fibers are extruded. They certainly can be dyed without melting them, but doing so is impractical for many people, because a very large, non-aluminum cooking pot is required. The pot must be large enough to permit the fabric to move freely as you stir it, throughout the dyeing process, and it should be made of either stainless steel or unchipped enamel; aluminum tends to react with dye auxiliaries, and iron will darken colors. Cooking pots that are suitable for use as dyeing pots can be very expensive. A ten gallon stainless steel pot will cost over $100. Since textiles dyes (including such common dyes as Rit) will contaminate surfaces used for cooking food, you should never plan to reuse a dyeing pot for food. This makes the dyeing pot a large investment for any hot-water dyeing.

For more information on dyeing acrylic, please see my page, "Dyeing Acrylic with Basic Dye ". I'd rather not recommend basic dye for use by dye novices in their homes, however, as it is important to carefully use safety precautions with basic dyes. Polyester fleece can be dyed without danger of melting, but it requires extensive boiling with disperse dyes; see "Dyeing Polyester with Disperse Dyes".

I've seen a report that Krylon Acrylic spray paint (the name refers to the contents of the paint, not its usage) can work well on acrylic or modacrylic fake fur. (See the PreFurs site.) Of course, it is essential to apply only a fine spray, not too much at a time, because a heavy application of paint will cause the hairs in the fur to clump together. You can comb through the fur as it dries to help separate the individual hair before it is too late.

As a general rule, fabric paints are nicer than other types of paints, because they are softer. Acrylic paints tend to be scratchy and unpleasant to touch after they dry. One excellent way to apply fabric paint to your fake fur smoothly would be to put the paint into an airbrush. (Take precautions to avoid breathing the mist; even non-toxic paints can gum up your lungs and cause permanent serious damage.) 


Simply Spray
fabric paint

Simply spray soft fabric paint 2.5 oz. bottle: black - limited time 20% off sale! price shown reflects discount.

Simply Spray Soft Fabric Paint

Simply Spray Soft Fabric Paint is perfect to use for a quick and fun way to add color into home decor items, t-shirts, jeans, tote bags, and more! The spray nozzle allows for even coverage so you will not have to worry about messy projects!


If you buy the Jacquard fabric paint Dye-na-Flow, which is a thin fabric paint meant to simulate dye, you can dilute it with 25% water before air-brushing with it. You can also use it to immerse your fabric in, after diluting with the water. It's worth experimenting with diluting the fabric paint with more water than the manufacturer recommends, especially if you will not be laundering the item you dye very frequently. Overdiluted paint may not hold to the fibers as well, but it also will not make them clump together as badly.

Another brand of fabric paint that comes in a convenient spray dispenser is called Simply Spray. A very convenient aspect of the Simply Spray brand is that it does not require any heat setting step. (Dye-na-Flow should have an additive called AirFix mixed in before use, if it is not to be heat-set after it dries. You can order Airfix from Jerry's Artarama image-1910599-10631620, one of the few mail-order sources for AirFix.)

An alternative approach would be to use a different material. Nylon is a synthetic fiber that is easily dyeable, using readily available acid dyes, if the fabric is free of surface finishes that will repel the dye. Antron fleece is made of nylon; it's sometimes called "muppet fleece". There is a wide range of acid dye colors available, and, although it is best to dye nylon at temperatures up to 185°F, it does not have to be boiled, and it is possible to dye it at somewhat lower temperatures. An easy way to keep your nylon hot while you are dyeing it, without investing in a stainless steel dyeing pot, is to buy a cheap styrofoam cooler and devote it to dyeing use. Heat the water for your dyebath on the stove, in a regular cooking pot, and add it to the cooler, along with the dye which you have dissolved already in a little water, making sure not to exceed 185°F; also add any other auxiliary chemicals required by the dye that you purchase, such as vinegar. Stir the fabric in the hot dyebath to prevent uneven coloring, allowing at least half an hour or an hour for the dye to bond to the fiber.

A fur-like fabric that is easy to dye, which is very popular for hand-made teddy bears, is mohair, a natural fiber fabric. This is lovely stuff, but it might be too expensive in the quantities which you will need. Mohair, like nylon, can be dyed by heating it with acid dye. It is unlikely to have any surface treatments that will interfere with dyeing.

I would be interested to know what you choose to do, and how it works out for you.

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Posted: Tuesday - January 27, 2009 at 08:38 AM          

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