Silkscreen Fabric Gel


GOLDEN Silk-Screen Fabric Gel can be blended with the GOLDEN Acrylic Paint lines to produce a silk-screen ink for heat-settable textile applications.


GOLDEN Silk-Screen Fabric Gel is a water-borne system designed to blend with acrylic paints for silk-screen application onto cotton, 50/50 cotton/polyester blend fabrics, and other garments. This product gives paint a soft, pliable feel and when properly heat-set, provides excellent laundering stability. Silk-Screen Fabric Gel also increases working time and retards paint from drying in the screen.

NOTE: GOLDEN Silk-Screen Fabric Gel is not designed for application onto materials not intended to be washed, such as paper, wood and canvas. For these and other fine art applications, use GOLDEN Silk-Screen Medium.


Silk-Screening Directions

GOLDEN Silk-Screen Fabric Gel can be blended with any of the GOLDEN Acrylic Paint Lines to lengthen the working open time1 for silk-screening. It is a pourable blend of a unique acrylic, retarder & water that, unlike retarder alone, will form a film. This increases durability while thinning and retarding the drying time.

Although any addition of GOLDEN Silk-Screen Fabric Gel will increase the open time of a paint, a good starting point is to blend even parts of paint and medium. Higher levels of the medium will increasingly affect the transparency, but also will increase the open time. Lower levels of Silk-Screen Fabric Gel produce mixes with the greatest opacity, but that are more likely to clog in the screen. These mixes may also not have a satisfactory softness of hand.

Altering Opacity of a Mixture

Silk-Screen Fabric Gel is not designed to impart opacity. The opacity of the mixture will be determined by the nature of color being used and the ratio of paint to medium used. Adding GOLDEN Titanium White to a mixture will also increase opacity. Any addition of white will lower a color"s chroma and value. Consult GOLDEN Pigment Identification Chart to determine the opacity ratings for the various colors.

Higher levels of the Silk-Screen Fabric Gel will be increasingly more transparent. If highly transparent colors are desired, try keeping the amount of Silk-screen Fabric Gel or GAC 900 near 50% of the entire blend to ensure a tack-free film. We suggest adding GOLDEN Soft Gel Gloss to the mixture to adjust transparency. Testing mixtures is important as each color varies in opacity. One method for adjusting color is to first create a mix with just Soft Gel. Once the screened film is dry, replace part of the Soft Gel with Silk-Screen Fabric Gel for the actual printing run.

Additionally, transparent colors, including Iridescent and Interference Colors, can be made to appear more opaque when a base coat2 is screened first. For example, GOLDEN Iridescent Gold will appear to have greater opacity over a buff-colored base coat. Refer to screen-printer"s reference material for further suggestions.

Hand-Brushing with Silk-Screen Fabric Gel

GOLDEN Silk-Screen Fabric Gel and GAC 900 can be used to hand-paint fabric as well. Although these mediums were intended for screening applications, it is not limited to it. Follow the blending and heat-setting directions the same as for screening.


Thickness Considerations

Thickness, or "viscosity," can greatly influence how a printing ink performs. Thinner inks have a greater risk of "bleeding" into fabric or other porous substrates, but perform well on tighter mesh screens and dry quickly on fabric and other absorbent surfaces. Thick, pasty mixes have a higher tendency to clog tighter mesh screens, but can offer an increased opacity (due to a thicker film) and are less likely to bleed when screened onto fabrics. These considerations should be addressed before beginning large printing runs.

Choosing a line of GOLDEN Acrylic Paints to use with the Silk-Screen Fabric Gel is dependent on the artist and the thickness they need for a particular job. GOLDEN Heavy Body Acrylics have a buttery viscosity and make thicker screening inks. GOLDEN Fluid Acrylics have the same pigment load as our Heavy Body Paints, but are the consistency of heavy cream, and are quite pourable. Mixtures should remain thin and pourable.

Blending with GAC 900

Viscosity may also be altered by thinning with GAC 900. This product (one of GOLDEN'S Specialty Acrylic Polymer Mediums), is essentially the same formulation as the Silk-Screen Fabric Gel, but has not been thickened quite as much. By adding amounts of GAC 900 to the gel, only the overall thickness will be altered.

Improving Working Time

While Silk-Screen Fabric Gel dramatically retards3 the paint from drying in the screen, it does not eliminate the possibility. As soon as a clog becomes apparent, it should be removed with a damp cloth. If the clog is allowed to dry in the screen, it will be extremely difficult to remove. For multiple clogs that develop, stop printing and thoroughly clean screen with water, using a non-abrasive sponge or cloth to remove the clogs. Pat the screen dry and continue printing.

Work quickly, with minimal time between prints. Have screening inks pre-made in sufficient quantities before beginning screening.

To maximize open time, add 5 - 15% GOLDEN Retarder to the GOLDEN Silk-Screen Fabric Gel/Paint mixture. This will increase the open time without dramatically altering the opacity4. It is beneficial to pre-wet the screen with a water/Retarder mixture (1:1) before screening. Keep a plant mister bottle filled with this mixture at hand, and lightly spray the screen periodically to prevent paint from drying. Avoid excessive misting, as this can cause bleeding5 on the fabric.

Heat-Setting and Laundering

The heat-setting process will release low levels of formaldehyde; therefore it is recommended when heat setting to haveadequate ventilation.

Heat-setting: Fabrics treated with GAC 900/Silk-Screen Fabric Gel-modified paints must be heat set for maximum launderability. The polymer must first air dry to the touch to form the initial bond with the fabric, followed by one of the heat-set methods listed below:

Heat Press according to press manufacturer"s recommendations.

Iron for 3-5 minutes with a medium-hot iron on the reverse side (side opposite of the application). On delicate fabrics where lower heat levels must be used, a longer ironing time will be necessary.

Professional Oven cures for 2-3 minutes at 300F; 4 minutes at 250F.

Clothes Dryer: Commercial: medium-high temperature for 20-40 minutes. Household: high temperature for 40-50 minutes.

Laundering Recommendations: Let paint dry thoroughly (at least 4 days) before washing. Heat setting is recommended. Hand washing will dramatically increase garment life. Set washer to gentle cycle. Always turn garment inside out for laundering. Avoid hot water washing. This will tend to soften the acrylic paint and lead to loosening from the garment. Cold water works best for automatic washing of the painted garment. Drip-drying instead of using the clothes dryer will increase the life of the garment.


  1. Open Time - the length of time that paint is wet enough to remain workable.
  2. Base Coat - the first coat applied to a surface as paint or a prime coat.
  3. Retarder - a component added to a composition to slow down a chemical or physical change.
  4. Opacity - the degree to which a material obscures a substrate or underlying paint layers.
  5. Bleeding - A halo effect around the brushstroke.


The above information is based on research and testing done by Golden Artist Colors, Inc., and is provided as a basis for understanding the potential uses of the products mentioned. Due to the numerous variables in methods, materials and conditions of producing art, Golden Artist Colors, Inc. cannot be sure the product will be right for you. Therefore, we urge product users to test each application to ensure all individual project requirements are met. While we believe the above information is accurate, WE MAKE NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, and we shall in no event be liable for any damages (indirect, consequential, or otherwise) that may occur as a result of a product application.