How to paint fabric

Fabric painting is fun, creative, and a great way to revamp your old clothes and items.

However, if you haven’t done it before you will want to get a full grasp of how to paint on fabric prior to diving in–especially because, unlike a standard canvas.

painting fabric

It’s not always as simple as just tossing the item to the side and starting over if you make a mistake. This blog will give you the things you need to know in order to be successful.

Fabric painting is a great craft for beginners because it is super easy, totally customizable, and offers room for creativity.

This guide will help you to paint fabric surfaces with satisfactory results and after analyzing you will get the best results out of your work.

Whether you’re decorating fabric for your own clothes or for other projects, it’s a great skill to have in your repertoire.

Here are some tips, tricks, and answers to the commonly asked question, “how do you paint on clothes?”


How to paint fabric?

Choose paint for fabric painting

You can paint on fabric with any acrylic or latex paint. You might want to try different brands to see which works best. You can paint on fabric with any acrylic or latex paint.

You might want to try different brands to see which works best.

It is a good idea to read the instructions first, and then give it a try.  Acrylic is the more economical choice and is the same kind of paint used for many craft projects.

Latex is more expensive, but it might be better for some uses.

Wash the fabric

There are usually two ways to wash the fabric before the painting process.

The first way is to use soap and water (or mild detergent).  And the second step is to clean the fabric with ammonia. 

How to paint fabric

Ammonia is a chemical substance that is used to clean paintbrushes, so it is often found in home improvement stores.

Ammonia is a cleaner and degreaser and is often found in household cleaning products such as glass cleaners and general all-purpose cleaners.

Prepare the fabric

You should use two steps to paint fabric the first step is to seal the fabric with the textile sealer.

The textile sealer is used to seal the fabric and to prevent the paint from bleeding or soaking into the material.

The fabric should be placed on a firm surface and the sealer is applied evenly and quickly with a paint roller. The second step is to primer the surface before painting the fabric with a spray gun.

The primer is used to cover up air pockets and cover the texture. If you fail to cover the texture, then it will be hard to paint fabric with a spray gun.

You should sand the surface before applying primer. After the primer is thoroughly dry, you may use a spray gun to paint the fabric.

Steps to paint fabric

  • First, you need to prepare the workplace. Place the fabric on a thick piece of cardboard. Cover the fabric with a piece of lightweight wood or Formica to fill the gap between the fabric and the cardboard. This will help with the painting movement.
  • Preparing the paint sprayer: choose a paint that is appropriate for the fabric. If you need extra protection, use two-part paint.
  • Turn on the paint sprayer and keep it at a distance of less than one foot from the fabric. Spray the fabric in a circular motion.
  • After you are satisfied with the coverage, let the fabric dry. Some paints will require a second coat, but be careful not to let the paint build up.

What kind of paint do you use on fabric?

Acrylic paint is commonly used on fabric as it is water-based and can be easily washed off with soap and water.

Additionally, acrylic paint is flexible and does not crack or peel when the fabric is stretched or moved.

However, it is recommended to use a fabric medium to mix with the acrylic paint to improve the workability and durability of the fabric.

How do you permanently paint fabric?

To permanently paint fabric, you will need to use fabric paint or fabric dye that is specifically formulated for use on fabrics.

These types of paint or dye are designed to adhere to the fibers of the fabric and become permanent once they have been heat-set.

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Clean and prepare the fabric by washing and ironing it to remove any dirt or wrinkles.
  2. Apply the fabric paint or dye using a brush, roller, or spray. Be sure to use an even coating and cover all areas that you want to be painted.
  3. Allow the paint or dye to dry completely.
  4. Heat-set the paint or dye by ironing it on a high heat setting or by placing it in a dryer on a high heat setting.

It is recommended to test the paint or dye on a small inconspicuous area before starting the project to ensure that the final result will be to your liking.

And also to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best result.

How can I paint fabric at home?

Painting fabric at home can be a fun and easy project with the right materials and techniques. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Clean and prepare the fabric by washing and ironing it to remove any dirt or wrinkles.
  2. Choose the paint you want to use. Acrylic paint is a good choice as it is water-based, easy to clean,, and flexible. You can mix it with fabric medium to improve the workability and durability of the fabric.
  3. Create a work area by covering your work surface with plastic or a disposable tablecloth to protect it from paint.
  4. If you are using a brush, use a stiff-bristled brush to apply the paint to the fabric in light, even strokes. If you prefer, you can use a roller or a spray bottle to apply the paint.
  5. Allow the paint to dry completely. The drying time will vary depending on the type of paint you are using and the humidity of your environment.
  6. Once the paint is dry, heat-set it by ironing it on a high heat setting for about 10-15 minutes. This will help the paint adhere to the fabric fibers and become permanent.
  7. Allow the fabric to cool down before handling it.

It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results

And also it’s recommended to test the paint on a small inconspicuous area before starting the project, this way you can ensure that the final result will be to your liking.

Can I use regular paint on fabric?

Regular paint, also known as house paint, is not recommended for use on fabric as it is not formulated for use on fabrics.

And may not adhere properly or be durable enough for use on clothing or other fabric items.

Regular paint is typically oil-based and not flexible, it will crack and peel when the fabric is stretched or moved.

Additionally, regular paint may not be able to withstand the wear and tear of regular use, and may not be able to withstand frequent washing.

Acrylic paint is a better option for fabric because it is water-based and can be easily washed off with soap and water.

Additionally, acrylic paint is flexible and does not crack or peel when the fabric is stretched or moved.

However, it is recommended to use a fabric medium to mix with the acrylic paint to improve the workability and durability of the fabric.

Overall, it is best to use fabric paint or fabric dye that is specifically formulated for use on fabrics.

These are made to adhere properly and be durable enough for use on clothing and other fabric items.

FAQ’s of How to paint fabric

You would want to use fabric paint. Fabric paint is specifically made for use on fabrics. It is typically washable, and can be used on a variety of fabrics like silk and cotton. The exact brand that I would recommend is Rust-Oleum. They have a few products in this line, and are the best. I have used it personally, and have had great results.

There are two ways you can paint fabric without getting it stiff. The first is with a fabric medium. These are sold at any art or craft store. You can make your own, but I’ve found the pre-made works fine. You could also use a product called DAKO fixer- This is a very strong spray adhesive. The second is to use an airbrush. If you’re not familiar with airbrushing, you can either take a class at a local community college or you can check into getting a tutor. Do a quick search on craigslist.org and you’ll find someone. This will make the job much easier and will save you a lot of time. Be sure to lightly sand all the surfaces before you paint to remove any creases.

Acrylic paint can stiffen fabric because the paint is water-resistant. Acrylic paints are known for their ability to dry fast and completely, which makes it ideal for fabric painting of all sorts. If the fabric is stretched or stretched during the painting process, the paint can stiffen its texture. This is particularly true of the fabric’s sizing. This can be avoided by stretching the fabric while it is dry and by choosing paints that dry “to touch” and doesn’t stiffen up.

Mod Podge is a clever product that allows for a specifically textured look to be created on a surface. Mod Podge CAN be used to seal acrylic paint to fabric, however it MUST be applied in thin layers and allowed to dry completely between layers. If not, it may pull on your fabric. If you’re interested in using Mod Podge on fabric, you may want to check out this tutorial:


Summary of How to paint fabric

Now that you have read this blog and learned how to paint fabric without making any mess on it, you can start painting fabric surfaces.

But before that, you need to take care of a few things. You will have to take care of the fabric and make sure that it does not get damaged.

You have to do a little research on the fabric surface before you start painting. If you are going to paint dark colors on light fabric, you will have to take care of a few things.

If you still have any confusion regarding this post then let me know in the comments section.

Matthew Edward

Matthew Edward is a professional painter who loves to paint and wants to share useful tips and tricks which he had learned in many years of experience in painting. He also used many products that can be used for painting he has tried and tested each and every product to give an unbias opinion about it in his review. This blog is very useful for those newbies who want to learn painting without making mistakes.

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