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spray painted fabric

Can You Spray Paint Fabric? The Best Fabric Spray Paints to Use

Can you spray paint fabric? You absolutely can.

In this article/tutorial we’ll discover what tools we need for fabric spray painting and what other things we should know about this whole intriguing craft.

There are several spray paints that are designed for textiles. If the spray paint mentions that it can be used on fabrics, it’s non-toxic, then you can assume that it will work for your projects.

We also have the choice to use paints for clothes in case we decide to skip on using spray paint. They’re both great. You can learn more in my article for the best black dye for clothes.

Can You Spray Paint Fabric? You Can

spray painting a pillow case

Even if the question can you spray paint fabric doesn’t have much to do with sewing, it’s still something that fascinates me.

Firstly, it intrigues me because it can be a way to renew our furniture without much expense.

Plus, we can also use spray paint to renew our clothes when colors have faded. Or to transform a plain white T-shirt into our own personal canvas.

Some people are also interested in adding their own unique touches to canvas shoes.

Still, most people are interested in giving a new look and life to their furniture mainly.

Thus, while I love sewing clothes or bed sheets, pillows and all the rest, I’m also interested in everything that has to do with fabrics and crafts.

I must also mention that I think that sometimes only professional upholsterers can handle some of our furniture to be restored to a design that is even better than the original.

The alternative to seeking an answer to the question can you spray paint fabric is to have an upholsterer restore our furniture to a brand-new condition.

Of course, upholstery is never cheap but if we have beloved pieces of furniture that have seen better days, then I recommend giving it a try because upholsterers can do amazing work for our older pieces of furniture (chairs, sofas, etc.).

The Best Fabric Spray Paints for our Projects

Now that we’ve answered the question can you spray paint fabric, it’s time to see what tools we need to do so.

Fabric spray paints are available in multiple colors and finishes.

Thus, first you have to decide on the color or combination of colors that you want to create. I’m not going to mention the long list of colors you can choose from, basically any color you want, you’ll be able to find.

After that, you must decide what style/finish we want to achieve.

Most spray paints for fabric will offer options like: gloss, satin, metallic, matte, flat, primer, semi-gloss, etc.

Some paints will also indicate that they can be used on a wide variety of surfaces: wood, plaster, metal, glass, fabrics, paper, ceramic, plastic, wicker.

Thus, they almost act like some kind of universal spray paints that work on a wider array of surfaces. Just make sure to spot fabric on that list, too.

It’s important to choose those fabric spray paints that ensure good color adhesion and durability.

1. Tulip ColorShot Instant Fabric Color

At first glance, I’m not entirely won over by the Tulip ColorShot Instant Fabric Color.

There’s a simple reason for that. The cans are a bit small at 3 oz.

Thus, if you want to spray paint canvas shoes, a T-shirt or other smaller items, it will do just fine. I think it’s really awesome for that. But I wouldn’t recommend it for chairs or sofas or upholstery in general because it will take a lot of cans to do the job.

It is an aerosol fabric spray. I recommend doing the spraying in open air or leaving the windows wide open.

What I really like is that we’re told that it works great on natural and synthetic fabrics. We’re not limited at all.

Moreover, it works for all over color or for using with stencils.

I also appreciate that the manufacturer mentions that it dries quickly and it leaves the fabric soft to the touch. It doesn’t change the textures.

It’s also supposed to achieve even coverage, no splatters.

To prevent the color from bleeding through, place wax paper between layers.

How to use

The instructions are pretty easy to follow:

  • Shake the can for 1 minute
  • Test it on scrap fabric or a paper towel first to get a feel for the nozzle
  • Rotate the front piece of the nozzle to adjust spray pattern
  • Hold the can 6-8 inches from the fabric
  • Spray with smooth, even strokes
  • Shake often during use
  • Apply one light coat at a time
  • Wait 5 minutes between coats
  • Add coats until you’re satisfied with the color coverage and intensity
  • It should dry in 30 minutes
  • Wash it inside out with mild detergent on gentle cycle after 24 hours

Plus, it claims that it’s permanent and machine washable.

I should also warn you that there are some reviews that mention that the color washes off after only one wash.

Other user reviews mention that they are completely satisfied with this fabric spray paint from Tulip, how easy it is to use the can and how nice the color sticks to fabrics.

2. Krylon COLORmaxx Spray Paint and Primer

This one from Krylon can be pretty much considered universal.

It works on fabrics but it also works for spray painting so many other surfaces: wood, ceramic, paper, fabric, glass, metal, plastic, wicker, plaster.

I would say that most people buy it for hard objects and not for use on fabrics. Although, there are some user reviews mentioning that it works on T-shirts, indoor and outdoor sofa cushions and other fabrics like that.

Still, I still get the impression that I would much rather buy the Krylon COLORmaxx Spray Paint and Primer to change the color of my wooden table or desk or all sorts of other objects than to use it on my sofa cushions or T-shirts.

Especially after I read a review that mentioned that it made their seat cushions stiff and uncomfortable. So, there’s a small chance that the Krylon COLORmaxx Spray Paint and Primer can change the texture of our materials.

I love that we get a lot of colors to choose from.

We also can choose different styles: gloss, satin, metallic, matte, flat, primer, semi-gloss.

It also offers indoor and outdoor rust protection.

And it’s sold in a 12 oz can of aerosol spray paint, which is a nice quantity.

The 12 oz paint can cover up to 25 square feet.

It also dries in 10 minutes or less so that’s impressive.

A last thing we should keep in mind is that we will obtain the best conditions when temperatures are 55-75 degrees F and humidity is below 60%.

3. Tulip Fabric Spray Sets

This is a pack of 9 different colors.

That can be really awesome for those who want to create multi-colored projects. If you want to paint in just one color, then this set is not right for you.

Unfortunately, each can only has 1.9 oz. But it will work well if you want to spray paint a few smaller pieces of fabric, like T-shirts.

The smaller size will make a lot more sense and last longer if you only want to create your own graphic designs on fabric and you’re not looking to cover large pieces of fabric in just one color.

It’s an awesome set if you want to colorfully decorate your T-shirts, canvas tote bags, canvas shoes, ornaments, etc.

4. Can Rustoleum spray paint be used on fabric?

Just like we answered the question can you spray paint fabric in the affirmative, just as well we can say that the Rustoleum spray paint can be used on fabric.

The Rustoleum Fabric & Vinyl can be used on vinyl, simulated leather and some fabrics. It will help you achieve a flexible coating that restores colors on certain materials.

It will not crack, rub off or peel.

The Rustoleum Fabric & Vinyl can be used on car seats, car door panels, dashboards, floor mats and other interior surfaces.

I would say that some Rustoleum spray paints are more appropriate for automotive use.

Some of their other products work great on furniture made of wood, plastic or metal.

5. Rustoleum NeverWet Outdoor Fabric Spray

Other Rustoleum spray paints are designed to be sprayed on outdoor fabrics.

The Rustoleum NeverWet Outdoor Fabric Spray can be used on a wide variety of fabrics. It works best on polyester, poly/cotton blends, canvas, leather, and suede.

Test the product on a small, inconspicuous area to see if its sticks.

We are informed that we can use the Rustoleum NeverWet Outdoor Fabric Spray on boots, shoes, hats, gloves, coats, jackets, snow pants, outdoor apparel, camping gear, tablecloths, grill covers, patio cushions, etc.

It’s a product that has a wide coverage, which I guess makes it one of the best fabric spray paints for some of us.

What Kind of Paint Can I Use on Fabric?

There are quite a few options if we want to spray paint fabric, be it for clothes, throw rugs, canvas shoes, upholstered furniture, etc.

Whether we want to make our worn out furniture look brand new or we want to create some art on our clothes, shoes or rugs, the idea is that for all these new adventures we need to first find the best fabric spray paint.

However, even if we have plenty of spray paints to choose from, the type of fabric that we want to paint also matters.

For example, leather is not a fabric that you should usually spray paint because it’s not an easy endeavor. Since it’s not porous, it doesn’t retain the color so it will peel off sooner or later.

Nevertheless, there are also fabric spray paints that mention that they work on leather, too. So, you should read carefully what products work for what.

My idea is that, generally, if you’re interested in restoring leather products, I recommend looking for leather-specific dye.

As you might have noticed, I only mentioned spray painting upholstered furniture, clothes, throw rugs, canvas shoes, etc. Just keep away from leather products because that’s a whole different matter.

The ideal fabrics for being spray painted are linen, cotton, rayon and silk.

Synthetic fabrics like polyester or nylon are not so good at absorbing colors so you might end up with a quite unattractive design.

However, there are also spray paints that mention that they work on polyester and leather, too.

We should focus on fabrics that have a tight weave because those have very good color retention. A looser weave will still retain some of the colors we apply but the result might be less vibrant than what we might expect.

How to use spray paint on fabric

Since we’ve already answered the question can you spray paint fabric and we saw which are some of the best fabric spray paints for our DIY projects, it’s time to talk about what preparations we might need to undertake.

The first thing you should do is read the instructions that are written on the can of spray paint.

Next, change into some old clothes that can be ruined by a few splotches of paint. Cover your arms and legs.

Wash and iron your clothes before spray painting them. If the clothes have wrinkles on the fabric, the color won’t be uniform after you’re done.

Add wax paper between layers of fabric to prevent the sprayed color from bleeding through.

If you want to do some monogramming or some interesting graphic designs, you should first use a stencil to outline the designs.

When using stencils, apply a temporary spray adhesive to the back of the stencil. Firmly press onto fabric. That’s a precaution for preventing the color from permeating underneath the stencil openings.

Cover areas you don’t want to paint. You can use masking tape for protecting small areas.

If you want a misty effect, you should lightly spritz it.

But for consistent color, spray the pain over the entire surface.

Spray the paint in one continuous motion. If you stop, you can end up with splatters. If you spray continuously, you’ll produce a uniform design.

For clothes, you can use techniques such as tie-dye, pleating and stenciling.

Tie-dye means tying the fabric in knots and then spraying fabric paint over the knots. There are many variations just for this simple technique.

How many cans of paint do you need?

Before actually getting down to spray painting your garments or upholstery or curtains or rugs or canvas shoes, you should be aware of one important thing, which applies especially to sofas or outdoor furniture.

Since the surface of sofas, chairs or outdoor furniture is quite big, you should expect that it’s going to take quite a lot of cans of fabric spray paint to get a deep non-streaky look.

You might expect to need just two cans for one large cushion when in fact it might take four cans to obtain a deep, uniform new color.

Thus, the size of your purchase will be influenced by the surface of the areas you want to paint. If you notice that there are some uneven patches, you’ll need to add another layer to cover them.

The best way to use the cans of fabric spray paint is to spray continuously.

If you stop, you might get some splatters. You’ll then have to rub the splatters into the fabric.

Expect your fingers to hurt from the trigger, especially if you plan on spray painting an entire sofa or your entire outdoor furniture.

How long does spray paint take to dry on fabric?

It depends. The easiest way to tell is to read the instructions that come with the spray paint that you’ve chosen.

Some will mention that the paint dries in as little as 20-30 minutes. Still, you should let it fully dry for about 24-72 hours.

Other manufacturers will state that their paint dries to touch in 1 hour and to handle in 2 hours.

After 24-72 hours have passed, it’s safe to wash the garments inside out in the washing machine.

Is fabric spray paint permanent?

It is. Once it dries, the color is permanent, unless you decide to change it.

The paint is also machine washable. The color doesn’t wash off after only a few washes.

The paint is also supposed not to change the weave of the fabric. The color should permeate the fibers without changing their texture at all.

We want to achieve a comfortable and natural look, retaining the original texture but with a different color(s).

Does fabric spray paint rub off on clothes?

If it did rub off on clothes, no one would be using spray paint on fabric anymore.

Moreover, if you’re using high-quality fabric spray paint on your clothes, it holds up to machine washings. Well, it will fade over time but that’s what all our clothes do after hundreds of machine washings.

In order to preserve the color, remember to turn your garments inside out before throwing them in the washing machine.

All in all, I hope I managed to answer everything related to the question can you spray paint fabric and I hope you’ll have the most successful DIY projects in the future.