Spray painting is one of the simplest and cheapest DIYs you can bet on. The entire process is also a fun-filled affair for the whole family, allowing you to better engage with your kids keen on exploring their creative art and craft side.
Can you spray paint fabric at home? By using paints specifically designed for fabrics, this is possible.
In the following paragraphs, we delve into the details of different types of spray paint for fabrics, fabric spray painting procedures, how you spray paint clothes, and the best fabric spray paints on the market for you.
Can you spray paint fabric?
Absolutely. You can spray paint fabrics to your liking. However, factors such as the type and quality of the materials and the spray paint play a significant role. Cotton, for instance, is the best fabric spray paint for your project. Use high-quality toxic-free fabric spray paint designed for materials. This will ensure that the entire process succeeds and that the fabric paint adheres for a long time on the fabric.
Can you use regular spray paints on fabric?
Yes, you can use regular spray paint on fabric. Spray painting is the most versatile, affordable, and easy way to customize your fabric pieces and different home textiles. However, it is important to choose a spray paint that is compatible with your fabric material and prime the surface to improve adhesion before applying the paint.
Paint compatibility is important when searching for the best spray paint for fabrics because, unlike natural fabrics, synthetic and artificial fabrics do not blend well with most spray paints.
What happens if you spray paint on fabric?
What happens when you apply paint on fabric? If you spray color on fabric, it changes the original color of the fabric.
You can use different techniques to create overly dramatic effects or a simple blend of colors with minimal details and patterns.
In line with your style and preference, you can choose tie-and-dye or use a stencil or whichever technique suits your taste and brings out your artistic side.
Fabric painting is a fun DIY process, but you should do it carefully. Not all fabrics respond to fabric spray paint well. Check to see the fabric quality first before spray painting clothes.
Secondly, the quality of the color should settle in the fabric well. Low-quality paints will only degrade the fabric’s original look or damage it entirely.
For example, if you spray paint a cotton shirt, it should not interfere with the fabric feel by toughening it and making it uncomfortable to wear. In such instances, add fabric conditioner to soften the fibers when washing.
The entire fabric should always retain its natural characteristics after the process is complete and long afterward. This is only possible if you work with high-quality spray paints for fabrics.
Natural fabrics, such as cotton, absorb paint well compared to their artificial counterparts, such as polyester.
Let’s break this down further.
Understanding Fabric Types and Their Unique Characteristics
Natural and synthetic materials have unique characteristics that absorb and retain paint or damage the fabric entirely.
Natural fabrics readily absorb spray paints, making the process easier.
But not all spray paints in the market work well on artificial and natural fabrics. This should be indicated on the packaging or the product descriptions.
We highlight six popular, natural and synthetic fabrics below and if they can be spray painted.
Cotton is one of the best fabrics for any fabric spray paint mission. Its high absorption qualities allow the material to take in color easily. It also retains fabric spray paints in its fiber for longer than other fabrics. You can also pre-wash it in hot water before using spray paint for better results.
This means that after fabric painting, the material will still maintain its appearance without fading or blotting/oozing out color during or after several washing or wears.
The breathability of the fibers also makes them comfortable to wear after applying fabric paints.
Cotton fabrics have varying weights. The spray color for one type may be more intense than its lighter option. Regardless, cotton provides an easy-to-work-on surface.
Additionally, the fibers in cotton readily crease when subjected to external pressure making it ideal for tie-and-dye spray painting.
When spray painting through tie-and-dye, part of the process involves tying the fabric with rubber bands. This helps achieve creases/folds in the materials, resulting in the fabric’s patterns. The wrinkling/folding process helps achieves this.
2. Fiber Blends- PolyCotton
Polyester and cotton can be blended in different ratios deriving different perks from each material.
Polyester fibers are more resistant to creasing and wrinkling. It is also heat resistant and has low absorption properties. This may affect the way the material absorbs the paint into its fibers.
You may also opt for an alternative fabric spray paint process, as tie and dye will not be effective.
Tie-and-dye spray painting works well with highly-shrinkable fabrics, but polyester is crease and fold-resistant. So you can opt for stencil spray painting instead.
It is essential to run patch tests with blended fabrics, especially if the high-absorbent material percentage/ratio composition is lower. Patch testing before you use spray paint gives you a glimpse of how the entire material will respond to it.
Check for clothes tags as a guideline for the composition ratios/percentages.
Very similar to cotton in features, wool responds well to paints. Due to its delicate nature, the handling process during the process has a corresponding effect on the outcome.
Choose woolen fabrics that have no pre-existing paint or dye in them.
Wool has low color retainment and effortlessly oozes out into other sections. Ooozing affects the desired patterns and the fabric paint color distribution.
If you are painting the fabric red and the original color is blue, there is a high likelihood that the two colors will blend into one dark color. Color blending may be something other than what you want, and we advise that you work with plain woolen fabrics instead.
Also, note that wool does not retain paint for long, and after many washes and exposure to heat/sun/chemicals, the color will fade out eventually.
However, you can counter this by choosing a high-quality fabric paint that stays longer on the cloth.
Soft and gentle to the touch is one of the critical features of this material. Silk is delicate and should always be handled with utmost care.
It is highly flammable, meaning that any technique that uses heat to set the paints in could damage the fabric in the process.
Spray painting on silk involves using special brushes that allow you to paint unique patterns into the fabric. Dyes are more desirable when working on silk, especially if you want to paint the whole cloth.
Opt for more gentle spray paint application methods, as overhandling, excessive folding, and overstretching the fabric will damage its fibers.
The quality of the dye or paint should also be high and gentle on fine threads in the fiber; otherwise, it will damage its natural luster and feel.
Choose paints or dyes that are gentle on very soft fabrics.
Linen is a natural material made from woven natural fibers. It has a striking resemblance with cotton and shares similar unique characteristics. Linen is highly creasible, making it ideal for spray painting through tie-and-dye.
Additionally, it is highly resistant to high temperatures, allowing you to use different drying methods as some spray paint techniques require heat to set in.
Linen responds well to painting and retains the color for a long time. You can also create unique patterns on the material with the fabric paint, as it creases easily.
Overall, linen, just like cotton, is easy to paint on, rewarding, and effective in the long term.
Polyester is a popular fabric in many households. Unlike its blended counterpart, this cloth does not respond well to fabric paint.
It is made from synthetic fibers that readily disintegrate when exposed to high temperatures. As an alternative to spraying paints, opt for dyes made explicitly for synthetic materials or general-use spray paints for fabrics.
How to Prepare Fabrics for Spray Painting
Clean the cloth – remove any stubborn stains and dirt that might interfere with paint adhesion when painting. Removing dirt and stains also helps prevent spray paint blotchiness.
Run a trial test – Run a test on a small area of the fabric to see how it reacts with the Spray paint before painting the whole cloth.
Choose the correct type of paint – Depending on the fabric type, choose the right kind of paint and proceed to spray paint using the methods explained below. Make sure the color is the correct one.
How to spray paint fabric using different methods
1. Tie and Dye
Tie-and-dye is one of the most common ways of adding color to shirts, shorts, upholstery fabric, outdoor cushions, and other clothes.
Tie-and-dye with high-quality spray paints lets you achieve a permanent and bright color on fabrics. The procedure also enables you to create uniform patterns with even distribution of shade on materials.
- Rubber bands
- Zip Ties
- Drying Rack
- Spray paint (Choice)
- Gather the fabric into sections using rubber bands.
- Squeeze or spray the paint as desired on the fabric.
- Allow the paint to dry on the rack before untying the fabric for about 24 hours.
- Iron the fabric to remove the creases and settle the dye into the fabric.
- Wash the painted fabric to get rid of the painted fabric feel.
2. Distance Fabric Spray Paint
Distance spray painting is an easy way to add more color to your fabrics. However, it can be messy and needs extra caution to achieve consistent results when working with spray paint cans.
- Fabric paint of your choice.
- Hanging and drying rack
- Drop cloths
- Place the fabric on the drop cloth.
- Shake the fabric paint well before use.
- Check the consistency and the quality of the finish on a hidden area of the fabric or towel first.
- Once you are satisfied with step 2, hold the can about 8 inches away from the fabric and spray the color uniformly. Maintain the same pressure on all parts of the garment until its completely covered.
- Ensure subsequent sprays are uniform, and avoid irregular pumping until complete.
- Leave to dry for about 24 hours.
3. Stencil Painting
Stencil fabric spray painting allows you to create fun shapes and patterns in all sizes using the best spray paint on the market.
- Fabric paint of your choice
- Hanging and drying rack
- Watercolor paper.4Marker/Pencils
- Masking tape.
- Create a stencil by drawing the desired shape on watercolor paper.
- Cut out around the shape using a knife.
- Once ready, place the stencil on the fabric and hold it with the tape.
- Dip a sponge on spray paint and roll over the design until consistent color is achieved.
- Lift the stencil and let it dry out overnight on a flat surface.
4. Building Up Layers of Color
Ideal for color lovers, this technique allows you to incorporate as many colors as possible on one section of the fabric. However, the procedure will ultimately determine how good the material looks.
- Best spray paint of your choice
- Hanging and drying rack
- Shake the bottle for at least two minutes to ensure the product’s consistency is uniform.
- Hold the first spray paint bottle with the spray nozzle at least 10 inches from the fabric
- Squeeze out one light coat onto the fabric and the same for the other colors. Remember that 3 light coats are better than one thick coat. A thick base coat prevents the other subsequent colors from penetrating the fabric.
- Give time between the light coats. At least 20 mins before spraying the next color. This allows the previous color to sit in well.
- Leave the fabric to dry on the rack.
5. Blending Colors
Blending colors is a fun way to explore different color blends according to your taste and liking.
- Spray paints of your choice-different colors.
- Hanging and drying rack
- Pick the different colors you want to blend first.
- Spray out different colors onto the entire fabric, progressively
- Ensure that you spray over the previous coats until they are uniformly blended into unique shades.
- Leave overnight to dry to ensure the paint stays in place before washing.
How long does spray Paint for Fabric take to Dry?
It takes about 1 or 2 hours for spray paint to settle on the fabric. The fabric should be ready to touch after two hours, completely dry after 24 hours, and ready to wash after 72 hours.
The average drying time depends on the quality of the fabric paint used. Some paints dry faster than others. Different fabric types also affect the time needed for the Spray paint to dry out completely.
Fabrics with high absorbency properties will dry faster.
Leaving the fabrics to dry out in the sun will speed up the drying process. Note that the spray paint for fabric application method plays an important role.
Stencil spray-painted fabrics will dry faster than those spray painted by blending colors.
Best Spray Paints for Fabric
1. Mosaic Tye and Dye Kit
Available in 26 colors, the mosaic tye and dye kit or outdoor fabric paint is ideal for creative activities and DIY for both kids and adults.
It is available in an all-inclusive pack with 26 bottles of color dye, three spray nozzles, 100 rubber bands, a Table cover, five aprons, and an instructional booklet.
An instructional booklet is part of the package that is an inspiration you can refer to when coloring clothes, upholstery, or outdoor cushions. The spray paints do not need heating or prior soaking in soda ash, making them ideal and safe for kids who love to paint outdoors.
Beginners and pros can also use this easy kit. Plus, the dyes are permanent and stay long on the fabrics after many washes.
Spray nozzles are added as a bonus for choosing your desired fabric coloring.
The different application options mean you can spray paint fabrics or let the color drop down. The squeeze bottle features make it easy to form pastel tie dye, dark tie dye kit, rainbow, earth tone, or any other color.
2. Dew Design Spray Paint for Clothes and Textiles
Dew Designs spray paint pack comes in a 6-value package. The colors included in the pack include dark turquoise, purple, fuchsia, grass green, orange, and dark blue.
Each bottle contains 1.7 fl oz (50ml) and can color 25-30 t-shirts depending on the size, thickness, and design. This spray paint is all-purpose that somebody can use on various types of natural and synthetic fabrics.
These fabrics include cotton, linen, silk, wool, rayon, ramie, or nylon.
Also, the dye is kid and skin safe as it does not contain any toxic chemicals and serves as an excellent outdoor fabric paint.
3. ORANDOO Fabric Paint Set for Clothes
Orandoo fabric paint set for clothes comes in 16 colors: black, teal blue, yellow ochre, brown, green, orange, ochre, emerald green, ultramarine blue, red, pink, purple-blue, white, yellow, mauve pale.
The fabric spray paint has a creamy consistency and high pigments with designed rheology and viscosity. These features ensure that the colors can be blended easily and glided on smoothly during application.
These features create great coverage power for large areas and achieve fine details.
It comes with three brushes for easy application and is ideal for clothes, shoes, T-shirts, canvas, paper, backpacks, bags, hats, wood, outdoor cushion, and plain and textured surfaces.
You can spray paint on the house’s glass, wood, paper, wall, or ceramic surfaces.
Other key features of the outdoor fabric paint include:
- Machine – washable
- No heat needed to dry
- Smooth and textured
Tips on How to Successfully Spray Paint Fabrics
1. Testing the spray paint on a small area first
Patch testing or blotting before painting fabric allows you to check how well the fabric paint reacts with the material. Spray on a hidden section of the fabric before working on the entire piece first.
2. Using thin layers
Less is more. Avoid applying thick layers as this will not absorb into the fabric well. Instead, use thin layers progressively, and once the color settles in, you can add more if need be. Otherwise, it will sit on the fabric and slow the drying process.
3. Allowing time to dry
Color doesn’t automatically dry up after application. Give it enough time to dry out and infuse into the fabric completely.
4. Ironing or using a fabric sealant after painting
For heat-resistant fabrics, this is a crucial step. The fabric sealant boosts the fabric’s ability to retain the color for longer.
FAQs – Spray Painting Fabric
Can I use Rustoleum outdoor fabric paint?
Yes. Rustoleum outdoor fabric paint is ideal for outdoor fabrics. Adding more color to your worn-out or faded fabrics allows you to add a fresh touch to your worn-out or faded fabrics. Rustoleum outdoor fabric paint provides full coverage and leaves behind a soft finish and long-lasting touch to the materials.
What is the difference between fabric spray paint and regular spray paint?
Regular spray paint contains harmful fumes due to the chemicals such as Acetone, Xylene, and Toluene added during manufacture. If you plan on using regular spray paint, wear PPE and work in well-ventilated spaces to avoid inhaling the toxic fumes.
Can spray paint be used on fabric?
Yes. But remember to purchase the best paint specific to the fabric you are working with. Some brands can be used on any material.
What other paints can you spray on fabric?
Acrylic paint is an ideal option for spray painting fabric. Acrylic based paint, for instance, acrylic polymer, also comes in a wide range of colors, giving you multiple options. Also, the regular or normal spray paint dries faster and is permanent. Others include flexible paint, colorshot instant fabric color.
Do fabric spray paints fade?
Fabric spray paints vary in quality; regular spray paints, such as chalk paint, fade almost immediately after the first wash, but higher-quality options, such as acrylic polymer, stays longer and guarantees bright colors after several washes.
Does spray paint wash of clothes?
Yes. Washing clothes will remove massive residues of excess paint on clothes. You can also scrape off the excess before washing to make sure the paint is even on all sections.
How many coats of spray paint on fabric?
One coat applied in a sweeping motion is enough. If the fabric is dark in color, more coats may be needed to give it new life. Avoid using too many coats, which may stiffen the fabric and affect the drying process.
Can I use soda ash on fabrics when spray painting?
Soda ash or sodium bicarbonate is used on fabrics to enhance their absorbency for brighter-looking results. It ensures that the color, dye or paint stays on for longer. However, it is optional-you may choose to add it or not.
Summary – Spray Painting Fabric
Using different techniques, you can use spray paint for the fabric to achieve fashionable and tasteful patterns. Spray painting can also be done on home furnishings and upholstery, such as pillows, bedding, and curtains. It is also fun to engage the entire family in DIY activities.
Always wear protective gear and work in a well ventilated area, especially when working with spray paints with toxic components.