Whether you’re refurbishing upholstered furniture, updating throw rugs, adding pizzazz to a pair of canvas shoes, or wanting to monogram baby gear, the best fabric spray paint can elevate fabric pieces from mundane to unique. Fabric spray paint introduces stunning color effects while maintaining a fabric’s softness and flexibility.
Fabric spray paint is available in a broad array of colors and finishes and offers a multitude of opportunities for creative expression. Use a stencil for monogramming or adding graphic designs to clothing, rugs, curtains, and upholstery. Tape off sections of fabric to paint around, or tie the fabric in knots for a groovy tie-dye look. Spray the fabric paint over an entire surface for consistent color, or lightly spritz it for a misty effect. The look you wish to achieve will dictate the best paint for you. Use this guide to see what other factors to consider when choosing the best fabric spray paint for your next project, and learn why the following are considered top choices.
- BEST OVERALL: Tulip ColorShot Instant Fabric Color
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Tulip Permanent Fabric Spray Paint, 9 Pack, Rainbow
- BEST FOR PATIO UPHOLSTERY: Krylon COLORmaxx Spray Paint
- BEST FOR INDOOR UPHOLSTERY: Tulip ColorShot Interior Upholstery Spray
- BEST NEON COLORS: Tulip Permanent Fabric Spray Paint, Neon
- BEST CHALKY FINISH: Rust-Oleum Chalked Spray Paint
- BEST GLITTER FINISH: TULIP Glitter Spray Paint- Glistening Gold
Before You Buy the Best Fabric Spray Paint
When many DIYers think of spray paint, what comes to mind is refreshing old plastic lawn furniture or upcycling thrift store finds. For example, metallic gold spray paint revives old picture frames and lamps with fresh color and sheen. Chalky spray paint delivers rich color in an ultramatte finish on battered, wooden tables and chairs as well as outdoor upholstery. But for fabric painting projects, not all spray paints will give good outcomes. The best fabric spray paint is specially formulated to yield optimal results on clothing, canvas shoes, upholstery, and fabric decor items.
Spraying is not the only method to achieve attractive results from a fabric painting project. Fabric markers deliver vibrant color in a variety of available finishes, including metallics, neon, and glitter. Liquid fabric paint can be brushed on or applied straight from the bottle to achieve various effects, including 3-D designs.
Numerous reputable manufacturers make fabric paints and fabric markers in an array of colors, including neon, and a variety of specialty finishes, such as metallics and glitter.
What to Consider When Buying the Best Fabric Spray Paint
Before making a purchase, consider the type of paint that will deliver the best results on the project. Consider as well the application method, color depth, and the consistency of color transfer to the fabric. Read on to learn more about these important considerations.
Type of Projects
Before selecting a fabric spray paint, consider the project you have in mind and look for a product that’s up to the task. Read product specs to make sure the paint will work with your chosen materials, including the type and color of fabric, to achieve the outcome you want. Some fabric spray paints are more suitable for lightweight fabrics, such as T-shirts and other clothing items. For these projects, users may spray, dribble, or spritz the fabric paint to produce the desired effect. The best fabric spray paints for clothing are well suited to lightweight home decor items as well, such as curtains or tablecloths.
Other fabric spray paints are specifically formulated for outdoor or indoor upholstery fabrics, throw pillows, and rugs. Fabric spray paints specifically for outdoor upholstery are a must for projects that will live outside.
The best fabric spray paint lends itself to stenciling, taping, and tying. With these techniques, fabric painters can produce monograms or graphic designs on T-shirts, jackets, table runners, curtains, baby gear, and more. To achieve multicolored tie-dyeing effects, painters may tie the fabric in knots before spraying with contrasting colors.
Type of Paint
Fabric spray paint consists of color pigments delivered to the surface by a liquid base that is sprayed from an aerosol can or pump sprayer.
The most common fabric paint is acrylic based. Color pigment is dissolved in an acrylic polymer (plastic resin) binder. It is water-soluble when wet but permanent when dry. Oil-based paints, made with synthetic or natural oils, are permanent and durable. Solvent-based paints dry faster, as the solvent evaporates quickly when exposed to air. Alcohol-based fabric paints are technically inks that absorb into fabric fibers.
For completely changing the color of large quantities of fabric, dye may do the job more efficiently than paint. Fiber reactive dyes form a chemical bond with the fibers in fabric to permanently change their color. Fabric paint, on the other hand, leaves a thin coat of paint color on the surface of the fibers.
Type of Applicators
Fabric spray paints have one of two methods of application: an aerosol can or a bottle with a spray pump. Aerosol spray cans contain fabric paint plus aerosol propellants, packaged under pressure in a spray can. The paint exits the can in a fine mist.
Some people avoid using aerosol sprays because of concerns about chemicals in aerosol propellants. In that case, another option is a bottle with a spray-pump cap. The pumping mechanism forces the fabric paint out and gives the painter greater control over the coverage area. A light spritzing yields a misty effect, whereas dribbling paint creates dramatic patterns, and spraying evenly produces a solid color block.
Of course, DIYers may apply fabric paint by methods other than spraying. These include squirting liquid paint, including puffy paints and 3-D fabric paints, from bottles or brushing it on to create intricate patterns or interesting effects. Additionally, fabric markers offer bright colors and artistic control for crafters.
Opacity and Consistency
The term “opacity” refers to a paint’s ability to hide the surface color underneath it. Most fabric spray paints work well on fabrics that are lighter than the paint color. When fabric spray paint is not completely opaque, a darker-colored fabric will show through a lighter paint.
Chalky-finish spray paint may be the exception to this rule. Used for canvas and upholstery fabric, this ultramatte paint provides optimal coverage with exceptional opacity. A downside of chalky-finish spray paint is that it makes fabric stiff. Other fabric spray paints are specially formulated to preserve fabric’s softness and flexibility.
High-quality fabric spray paints should give consistent color results when applied correctly. Follow all manufacturer’s instructions to achieve consistent and even results.
Tips for Using the Best Fabric Spray Paint
Here are a few tips to help you get started with your fabric painting project.
- Check the manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure this paint works on your chosen fabric.
- Remember fabric spray paint is most effective on fabrics that are lighter than the paint color.
- Wash the fabric before painting, but avoid fabric softener or dryer sheets.
- Iron the fabric to remove wrinkles before spray painting.
- Spread the fabric out on a smooth, flat surface for spray painting.
- Test the spray paint in a hidden spot on the fabric before spraying the entire fabric.
Our Top Picks
The top picks take into consideration various types of projects and types of fabric spray paints. Types of applicators, opacity, consistency of the paints, and popular colors and finishes headed the list of criteria. These top picks represent the best fabric spray paints for craft and DIY projects from reputable manufacturers.
This spray paint for fabric is available in a 3-ounce aerosol spray can. Use it to refresh and renew clothing, canvas bags and sneakers, fabric-covered throw pillows, tablecloths, throw rugs, and more. For allover color coverage or touches of color, Tulip ColorShot instant fabric color is a solid choice for a variety of DIY projects. This spray works well with stencils, monograms, taping, and tying. Painters may layer and blend several hues of this spray paint for artistic effects on fabric.
Simply shake the can, aim, and spray for even coverage. After a quick 30-minute drying time, this instant fabric color is permanent and machine washable. It leaves fabric soft and flexible, not stiff. Created for both natural and synthetic fabrics, Tulip ColorShot works best on light-colored materials.
For fabric painting projects, this set of nine rainbow colors, available at a budget-friendly price, offers versatility and value. A nontoxic paint, it comes in nonaerosol spray bottles with easy-to-control nozzles that do not emit aerosol propellants. The spray nozzles allow for a variety of effects on fabric. Spritz for a light, misty effect. Splatter for more vivid, surprising results. Spray for even, overall coverage.
After it dries, the paint is permanent, and the fabric retains its soft, flexible texture. Following a 72-hour curing period, the paint is machine washable. For best results, turn garments inside out for washing.
Before tossing that well-worn patio furniture to the curb, try spray painting the cushions. It’s easy to revive old, faded upholstery on outdoor furniture with this solvent-based spray paint from Krylon. It rejuvenates and protects outdoor fabrics and stands up to the weather. With its solvent base, this spray paint contains both a primer and a paint to provide optimal adhesion, coverage, and durability. It dries quickly to a satin finish that gives off a slight sheen.
A large push-button spray mechanism on the 12-ounce can facilitates comfortable use. It emits a consistent spray in any position—even upside down. For best results, paint outdoors when the temperature is between 55 and 75 degrees and the humidity is below 60 percent. The paint is dry to the touch in 20 minutes and ready for an optional second coat within four hours or after 48 hours.
Faded indoor upholstery will perk up with two light coats of ColorShot interior upholstery spray. It leaves upholstery fabric soft, and the woven pattern of the original fibers remains visible for a natural appearance. Use it on throw pillows, throw rugs, and drapery fabric as well. Though richly pigmented for deep color, it won’t rub off on clothing once it’s dry.
DIYers appreciate the even coverage and fast drying time of this interior upholstery spray. The spray-pump mechanism ensures accurate control for smooth, even coverage. Additionally, it’s ergonomically designed to minimize hand fatigue. One can of paint covers 1 square yard of fabric with two light coats.
Apply neon colors to clothing and home decor with this pack of seven brilliant hues. Pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and fuchsia add neon glow to fabric painting projects. Packaged in .81-fluid-ounce bottles with pump-spray caps, the neon colors blend for artistic effects.
These vibrant neon colors are permanent, so even after repeated washings, the artwork remains. Additionally, the fabric retains its original softness and flexibility. Employing application methods such as spritzing, splattering, or spraying, crafters can create unique fabric designs.
Spray pumps on the bottles don’t emit aerosol particles, and the paint is nontoxic and eco-friendly, allowing parents and teachers peace of mind while children use this product.
Chalky-finish paints provide optimal coverage and a smooth, velvety finish. While generally applied to materials such as wood and metal, Rust-Oleum Chalked spray paint is also suitable for indoor fabrics. With its oil-based formula and high-quality pigments, it adheres well with minimal prepwork. Colors layer well over each other, and stenciling is a breeze with this product.
One coat is often sufficient to complete a project. It dries to the touch in 20 minutes, and one can of paint covers 12 square feet of fabric with one coat. Chalky-finish spray paint may stiffen upholstery fabric, and it’s also not machine washable. Clean the painted surface with a damp cloth.
Use glitter fabric spray paint to add sparkle to clothing and accessories. Canvas shoes, T-shirts, jackets, and hats get a new life with glitter. With glitter fabric spray paint, you can give fabric lampshades, purses, totes, and bookbags a second chance, too.
This spray paint from Tulip works well on light-colored fabrics. Results are not satisfactory on black or dark-colored fabrics. Packaged in 4-ounce bottles with pump-spray caps, Tulip glitter fabric spray paint is nontoxic and eco-friendly, with no aerosol particles emitted during use.
After the paint dries, the fabric is machine washable. For best results, turn the fabric inside out.
FAQs About Fabric Spray Paint
Use fabric spray paint to achieve dramatic results in art, craft, and DIY projects. By now, you probably have a long list of fabric painting projects in mind. With abundant options for colors and finishes, fabric spray paint opens new avenues of artistic expression for indoor and outdoor projects. As you begin to work with fabric spray paints, check out the answers to these frequently asked questions.
Q. Can regular spray paint be used on fabric?
Regular spray paint does not do well on fabric; it stiffens fabric and cracks with use. Read manufacturers’ product descriptions to find spray paints that can be used successfully on fabric.
Q. How can I permanently paint fabric?
Spray paints intended for use on fabrics are permanent when dry or after the recommended curing period, unless the specifications say otherwise.
Q. Will fabric paint wash off after a few washings?
High-quality fabric paint holds up to machine washings, although it may fade over time. Turn garments inside out before washing to preserve the color.