Does Fabric Paint Wash Off

Does Fabric Paint Wash Off?

Fabric paint is a versatile medium used to add color and designs to textiles. Its washability is a crucial factor to consider, as it determines whether the paint will endure multiple washes.

Understanding the factors that affect washability is essential. Quality of paint, fabric type, application technique, and drying process play a role.

To achieve permanent results, proper painting and curing methods are vital. Thinning fabric paint may be necessary at times. Cracking can occur if not addressed.

The longevity of fabric paint on clothes varies, depending on several factors. By following care instructions, the paint can last longer. So, does fabric paint wash off? Let’s find out.

Does Fabric Paint Wash Off?

Fabric paint is designed to be permanent and withstand washing. Once fully dry, it should not wash off. However, if the paint is not dry, it can smudge or wash away. Ensure proper drying time and follow care instructions for best results.

If you’re curious about whether acrylic paint washes off, check out our article for more information.

What is Fabric Paint?

Fabric paint is a specialized type of paint specifically designed for use on textiles and fabrics. Unlike other paints like acrylic paint, fabric paint is formulated to adhere to fabrics and provide long-lasting color and designs.

It is available in various forms, including bottles, tubes, and pens, and comes in a wide range of colors and finishes.

Acrylic fabric paint is commonly used for customizing clothing, creating unique patterns on fabric, or adding decorative elements to textiles.

It offers a flexible and durable finish that is resistant to washing and fading when applied and cared for properly.

Factors Affecting Washability

Several factors can influence the washability of fabric paint. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Quality of fabric paint. The quality of the fabric paint plays a significant role in its washability. High-quality fabric paints are formulated to adhere well to fabrics and withstand washing without significant fading or peeling.
  • Fabric type and composition. Different fabrics have varying degrees of absorbency and texture, which can affect how well the paint adheres to the surface. Some fabrics, such as cotton or linen, tend to hold fabric paint better compared to slippery or synthetic fabrics.
  • Application technique. The way you apply the fabric paint can impact its washability. Properly saturating the fabric and ensuring even coverage will help the paint bond effectively with the fibers.
  • Drying and curing process. Allowing sufficient drying and curing time is crucial for enhancing the paint’s washability. Heat-setting methods, such as ironing or using a clothes dryer, can help set the paint and improve its resistance to washing.

How to Paint on Fabric Permanently

To achieve permanent results on fabric painting, follow these steps:

Step 1: Prepare the fabric

Ensure that the fabric is clean and free of any dirt, oils, or sizing agents. Pre-washing the fabric can help remove any residues that may hinder paint adhesion.

Step 2: Select the right fabric paint

Choose fabric paints specifically formulated for textiles. These paints are designed to adhere to fabric fibers and withstand washing.

Step 3: Test on a small area

Before painting your entire design, test the fabric paint on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric. This allows you to assess how well the paint adheres and how it reacts to washing.

Step 4: Apply the paint

Use a suitable applicator, such as brushes, sponges, or fabric paint pens, to apply the paint. Ensure even coverage and saturation of the fabric fibers. Remove excess wet paint before proceeding to the next step.

Step 5: Heat-set the paint

Heat-setting is crucial for enhancing the permanence of fabric paint. Follow the instructions provided by the paint manufacturer to heat-set the design. This is typically done by ironing the painted area or using a clothes dryer.

Step 6: Allow for curing time

After heat-setting, allow the painted fabric to cure for the recommended duration. This helps the paint fully bond with the fabric fibers and improves its washability.

Step 7: Wash and care instructions

Follow the specific washing and care instructions provided by the fabric paint manufacturer. This may include washing the painted fabric inside out, using mild detergents, and avoiding harsh washing cycles or bleach.

How to Cure Fabric Paint

Curing fabric paint is an essential step to ensure its longevity and washability. Here’s a guide on how to cure fabric paint effectively:

Step 1: Heat-setting

Heat-setting is the most common method to cure fabric paint. It involves applying heat to the painted fabric to help the paint bond with the fibers.

The specific heat-setting method may vary depending on the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 2: Ironing

Place a clean cloth or parchment paper over the painted area to protect both the iron and the fabric. Set the iron to the appropriate temperature recommended by the paint manufacturer.

Gently iron the painted area, applying even pressure for a specific duration as instructed.

Step 3: Oven curing

Some fabric paints may recommend oven curing. Place the painted fabric on a baking sheet or parchment paper.

Preheat the oven to the temperature specified by the paint manufacturer. Bake the fabric for the recommended duration, ensuring proper ventilation.

Step 4: Air drying and curing

For certain fabric paints, air drying and curing may be sufficient. After applying the paint, allow the fabric paint air dry completely.

Then, let the air dried fabric paint cure for the recommended duration before subjecting it to washing or other handling.

Note: Follow the specific instructions provided by the fabric paint manufacturer for curing. These may include temperature settings and curing times.

How to Thin Fabric Paint

If you find that your fabric paint is too thick for your desired application, you may need to thin it down. Here’s a guide on how to thin fabric paint effectively:

  • Check the paint label. Before thinning fabric paint, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or label. Some fabric paints may recommend specific thinning mediums or solvents that are compatible with their formulas.
  • Gradual thinning. Start by adding small amounts of the recommended thinning medium or solvent to the fabric paint. Mix thoroughly using a palette knife or a stir stick. Gradually add more thinning agent until you achieve the desired consistency.
  • Consistency check. To test the paint’s consistency, lift the palette knife or stir stick out of the paint mixture and observe how it drips off. It should flow smoothly without being too thick or too runny. Adjust the thinning agent accordingly if needed.
  • Mix well. Ensure that the thinned fabric paint is thoroughly mixed to achieve a uniform consistency. This will help avoid any uneven application or clumps of undiluted paint.
  • Test on a sample fabric. Before applying the thinned fabric paint to your project, perform a test on a small piece of fabric. This will help you assess how the thinned paint behaves and dries on the fabric. Keep in mind that removing fabric paint is tedious hence be careful when applying it.

Will Fabric Paint Crack?

Yes, unlike fabric dye, fabric paint can potentially crack if certain factors are not considered or addressed. Here’s an explanation:

Fabric paint may crack if it is applied too thickly or if the painted fabric undergoes excessive stretching or bending.

When the paint layer becomes too rigid, it becomes prone to cracking when the fabric moves or flexes.

To minimize the risk of cracking, it’s important to follow these guidelines:

  • Proper application. Apply fabric paint in thin, even layers. Avoid applying a thick, heavy coat that may dry stiffly and be more susceptible to cracking.
  • Fabric preparation. Ensure the fabric is clean and free from any dirt, oils, or sizing agents before painting. Pre-washing and properly drying the fabric can help create a clean surface for paint adhesion.
  • Flexible fabric choices. Select fabrics that have some natural flexibility or stretch, which can help prevent cracking. Stiff or rigid fabrics may be more prone to cracking.
  • Heat-setting. Heat-setting the fabric paint can improve its durability and flexibility, reducing the likelihood of cracking. Follow the recommended heat-setting instructions provided by the fabric paint manufacturer.
  • Proper care. Follow the care instructions provided by the fabric paint manufacturer. Gentle washing, avoiding harsh detergents or bleach, and drying the fabric properly can help preserve the painted design and minimize cracking.

How to Use Fabric Paint on Furniture

To use fabric paint on furniture, follow these steps:

  • Prepare the furniture. Clean the surface of the furniture to remove any dirt, dust, or stains. If needed, sand or prime the furniture to create a smooth surface for better paint adhesion.
  • Choose the right fabric paint. Select fabric paint specifically designed for furniture use. Consider factors like color, finish (matte, satin, or glossy), and durability.
  • Test on a small area. Test it on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure compatibility with the fabric and desired results.
  • Apply the paint. Start by applying a thin, even layer of fabric paint to the furniture surface using a brush, sponge, or sprayer if you are using a fabric spray paint. Allow each layer to dry completely before applying additional coats.
  • Use different techniques. Experiment with various painting techniques, such as stenciling, freehand painting, or creating patterns. This help to achieve the desired look and texture on the furniture.
  • Let it cure. Once you have finished applying the paint, remove the excess paint and allow it to cure. This may involve air-drying for a specific period or heat-setting with an iron or dryer.
  • Protect the paint. Depending on the fabric paint used, consider applying a fabric sealant or protective finish. This enhances durability and protect the painted surface from spills, stains, and fading.
  • Maintain and clean. Follow any recommended care instructions for the fabric paint on your furniture. Typically, it involves spot cleaning with mild soap and warm water or using a fabric cleaner suitable for painted surfaces.

How To Remove Fabric Paint From Clothes

To remove fabric paint from clothes, follow these steps:

  • Act quickly. If the paint is wet, blot the excess with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  • Rinse. Flush the affected area with cold water from the back of the fabric to push the paint out.
  • Treat with stain remover. Apply a stain remover such as nail polish remover or liquid laundry detergent directly to the stained area and gently rub it in.
  • Soak. Let the garment soak in cold water for about 30 minutes to help loosen the paint.
  • Launder. Wash the garment in the washing machine using the appropriate water temperature and recommended detergent.
  • Check and repeat. After washing, check if the paint stain is still visible. If needed, repeat the previous steps or consider using a specialized paint remover for fabrics.

How Long Does Fabric Paint Last on Clothes

Fabric paint, when properly applied and allowed to dry for 2 to 3 days, can provide a permanent result on clothes.

Following the manufacturer’s guidelines and ensuring the wet fabric paint fully cures can enhance its longevity.

The paint bonds with the fabric fibers, making it resistant to washing and fading. However, it’s important to note that the duration of fabric paint on clothes can vary.

This depends on factors such as fabric type, washing frequency, and maintenance. By washing inside out, using gentle detergents, and avoiding harsh cycles, the paint can last for an extended period.


Is fabric paint permanent on fabric?

Fabric paint can provide a permanent result on fabric if it is applied correctly and allowed to dry and cure properly. Heat-setting the wet paint, following the manufacturer’s instructions, enhances its durability and washability.
Also Discover: Is Acrylic Paint Permanent on Fabric?

How do you keep fabric paint from washing off?

To help prevent fabric paint from washing off, follow these tips:
Ensure proper application and curing. Apply the paint evenly and allow it to dry and cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Heat-set the paint. Heat-set the painted fabric using methods like ironing or using a clothes dryer to enhance adhesion and permanence.
Follow care instructions. Wash the fabric inside out using gentle detergents and avoid harsh cycles or bleach. Following the care instructions provided by the fabric paint manufacturer is essential.

How long does fabric paint last on fabric?

The longevity of fabric paint on fabric varies. With proper application, curing, and care, fabric paint can last for months or even years. Factors such as paint quality, fabric type, washing frequency, and handling influence its durability. Following care instructions is essential for prolonging its lifespan.

How do you wash clothes with fabric paint on them?

When washing clothes with fabric paint, it’s important to follow these steps:
Turn the garment inside out. This helps protect the painted design during washing.
Use gentle detergents. Choose mild detergents specifically formulated for delicate fabrics to minimize the risk of paint damage.
Select a gentle cycle. Opt for a gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine to avoid excessive agitation.
Avoid bleach and harsh chemicals. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals, as they can damage the fabric and the painted design.
Air drying or low heat. To preserve the paint, air dry the garment or use a low heat setting in the dryer. High heat can potentially damage the paint.

Can you use acrylic paint on fabric?

Yes, acrylic paint can be used on fabric. It offers a wide range of colors and is versatile for various fabric projects. Mix acrylic paint with fabric medium to improve flexibility and durability, and heat set it for best results.


Fabric paint offers a versatile medium for adding color and designs to textiles. While fabric paint can wash off to some extent, its washability can be influenced by some factors.

These are paint quality, fabric type, application technique, and proper curing. You can enhance the paint’s longevity and resistance to washing.

Thinning fabric paint, heat-setting, and selecting suitable fabrics can also contribute to more durable results. Remember to follow care instructions when washing clothes with fabric paint.

With proper techniques and care, fabric paint can provide lasting, vibrant designs on your favorite garments.


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