When it comes to painting on fabric, two types of paint are often compared: fabric paint and acrylic paint.
So, which one is the best option for you?
In this article, we will look at the key differences between fabric paint and acrylic paint so that you can make an informed decision about what paint to use on your fabric projects.
Difference between acrylic and fabric paint
The biggest difference between fabric paint and acrylic paint is that fabric paint is specifically designed for use on fabric. In contrast, acrylic paint can be used on a variety of surfaces. This means that fabric paint will usually have a softer feel and be less likely to crack or peel when used on fabric.
Here is a quick overview of the key differences between fabric paint and acrylic paint:
- Fabric paint is specifically designed for use on fabric, whereas acrylic paint can be used on a variety of surfaces.
- Fabric paint is usually softer and less likely to crack or peel, whereas acrylic paint is more durable.
- Fabric paint is available in a wide range of colors, while acrylic paint can be mixed to create different colors.
- Fabric paint can be applied directly to fabric, while acrylic paint needs to be diluted before it can be used on fabric.
- Fabric paint is usually less expensive than acrylic paint.
What Is Fabric Paint?
Fabric paint is a type of paint that is specifically designed for use on fabric.
It is usually made from a pigment and a binder and often includes other ingredients like fillers and extenders.
The binder in fabric paint helps to adhere the pigment to the fabric, while the other ingredients can help improve the paint’s feel, consistency, and color.
Is Fabric paint acrylic?
No, fabric paint is not acrylic. Fabric paint is usually made from a different type of binder than acrylic paint and often has different ingredients as well.
However, some fabric paints on the market are made with an acrylic binder.
These fabric paints can be more difficult to find and are often more expensive than traditional fabric paints.
What Is Fabric paint used for?
- Fabric paint is most commonly used for crafting and fabric projects.
- Fabric paint can be used to add color to fabric, create designs on fabric, or make fabric projects more fun and interesting.
- Fabric paint is also sometimes used for fabric printing, fabric dyeing, and fabric painting.
Pros and cons of Fabric paints
There are both pros and cons to using fabric paint.
Some of the pros of fabric paint include:
- Usually very colorful and bright.
- Very easy to use.
- Can be used to create a wide variety of designs on fabric.
- Very affordable.
Some of the cons of fabric paint include:
- The paint can be very thick and heavy, which can make it difficult to work with.
- It can also be quite translucent, which can make it difficult to get a precise color match.
- The paint can often be streaky, which can make it look messy.
What Paint to use on Fabric?
When choosing a fabric paint, it is important to consider the type of fabric you will be painting, the level of durability you need, and the project you will be working on.
If you are looking for very durable fabric paint, you may want to consider acrylic fabric paint.
If you are looking for a fabric paint that is less likely to bleed or run, you may want to consider fabric paint with a water-based binder.
What Is Acrylic Paint?
Acrylic paint is a type of paint that is made from pigments suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion.
Acrylic paint is water-based, and it can be used on a variety of surfaces. In addition, acrylic paint dries quickly, and it is known for its durability.
What Is Acrylic paint used for?
- Acrylic paint is most commonly used for painting on canvas, but it can also be used for painting on fabric, wood, metal, and glass.
- Acrylic paint is also sometimes used for fabric printing, fabric dyeing, and fabric painting.
- Additionally, acrylic paint can also be used for crafting purposes.
Pros and cons of Acrylic paints
There are both pros and cons to using acrylic paint.
Some of the pros of acrylic paint include:
- Acrylic paint is very versatile. It can be used on a variety of surfaces.
- It is very durable. It is resistant to fading and chipping.
- The paint dries quickly.
- It is usually very affordable.
Some of the cons of acrylic paint include:
- Can be difficult to remove from fabric.
- It can bleed or run when used on fabric.
- Acrylic paint can sometimes be more expensive than other types of fabric paints.
Can you use Acrylic paint on fabric?
Yes, you can use acrylic paint on fabric. However, it is important to note that acrylic paint can sometimes bleed or run when used on fabric.
If you are concerned about this, you may want to consider using a fabric paint with a water-based binder.
Learn more here on how to use acrylic paint on fabric to get the best results.
Is Acrylic paint permanent on clothes?
Yes, acrylic paint is permanent on clothes. Once it dries, it will be very difficult to remove. Fabric paint is usually more durable than other types of fabric paints.
But there are ways of removing acrylic paint from clothes in case you want to get rid of it.
Fabric Paint vs Acrylic Paint (Head to Head)
The difference between fabric paint and acrylic paint in terms of binder is that fabric paint typically has a water-based binder.
In contrast, acrylic paint typically has an acrylic polymer emulsion.
The water-based binder in fabric paint makes it less likely to bleed or run when used on fabric, while the acrylic polynuclear emulsion in acrylic paint makes it more durable.
Verdict: The paints are made of different binders
Acrylic paint vs fabric paint: Versatility
In terms of versatility, acrylic paint is more versatile than fabric paint. Acrylic paint can be used on a variety of surfaces such as fabric, wood, metal, and glass.
Fabric paint is typically only used on fabric. But again, Fabric paint can be more versatile than acrylic because it can be used on different types of fabric and it doesn’t crack or peel. So it all depends.
Verdict: Acrylic paint is more versatile
In terms of absorbance, fabric paint is more absorbent than acrylic paint.
This means that fabric paint will soak into the fabric more than acrylic paint. Acrylic paint will sit on or “float” on the fabric’s surface.
Verdict: Fabric paint is more absorbent.
Fabric friendly paint
In terms of being fabric-friendly, fabric paint is more fabric-friendly than acrylic paint.
This means that fabric paint is less likely to bleed or run when used on fabric. Fabric paint works best with both natural fabric and synthetic fabric.
On the other hand, regular acrylic paint can sometimes bleed or run when used on fabric.
Verdict: Fabric paint is more fabric friendly.
Canvas friendly paint
Fabric paints are not a match when it comes to being canvas friendly. Acrylic paint is the clear winner when it comes to being canvas friendly.
This is because fabric paints are not as thick as acrylic paints, and they will soak into the fabric more.
Canvas layers are typically thicker than fabric, so they can handle the thickness of acrylic paint better.
Verdict: Acrylic paint is more canvas friendly.
Acrylic paint vs fabric paint: Stiffness
When it comes to stiffness, acrylic paint is stiffer than fabric paint.
One possible reason why acrylic paint is stiffer than fabric paint is that acrylic paint contains more pigments and less binder than fabric paint.
Binders are liquids that keep the pigments together, and because acrylic paint contains more pigments, it needs less binder to keep them together.
This makes the paint more viscous (thicker) and causes it to dry more slowly.
It’s crucial to avoid freezing acrylic paint as it can result in a significant increase in stiffness.
Freezing the paint alters its properties, causing it to harden even further.
In contrast, fabric paint maintains its flexibility and elasticity, making it generally less stiff than acrylic paint.
Verdict: acrylic paint is stiffer.
Paint drying ability depends on a number of factors, including the type and quality of the paint, the fabric, and the environment.
In general, however, acrylic paint will dry faster than fabric paint. This is because acrylic paint has a water-based binder.
Fabric paint usually has a latex-based binder, which takes longer to dry. So when you are looking for fabric paint that dries quickly, acrylic paint is the better option.
Verdict: Acrylic paint dries faster
Fabric paint vs acrylic paint: Effect of washing
The effect of washing on fabric paint and acrylic paint is similar. Both the fabric and acrylic paint will usually fade or become less vibrant after being washed.
Will fabric paint wash off? Fabric paint is typically more durable than acrylic paint and is less likely to fade or wash away.
Verdict: Fabric paint is more durable.
Use of washing machine
You can use a washing machine to wash fabric that has been painted with fabric paint or acrylic paint.
However, it is important to note that fabric paints are typically more durable than acrylic paints.
This means that fabric paint is less likely to fade or wash away when washed in a machine.
Verdict: Fabric paint is more durable.
Acrylic paint vs fabric paint: Durability
When it comes to durability, acrylic paint is more durable than fabric paint.
This means that acrylic paint will last longer before it needs to be reapplied. Fabric paint can sometimes chip or wear away over time.
Acrylic paints lasts longer because they have a stronger binder.
Verdict: Acrylic paint is more durable
Chances of correction
If you make a mistake while painting with fabric paint, it is easier to correct than if you were using acrylic paint.
This is because fabric paints are more absorbent than acrylic paints.
Acrylic paints typically sit on the surface of the fabric, so they are more difficult to fix if you make a mistake.
Verdict: Fabric paint is easier to correct.
Fabric vs Acrylic Paint
|Fabric Paint||Acrylic Paint|
|Binder||Water-based binder||Polymer emulsion|
|Versatility||Less versatile||More versatile|
|Absorbance||More absorbent||Less absorbent|
|Fabric friendly paint||More Fabric friendly paint||Less Fabric friendly paint|
|Canvas friendly paint||Less Canvas friendly paint||More Canvas friendly paint|
|Drying ability||Takes longer to dry||Dries faster|
|Durability||Less durable||More durable|
|Use of washing machine||less likely to fade or wash away||more likely to fade or wash away|
|Effects of washing||less likely to fade or wash away||more likely to fade or wash away|
|Chances of correction\Ease of use||Easier to correct||More difficult to correct|
How to Turn Acrylic Paint Into Fabric Paint
If you want to turn your acrylic paint into fabric paint, all you need to do is add acrylic fabric mediums to the paint.
Acrylic fabric mediums are liquids that help the paint adhere to the fabric. You can find fabric medium here.
- Pour your acrylic paint into a bowl or container.
- Add acrylic fabric medium to the paint and stir until it is mixed in.
- Use your paint as normal.
How to Paint Fabric with Acrylic Paint
If you want to paint fabric with acrylic paint, you will need to prepare the fabric first.
This means that you will need to wash the fabric and let it dry completely. Once the fabric is dry, you can start painting.
- Wash your fabric and let it dry completely.
- Place the fabric on a flat surface.
- Begin painting with your acrylic paint.
- Let the paint dry completely before moving the fabric.
How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Fabric
Once you have finished painting your fabric, you will need to seal the paint or heat set it. This will help protect the fabric and keep the paint from fading or washing away.
You can use a clear acrylic sealer or a fabric sealer for this.
- Spray your fabric with a clear acrylic sealer or fabric sealer using a spray bottle.
- Let the fabric dry completely before using it.
Can You Use Fabric Paint on Wood
You can use fabric paint on wood, but it is not the best option. Fabric paint is designed to adhere to fabric, so it might not stick as well to wood.
If you want to use fabric paint on wood, you should test it out on a small area first.
Read More: How to Seal Paint on Wood
Can Fabric Paint Be Used on Canvas
You can use fabric paint on canvas, but it is not the best option.
Fabric paint is designed to adhere to fabric, so it might not stick as well to canvas.
However, you can try fabric paint on a small section of the canvas to see if it works for you. If it does not stick, you can try acrylic paint or another type of paint.
Is Acrylic Paint Washable on Fabric
Acrylic paint is not washable on fabric. This means that it will be permanent if you spill or get acrylic paint on your fabric.
So you should be careful when using acrylic paint around fabric. But there are ways to make acrylic paint washable on fabric.
For example, you can add a fabric or acrylic medium to the paint to make it more absorbent. Or you can use a fabric sealer to protect the fabric from spills.
Verdict: Fabric paint is more durable and easier to correct but is not washable on fabric. Basic acrylic paint is not washable on fabric, but there are ways to make it more absorbent.
Textile Paint vs Fabric Paint
Textile paint is a type of fabric paint. It is designed to adhere to fabric and provide a durable finish.
Fabric paint is also designed to adhere to fabric, but it is not as durable as a textile paint.
Textile paint is a better option for fabric that will be used frequently or washed often.
Verdict: Textile paint is a better option for fabric that will be used frequently or washed often.
Difference Between Fabric Ink vs Fabric Paint
You should be aware of a few key differences between fabric ink and fabric paint before deciding which is right for your project.
Fabric ink is typically thinner and less viscous than normal fabric paint, making it easier to control and resulting in a more consistent coverage. It also dries faster, so you’ll need to work quickly when using it.
On the other hand, fabric paint is thicker and more opaque, giving you more control over the final look of your project.
In addition, it takes longer to dry, so you’ll have more time to play with it before it sets.
So which should you use? If you’re looking for a more precise coverage, fabric ink is the way to go.
And if you want more control over the final look of your project, fabric paint is a better choice.
And if you’re unsure, why not try both fabric and acrylic paints and see what works best for you?
Here are more comparison articles:
Best Acrylic Paint for Fabric
The best acrylic paint for fabric really depends on your needs and preferences. If you’re looking for a fast-drying, easy-to-use paint, fabric ink is a good option.
And if you want more opacity and control over the final look of your project, fabric paint is a better choice.
Here are our top 3 picks for the best fabric paint:
1. Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint
- WHY BASICS? – Liquitex invented artists’ acrylics back in 1955 and we’ve specialized in acrylics ever since. Basics gives you the perfect balance of quality and economy. Made for all artists, Basics acrylics are student-quality.
- HIGHEST QUALITY PIGMENTS – Basics uses the the same high quality pigments and rigorous manufacturing process as our professional range. Pigments are ground with tiny reinforced ceramic beads to give fine dispersion, great color development, strength, and brightness.
- VERSATILE – Basics acrylic dries quickly and can be cleaned up with water while wet. It can easily flex, and sticks to almost any surface including canvas, paper & board, wood, masonry, metal, styrofoam, stone, ceramics, and textiles.
Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint is a high-quality, water-bast that’s perfect for artists of all levels.
It comes in various colors and can be used on fabric and wood. The paint is fast-drying and easy to use, making it the perfect choice for any project.
2. Golden Open Acrylics
Golden Open Acrylics are high-quality, versatile paint that can be used on a variety of surfaces.
They are perfect for fabric, as they can be easily turned into fabric paint and will seal to the fabric surface. They can also be used on wood or canvas and are washable with water.
These fabric paints are formulated to dry slowly, giving you more time to work with them before they set.
They’re also highly pigmented, so you can achieve a rich, vibrant color on your fabric. Additionally, they also work well with different acrylic mediums.
3. Reeves Acrylic Paint
- ACRYLIC PAINT SET – Our premium acrylic set is a painting kit that features highly pigmented, high coverage smooth paints that bring your landscape, still life, portrait or abstract creation to life. Perfect for art and DIY crafts
- VIBRANT COLORS – This set includes 18 colors; Phthalo Blue, Light Green, Viridian, Phthalo Green, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Payne’s Grey, Mars Black, Titanium White, Lemon Yellow, Medium Yellow, Orange, Peach, Crimson, Violet, Blue Lake
- SURFACE GUIDE AND INSPIRATION – Enjoy limitless creative options! Achieve beautiful results on wood, clay, fabric, and metal. This artist set can also be used as wood paint, glass paint, fabric paints, rock painting, and more!
Reeves Acrylic Paint is another great choice for fabric painting. The paint is water-based and comes in a variety of colors.
It’s easy to use and dries quickly, making it a great choice for any project.
The paint is also machine-washable, so you can easily keep your fabric looking like new. It also works best with natural and synthetic fabrics.
Is fabric colour waterproof?
Some fabric colors are designed to be waterproof, while others are not. It is important to read the label and manufacturer’s instructions before using fabric color to determine if it is waterproof. In general, heat-set fabric colors tend to be more water-resistant than non-heat-set fabric colors.
Is fabric paint and acrylic paint same?
No, fabric paint and acrylic paint are not the same. Fabric paint is specifically formulated for use on fabrics and is designed to be permanent, flexible, and machine washable. Acrylic paint, on the other hand, can be used on a variety of surfaces, including fabrics, but it may not adhere well to fabric without the use of a fabric medium.
What’s the difference between fabric colour and acrylic color?
The main difference between fabric color and acrylic color is their intended use. Fabric color is specially designed for fabrics and is formulated to adhere to fabric fibers, withstand washing, and resist fading. Acrylic color, on the other hand, is a versatile paint that can be used on various surfaces, including fabrics. Still, it may require a fabric medium to improve its adhesion and durability on fabric. Fabric color is also available in a wider range of colors specifically suited for fabric, while acrylic color has a broader range of colors suitable for different art projects.
So there you have it, a head-to-head comparison of fabric paint vs acrylic paint.
As you can see, you should be aware of a few key differences between acrylic and fabric paint before deciding which is right for your project.
Fabric paint is more durable and easier to correct, but it is not washable on fabric. Acrylic paint is not washable on fabric, but there are ways to make it more absorbent.
We hope you found this article helpful! If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.