Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Fabric?

As an artist, it is known how useful acrylic paints truly are. People use this paint for many projects whether that be on canvases or with children on paper.

Acrylic paint is great for creating beautiful artworks, but does it also work well on fabrics? This article will be answering this question for you.

Acrylic Paint

What Is Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic paint is a type of oil-based paint that has been developed to mimic the properties of watercolors and oils. It was first introduced in the early 1900s by American artists like Ben Long and Charles Sheeler. 

The main difference between these two types of paint is that acrylics have a higher drying time than other types of paint. This means that they can dry slower than oil based paints.

They’re also more flexible than oil based paints as well. These qualities make them perfect for fabric painting.

Can Acrylic Paint Be Used On Fabric?

The answer to this question is yes! In fact, there are so many ways to apply acrylic paint onto fabric. Some people prefer using brushes while others prefer spraying their fabric with acrylic paint. 

However, we recommend using rollers because it allows you to create amazing designs without having to worry about brush strokes. As well as this, rollers are easily accessible and appropriate for everyone, more so than spray cans.

How To Apply Acrylic Paints On Fabric

The best way to apply acrylic paints onto fabric is using a roller. If you don’t own a roller, then you can always purchase one from your local craft store.

When applying acrylic paint on fabric, you want to start out with a clean surface. 

Make sure your fabric is completely free of any dust particles or dirt before starting. Once you’ve cleaned your fabric, you can begin rolling the paint onto the fabric.

Start at the center of the fabric and roll outward until you reach the edges. Be careful not to get too much paint on your hands because it may rub off on your fabric once you’re done.

If you’re looking to create a design on fabric, you should avoid using brushes. Brushes tend to leave marks on your fabric which could ruin the look of your piece. Instead, use a sponge brush to spread the paint across the fabric.

Once you’ve finished spreading the paint, let it dry completely before moving on to the next step. Depending on the size of your project, you might need to wait anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours before moving on to the final steps.

Final Steps For Painting With Acrylic Paints

Once your fabric has dried completely, you can move on to the last part of the process. Using a spray bottle, spray some water onto the painted area. This will help remove any excess paint that isn’t sticking to the fabric. 

After spraying the water, allow the fabric to air dry. If you’d prefer to speed up the drying process, you can place the fabric inside of a clothes dryer. Just be sure to keep the door closed while doing so.

When you’re ready to complete your project, you can either frame it or hang it up. If you choose to frame it, you should use a matte finish. Matte finishes are easier to maintain over time since they won’t attract fingerprints or smudges. 

If you decide to display your artwork without framing it, you can use a clear coat to protect it from fading. Clear coats are especially important if you plan on displaying your work outdoors.

Do You Need to Prep the Fabric Before Painting?

Before painting your fabric, you should make sure that it’s clean and free of any dust particles. It’s also a good idea to wash your fabric in cold water first. Cold water helps prevent wrinkles in your fabric.

If you’re worried about getting stains on your fabric, you can use soap and water instead. Wash your fabric by hand or machine depending on what type of fabric you have.

You can also use an iron to press out creases in your fabric. Ironing your fabric can help eliminate wrinkles and ensure that your fabric looks its best when you’re done painting it.

You should only use acrylic paint on fabric if you know how to properly prepare it.

What Is Fabric Medium?

Fabric medium is used to help acrylic paint adhere to fabric. There are two types of fabric medium: permanent and semi-permanent.

Permanent fabric medium is designed to permanently bond acrylic paint to fabric. Semi-permanent fabric medium bonds acrylic paint but doesn’t damage the fabric as easily. You can find both types of fabric medium at most art stores. 

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Fabric Without a Medium?

If you don’t want to use fabric medium, you can still apply acrylic paints to fabric. However, you’ll need to do more than just spread the paint on the surface.

You’ll also need to let the paint dry for several days. The longer you let the paint dry, the better chance there is that it will stick to the fabric.

How Long Does It Take To Dry?

Depending on the size of your canvas, you may need to wait anywhere from a few hours to several days before moving on to the finishing touches.

If you’ve decided to use a frame, you’ll probably want to leave the piece outside for a few weeks until it dries completely. If you’re hanging it up, you can put it somewhere where it gets direct sunlight.

Once your fabric has dried completely (which could take a couple of days), you can start working on the final details of your piece.

For example, you might want to add some finishing touches like borders or frames. You can create these elements using whatever materials you have around the house. You can even use items found in your own home!

Fabric Medium Benefits

When you use fabric medium, you’re able to get acrylic paint onto fabric without having to worry about damaging the material. This makes it easy to paint anything from clothing to pillows.

In addition to this, fabric medium allows you to paint on fabrics that would normally be difficult to work with. For instance, you can use fabric medium to paint on leather or suede.

The biggest benefit of using fabric medium is that it gives you control over the amount of paint you use.

When you use regular acrylic paint, you’re limited to the amount of paint that comes in a tube. With fabric medium, however, you can mix different colors together to achieve the exact shade you want.

Steps For Using Fabric Medium

1. Start by choosing a suitable fabric medium. You can find many options online or at local craft stores. Once you’ve chosen one, measure out the amount you think you will need.

The easiest way to determine how much medium you need is to look at the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Next, apply the medium to your fabric. To avoid wasting any medium, lay down a sheet of paper first. Then, place the fabric directly on top of the paper.

Apply medium to the fabric using an old toothbrush. Be careful not to brush too hard or else the fibers of the fabric may become damaged.

3. After applying the medium, wait until it dries completely. If you’re planning to use multiple colors, then it’s best to let them dry separately. Otherwise, you can speed up the drying time by placing your fabric under a fan.

4. Once the medium has dried, start painting! It’s important to remember that fabric medium doesn’t come off easily. So if you accidentally spill some medium while painting, don’t panic. Simply wipe away the excess medium with a damp cloth.

5. Once you’re finished painting, allow the piece to dry completely before removing the fabric medium. Once the fabric is dry, you should be able to remove the fabric medium easily.

What Supplies You Will Need

  • Fabric medium – You’ll need enough fabric medium to cover the entire area of your canvas. Some people prefer to buy small amounts of medium so they can experiment with different shades. Others prefer to purchase large containers of medium so they can create larger pieces.
  • Acrylic paint – You’ll need a variety of colors to complete your project. Make sure that you have enough paint to last throughout the process.
  • Brushes – You’ll also want to have brushes available to create various strokes and patterns. Choose brushes that are appropriate for the type of painting you plan to do.
  • Other supplies – Depending on the size of your project, you may also need other tools such as scissors, tape, etc.

How To Store Fabric Medium

When storing your fabric medium, make sure to keep it in a cool, dark location. If you store it in direct sunlight, it could melt. Also, try to keep your fabric medium away from heat sources. This will help prevent it from becoming sticky or melting.

Fabric Medium Tips

  • Always read the label when purchasing fabric medium. Different brands of medium contain varying levels of water content. Some brands are more absorbent than others.
  • Don’t forget to clean your brushes after each use. Wash them thoroughly with soap and warm water. Dry them well before reusing them.
  • Keep your fabric medium in a cool, dark place. Avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures. Heat can cause the medium to expand, which makes it difficult to work with.

Pros and Cons of Using Acrylic Paint On Fabric

Acrylic Paint

One of the biggest benefits of acrylic paint is its versatility. With just a few basic materials, you can create a wide range of unique art projects. However, there are also several drawbacks associated with this method. Here are some pros and cons of using acrylic paints on fabric:


  • Easy to clean – Since acrylics are non-water based, they aren’t affected by moisture. They can simply be wiped away with a wet rag.
  • Can withstand high temperatures – Unlike oil-based paints, acrylics can withstand extremely high temperatures without burning. This means you won’t have to worry about damaging your artwork when working outdoors.
  • Great for beginners – Since acrylics are relatively easy to learn how to use, they are great for beginners. In addition, they tend to dry quickly, making them ideal for creating quick paintings.


  • May not blend well – While acrylics are versatile, they often lack the ability to blend together. This means that if you apply multiple layers of acrylic paint, they may appear uneven.
  • Not suitable for all types of fabrics – Although acrylics are very versatile, they don’t always work well with certain fabrics. For example, they may bleed through clothing or leave behind an oily residue.
  • Can stain clothing – If you accidentally spill acrylics onto clothing, they may leave stains that take time to remove.

Tips For Creating Artwork With Acrylic Paints

If you want to create beautiful artwork, but find painting too tedious, then acrylics might be right up your alley. There are many ways to achieve stunning results with acrylic paints, including these tips:

Start Small

When starting out with any new technique, start with smaller pieces. It’s much easier to get comfortable with the process once you’ve mastered a small project.

Mix Colors Carefully

To avoid mixing color incorrectly, mix two different shades of acrylic paint at one time. Then add another shade until you reach the desired intensity.

Work Slowly

Once you’re familiar with the basics, try adding more details to your piece as you go along.

Experiment with Texture

Try experimenting with different textures. You can use sandpaper, stamps, stencils, etc. to add interesting patterns and designs to your artwork.

Add Glitter

Glitter adds sparkle to any artwork. Simply sprinkle it over the top of your finished piece.

Create Collages

Combine various items into one large piece. For instance, combine photos, drawings, text, and other elements into one large canvas.

Don’t Forget the Background

Make sure to include a background in your artwork. A simple white background will make your piece look cleaner and brighter.

Keep Track of your Supplies

Make sure to keep track of your supplies so you know exactly what you need to complete your next project.

Practice Makes Perfect

The best way to become proficient at any skill is practice. So, set aside some time every day to work on your craft.

Have Fun!

Painting is supposed to be enjoyable. If you enjoy doing it, you’ll likely end up producing better artworks.

Will Acrylic Paint Wash Off on Fabric?

Acrylic paints are water based, which means they should wash off easily. However, there are still a few things you need to consider before using acrylics on fabric.

First, remember that acrylics are usually designed to stay wet longer than oils. This means that if your fabric gets wet from rain or sweat, it could potentially soak up the paint.

Second, acrylic paints are generally thicker than oil paints. As such, they may leave behind a sticky residue when applied to fabric.

Finally, acrylics are not recommended for delicate fabrics like silk because they may cause damage to the fibers.


How To Remove Acrylic Paint From Fabric

There are several methods for removing acrylic paint from fabric. Some of them involve soaking the fabric in solvents to dissolve the paint. Others involve washing the fabric with soap and hot water. Still others involve rubbing alcohol or acetone to remove the paint. Here are a few suggestions for each method:

Soak the Fabric in Solvent

If you have an old pair of jeans that has been worn through, you can use them to soak up the leftover paint. Fill a sink or tub with warm water and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid.

Place the stained garment into the solution and let it sit for about 30 minutes. After this period of time, rinse out the stain with cold water.

Wash the Fabric with Soap and Water

Wash stains away by hand. First, pour a small amount of detergent into a bowl. Then, dip a clean cloth into the mixture and rub the stain until it disappears. Rinse the fabric thoroughly with lukewarm water. Repeat this process until all traces of the stain disappear.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol works well for removing acrylic paint from clothing. Pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto a cotton ball. Dip the cotton ball into the stain and then rub it against the surface of the fabric. Continue this process until the stain disappears.


Use acetone to remove acrylic paint from fabric. Mix 2 parts acetone to 1 part denatured alcohol. Apply the solution directly to the stain and allow it to dry. Once the stain is completely gone, wash the area with soap and water.


Mix equal amounts of white vinegar and water and apply to the stain. Allow it to sit for about 15 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water.

Tips For Using Acrylic Paints On Fabric

When painting on fabric, always keep these tips in mind.

1. Be patient. It takes time to get used to working with acrylic paints.

2. Don’t overwork the paint. The more pressure you put on the paint, the more likely it will crack.

3. Keep brushes short. Longer bristles tend to spread the paint thinner.

4. Always work on a protected surface. If you’re going to be doing any painting outside, make sure you cover the area with plastic sheeting.

5. Let the paint dry before moving on to another step. Acrylic paints need some time to cure before being moved around.

6. Clean brushes regularly. Make sure you wipe them down after every stroke. This helps prevent the paint from drying too quickly.

7. Avoid using turpentine as a cleaning agent. Turpentine dries out the fabric and makes it brittle.

8. Never mix different types of paint together. Doing so could cause the paint to become thin.

9. If your fabric starts to look dull, don’t panic. Simply spritz it with water and it should come back to life.

10. If you accidentally spill paint on a new piece of fabric, just blot it up immediately. Do not try to brush it off. Instead, place it in the freezer for about 20 minutes. This will help set the paint and stop it from spreading.

Can You Use Other Paints For Fabric?

If you do not have acrylic paint with you, and are curious about other options, there are many other types of paints which can be used on fabrics too!

Below are some alternative paint options:

  • Watercolor paints are great for creating designs on fabrics. They are also good for adding color to other mediums such as paper, wood, canvas, etc.
  • Tempera paints are excellent for creating patterns on fabric. These paints are best applied with a palette knife or a sponge.
  • Oil paints can be used for creating designs on fabric. However, they require an oil-based varnish to seal the design once it’s completed.
  • Gouache paints can be used for coloring fabric. Just like tempera paints, they must be sealed with an oil-based varnish.
  • Spray paints are great for creating patterns on fabric that won’t smear or run when washed. They can also be used for decorating furniture.
  • Metallic paints are great for creating metallic designs on fabric. They can be used alone or mixed with other colors.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we have discovered that acrylic paint can be used on fabrics.

Acrylic paints are one of the most versatile mediums available today for they are easy to use and provide endless possibilities for designing and decorating.

As long as you follow the guidelines above, you’ll find that acrylic paints are perfect for making beautiful projects for yourself and others.

Amanda Brown

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