What is Spray Fabric Paint?

Terrie Brockmann

Fabric paint is specially formulated paint that contains glue-like additives to help the pigment adhere to the fabric. One of the most popular ways to apply it is to spray it on the fabric. There are several methods and equipment for spraying fabric paint onto a surface. Commercial artists normally use expensive equipment, such as airbrush guns and compressors, but amateur painters often have good results using cans of spray fabric paint that companies market for craft projects.

A can of spray fabric paint.
A can of spray fabric paint.

The different spray effects of spray fabric paint include a fine mist, thicker paint for stencil work, and paints for special effects. One of the special effects that a crafter can achieve with a spray can of paint is fake blood that designers formulate to run and drip. Usually crafters use this at Halloween. Another choice is to use a pump-style dispenser rather than a steady-stream trigger-operated nozzle. The pump typically gives a spritzed effect.

Puff paint is sometimes used for fabric projects.
Puff paint is sometimes used for fabric projects.

In addition to offering different spray effects, manufacturers offer several types of paint. Fabric paint is water-based acrylic. Companies offer puff paint that puffs up when heated, metallic, and other types. Crafters use the glow-in-the-dark paints for apparel, home decoration, or to create nighttime safety apparel.

People may use spray fabric paint on other surfaces, such as glass, plastic, and wood. When choosing paint, experts advise that people consult the label for the manufacturer's instructions. Many different fabrics work well with spray fabric paints, including cotton, denim, and leather. Often companies advise users to test the paint on the fabric before starting a project.

One of the advantages of fabric paint is that, once set, it is washable. Many paints not formulated for fabric do not adhere to the fibers and wash out or flake off. The product's instructions will instruct the user on how to set the paint. Some paint needs to be heat set. Another advantage of fabric paint is that it remains flexible when it is dry.

Some of the effects of specialized spray fabric paints include a product line designed to customize denim jeans. Some of the effects are the bleached look, the sun-faded effect, and a tea-stained look. Other popular paints for jeans are the glitter paint and opaque paint that gives a graffiti look.

Paint companies often do not label spray fabric paint as fabric paint, and a buyer should consult the labels of spray paints to determine if the company recommends them for fabric. For example, one company does not list fabric on the front label of its indoor-outdoor paint, but on the back. A consumer can research products online to determine their capabilities.

A consumer should read the label for other important information. In the United States, spray paint must meet the safety standards of being non-toxic and non-flammable. Another concern is whether the product is safe for use by children and health-compromised persons. Usually, children and people with certain disabilities need supervision and help.

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