Having trouble selecting the best fabric paint for your craft project? You don’t have to endure the pain of doing all that research or waste your hard-earned cash or your time doing trial and error trying to find a model that suits you. Allow us to give you a hand.
We’ve done the legwork of finding the top, most reliable textile paint brands and models on the market, and we’re certain that the items on our list will come in helpful.
Whether you want to decorate cotton, poly-cotton blends, denim, leather, or canvas, there’s a paint product on our list below for the job.
We’ve also outlined the factors to consider when choosing the right model of textile paint, plus a few helpful tips on use alongside other essential information to help you along.
Need a quick decision? Here's our top 4 picks in a short overview!
Before we jump into the list, let’s have a quick look at the considerations to make when shopping.
Things to Consider Before Buying Fabric Paint
These are some of the considerations we made during our research:
- Method of application – there are marker paints and there are those that are meant to be sprayed or applied using a brush. Marker paints have a pointy tip and a soft bottle, and the paint is meant to be squeezed out. These are perfect for outlines, letters, numbers, and other fine details. Spray-ons and brush-ons are ideal for larger areas like trees, cars, and backgrounds.
- Opacity – how transparent or opaque is the paint? Darker fabrics require more opaque paints and vice-versa.
- Thickness – for textured, puffed, or 3D appearances, heavy/thick paint is required. Those who desire a watercolor-like effect ought to use thinner/lighter paint. Lighter paint is also easier to use with an airbrush system.
- Consistency – top quality paint for clothes and other items is one whose thickness is uniform. There shouldn’t be clumps in there.
- Curing time – while some paints take more than 2 days to cure, there are others that will be all dried and cured in just a few hours. We prefer the fast-curing ones.
- Permanence – some fabric paints can be washed off while others are meant to hold onto the garment as long as it lasts. On this post, we’re focusing on the permanent ones. Good permanent fabric paintings are machine washable without the risk of washing off.
- Versatility – is the paint meant for just fabric or does it work on other substrates as well? Besides clothing, some varieties work on plastics, wood, glass, canvas, leather, and other materials.
With that aside, it’s time to go into the juicy section of the article.
Our Top 12 best fabric paint reviews in 2021
At the top of our list is the Tulip 6-Pack Dimensional Glow Fabric Paint, which is packed with great features from the ability to glow in the dark to awesome longevity and cost efficiency.
As the name suggests, the pack contains six bottles. Each of these contains a high-quality paint of a different hue; the hues range from white to green.
The paint charges in sunlight and fluorescent bulb light and what you need to do is expose it to light for a few minutes to have a nice glow lasting hours afterward. Black light also helps light it up.
If you’re in a hurry and want to use your garment soon after painting it, then this is the paint to use.
Unlike the brands that take 12 hours or more, this one dries in just 4 hours. What’s more, the application is permanent and will not peel or crack.
People that have machine-washed their garments have affirmed that the design remains good as new and that machine-washing doesn’t ruin it.
The bottles are easy to squeeze,and they have a precision tip,so you don’t need a brush to apply your designs. The capacity of each bottle is 1.25 fl oz, which is small enough for most people to hold.
Tulip’s fabric paint is manufactured meticulously with the highest standards. The product is non-toxic, and that makes it safe for you and your kids.
Being super versatile, this product can be used not just for fabric but also for paper, wood, and glass. It’s one high-grade, affordable product that anyone will be privileged to experience.
If you need an option that gives you a wide range of hues to suit just about any project you have in mind, consider getting the Crafts 4 ALL Fabric Paint Set.
This product is available in 24 different colors ranging from green and blue to pink and yellow, making it very suitable for everyday art enthusiasts and professional artists.
Being very glossy and vivid, the paints create attractive designs. You can create beautiful 3D designs as well as 2D designs with the advantage being that the artwork won’t peel or crack.
The opening is extremely thin,and the bottle is soft and easy to squeeze, making it super simple for you to create drawings, doodles, or write letters on your substrate.
And talking of substrate, the paint is uniquely developed for fabric,but that’s not the only thing it’s meant for.
You can use it on a wide array of textured and plain surfaces like glass, wood, canvas, paper, ceramic, and more.
We imagine that health is a critical factor when you’re looking for fabric paint. Well, tell you what?
The product is odorless and non-toxic. It even has an ASTM D-4236 certification as proof of safety for health.
If there’s one thing that Crafts 4 All is known for, it is its dedication to the satisfaction of the artist.
The brand produces this product with the highest standards and even offers you a lifetime warranty as proof of their faith in it.
Coming in 8 different colors, the Jacquard Products JAC1000 Set is very popular among professionals and hobbyists alike, mostly because of their smooth and easy application as well as the relatively high opacity.
These paints are contained in little 2.25 oz containers, and being round with a wide opening, these containers allow you to use different methods of applications from brushes to precision-tip applicators.
The paints are extremely versatile, working perfectly on a wide selection of substrates from furniture to shoes and clothing.
Furthermore, the items that are painted with them can be laundered with no risk of destroying the designs’ color or form.
Unlike some other varieties that we’ve seen, which are gloppy and hard to manage, this one is medium-thin and easy to spread and manage.
The color is pretty intense, and with its moderately high opacity, it comes out vividly on the substrate.
We’d recommend it for light rather than a dark substrate, but if you have to use a dark substrate, ensure you place a white base coat first.
Some people find the paint to be too thick for their projects. Luckily, the paint can be thinned with water so if your application needs something thinner than what you get, you know what to do – just add some water.
The Jacquard Products JAC1000 is made in the USA, with the highest standards and conformity to ASTM D4236 to ensure the safety of the customer while using it.
Easy on the budget and huge on the fun, the Scribbles Shiny 3D Paint makes it greatly easy for you to add dimensional designs to a broad range of items including backpacks, t-shirts, wood, glass, and more.
Whether you’re an experienced crafter or just a beginner, this 20-color pack is very appropriate, as it comes with features to make the application process a cinch.
Firstly, the bottle is soft and can be squeezed with ease,and again, the precision tip at the top enables you to apply the paint with or without a brush.
The precision tip is very helpful,especially for drawings, letters, and doodles.
The paint comes out seamlessly when you squeeze the bottle so you ought to go easy on it and squeeze slowly but if too much of it comes out, not to worry; the paint is easily maneuvered with fingers and toothpicks.
The paint dries in just a few hours, leaving a permanent, ultra-shiny design.
Unlike many other products, which leave a leather-like feel on the garment, the paint dries to a flexible design, meaning there’s no discomfort for the user. The flexibility is also helpful for preventing peeling and cracking.
As a non-toxic product, the Scribbles Shiny 3D Paint is safe for use by not just you but also your child(ren). If they have a classroom project and you’re looking for appropriate fabric paint, this could be it.
Do you love 3D effects? You can create some really exceptional ones with this paint. The shine and the glitter in the colors will stand out easily.
If you’re a professional, we imagine you have diverse projects to work on, and you need as many colors as possible,and more importantly, you need exceptional quality when looking for fabric paint.
In that case, we’d encourage you to go for the 24-pack 3D Fabric Paint by Castle Art Supplies. This set gives you 24 paint bottles with a capacity of 1 fl oz (or about 29 ml) each.
The colors are widely assorted, ranging from sky blue and emerald green to titanium white and burnt umber. In fact, each of the 24 bottles has its own color that is different from the rest.
With that color diversity, you can work on a broad array of projects without any problem.
If you love 3D or puff effects, this is the paint to use. It’s quite thick and apt for bringing just about any artwork to life with puff or 3D.
The vibrance of the colors makes things even better,and something amazing is that the colors don’t fade even after washing the substrate many times.
Being a quick drying product, the Castle Art Supplies Fabric Paints suitable for school kids who might not be very patient with the artwork.
It is also non-toxic, and thus you’re sure they’re not in any considerable risk using the product.
The box that’s used to package the paints looks nice, and many people have affirmed that it makes the product an elegant gift.
And talking of gifts, when you purchase this, you get three brushes as a bonus.
When it comes to versatility color diversity, almost nothing beats the ARTEZA 30-pack Permanent Fabric Paint.
This is amazing 3-D paint that is adored and used by a countless number of professional artists, art enthusiast, art students for the limitless possibilities and benefits it offers.
First off, the 30 set offers a dazzling array of colors and effects/finishes. Ranging from ultramarine blue and fluorescent pink to orange and red, the colors allow you to handle just about any project you have in mind.
Finishes ranging from metallic and glitter to neon and glow give you the power to bring your projects to life just the way you prefer.
The colors are rich and thick,and they have a wonderful ability to give that 3D effect you want to bring out.
The bottles are nicely designed with pointed tips that allow the paint to come out with high precision. With that, you can write letters and numbers, and create lines and other intricate designs without hassle.
Because of the paint’s incredible ability to hold on to surfaces, it can be used on a wide variety of surfaces.
People mainly use it for clothes but there are those using it on leather bags and shoes and also plastics and wood, and they say it works great.
Arteza is one of the brands that are very serious regarding quality. Their paint is ACMI certified to prove adherence to quality standards.
Its non-toxic nature makes it appropriate for items like baby bibs and of course for kids’ school projects.
For those of you who love a good glow in the dark effect, the Neon Nights UV Black Light is wonderfully appropriate. The set comes with 8 different luminous colors that work with not only UV lights but also black lights.
Yellow, blue, pink, and orange are some of the hues you’ll find in there.
These are original paints made in Germany with the highest standards of manufacturing, which translates to exceptional quality.
The pigment is so powerful that applied on dark substrates, the painting is still visible. Due to the potency of the pigment, the glow effect lasts, even with machine-washing.
Neon Nights is one of the easiest to use fabric paints we’ve come across. The paint is contained in small cans,and people use a brush to apply it.
But, there aren’t limits, as you can use other tools including sponges and airbrushes.
This product is best used for clothes though it can be used for canvas and leather, with good results.
We’ve noted that most folks using it during events like Easter and Christmas, and especially Halloween, due to its decent glow, which is perfectly effective for creating a spooky porch.
Though the Neon Nights UV Black Light is on the expensive side, the paint is without a doubt, worth it. It is easy to apply,and the quality is excellent.
Watch out for those enormous discounts, which at times, allow customers to purchase the product for half the price or less.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when looking for the best fabric paint for t shirts. Does it wash off or fade? Can you safely wash the painted item in a washing machine?
What about the drying time? Is it fast and does the paint dry soft and flexible?
The Tulip 20403 Soft Fabric Paint is one of the few models that are so well manufactured as to be on the plus side of all these considerations.
Firstly, the paint is very smooth and easy to apply. It dries fairly quickly, in about 5 hours, and you can set it by holding an iron on steam setting a half inch over the surface. The fantastic thing is that it dries extremely soft and flexible.
If you’ve had a bad experience using paint that scratched your (or the user’s) body due to its stiffness, then we recommend you give this paint a try. You’ll be amazed.
Something many users love about this product is its opacity. As a matter of fact, this is one of the fabric paints with the highest opacity and do you know what that means?
It’s effective on most colors. The Matte Glacier White shows up vividly on black and dark shades.
Some paints start peeling or fading when the item is washed in the washing machine; this is not one of those poor-quality ones. It bonds permanently with the fabric and holds on even when machine-washed.
On its Amazon page, you’ll see various options for the color and the finish. These range from Fiesta Orange and Glitter Sterling to Matter Glacier White and Velveteen Yellow.
Do you want to create intricate 3D designs like filigree? The Tulip Slick 3D Fabric Paint Set will be very helpful.
It comes as a set of 6 bottles of assorted colors containing some of the highest quality paint for fabric.
This is arguably the most appropriate product for creating drawings, doddles, and words. That’s because the paint is opaque vibrant in color, and thick, and it comes out smoothly.
Moreover, the tip is pointy and very suitable for precision application. The paint is very easy to manage, and with a toothpick or your fingers, you can easily create outlines or spread it on your substrate as you like.
Clumping is one of the issues associated with thick paints but guess what? You won’t face that problem with this model. It’s thick but also smooth and even, making the application a breeze.
This is one of the sturdiest fabric paints you’ll find. When you wash the painted item, the colors remain vibrant. There’s no fading or washing.
The fast-drying attribute of this paint is another benefit we noted. After painting your fabric with this, you can wear it the next day without any worries.
Perhaps you want you this on your kids garments,and you want to know if it is safe. We’re glad to let you know that the paint is non-toxic and odorless. Definitely suitable for everyone.
We often see complaints about paint drying to a scratchy, stiff or peeling finish. If you’ve used fabric paints before, you’ve probably experienced this setback,and you know how devastating it can be.
If you want best fabric paint for denim that doesn’t come with such issues, we recommend you try the Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint.
This product, which comes in a 4-oz bottle, adheres well to both polyester and cotton clothes, without the problem of cracking or peeling.
Many designers who use it for other surfaces, including plastic and paper, have confirmed that the product also works well with these items.
The paint comes out a little viscous, about the thickness of a pencil lead, making it very suitable for creating 3D effects such as filigree.
By doing dry brushing on the designs, you can give the designs an aged-metal appearance.
Another awesome benefit is that the paint is easily manageable. With a toothpick, you can create very fine details.
On Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint’s page on Amazon, you’ll see a drop-down menu that allows you to select the color.
Now, this function offers you incredible flexibility, allowing you to choose your preferred color option among dozens of options.
The hue options range from golden yellow and leaf green to coral and champagne.
There are also effect options ranging from metallic and glitter to glow and puffy. The assortment is just wonderful,and you’ll have to see it for yourself.
Lastly, the bottle is easy-squeeze and comes with a precision tip, making operation a breeze.
For a paint that is not only easy to use but also durable, we recommend the FolkArt Fabric Paint Beginner Set.
This one comes with 8 bottles of high-grade paint, each with a capacity of 2 oz and assorted colors ranging from wicker white and lemon custard to brilliant blue and licorice.
The reason as to why it’s dubbed a beginner set is that it is easy to use and inexpensive.
With our experience with fabric paints, we’d expected something this good to cost a tad more,and we have to admit it; we were surprised.
8 2-oz bottles of great paint made in the US going for less than 20 bucks isn’t a deal you come by every day.
Having pointy tips, the bottles make the apparently hard task of writing letters or other intricate drawings on fabric a piece of cake.
When you need to create borders, lines, and other fine designs, this is the paint to use.
You will fall in love with the paint’s ability to hold up. Once the paint has cured, the fabric can be washed by hand or in the washing machine, without any fading or peeling issues.
Some users told us that even after using bleach to remove stains on the garment, the painting held on pretty good.
The FolkArt Fabric Paint dries relatively quickly,and when it does, it doesn’t feel stiff. Rather, it feels soft and comfortable for the person wearing the garment.
A medium is a gel or liquid that you add to paint to give it certain desired effects like gloss, fast drying time, texture, and thickness.
Now, the Ceramcoat Acrylic Paint Medium by Delta Creative serves a variety of functions, most importantly to prevent your paint from drying to that annoying dry, crispy feel.
The medium helps your paint penetrate the fabric and prevents bleeding. It gives the paint longevity, helping it to remain vivid on your garment for many years.
It creates such strong bonds that machine washing the fabric will not cause the painting to fade or lose value in any way.
Odor and toxicity are some of the problems that users highlight when using paint mediums, and if you want to avoid them, then choosing this medium will be a great move. It contains no odors or toxins.
This product is made for use with the delta ceramcoat acrylic paint but do you know why it’s so preferred by students and professional artists?
It works with other paints as well. You can use it with Jacquard textile fabric paint and most of the top acrylic paints.
Using it is a piece of cake. You just mix it up with your paint and guess what? It seamlessly blends in with the paint.
The medium doesn’t affect or offset the color of your paint. It comes out dry but soon afterward grows clear.
Many mediums out there are problematic to clean up,but as this one is water-based, clean-up is incredibly easy.
Best Fabric Paint Brands on The Market
We were surprised to discover that the trickiest part of painting on fabric, is not doing the painting but rather choosing the best fabric paint.
While there are tons of textile paint brands out there, the truth is, not all offer you good paint that will give you professional results.
We’ve done the legwork of finding the most reliable brands for you. Buying from these, you’re far less likely to be disappointed than walking to a store and buying without considering the brand.
I Love To Create
I Love To Create is a family-owned business that was founded in 1946 by Erma Duncan, who had a remarkable talent and passion for art.
The company had a humble beginning, being run from the family garage, but due to the dedication of the Duncan family, it grew to become a world-class supplier of art supplies.
Today, the brand offers some of the finest quality fabric paints,and in addition to that, it offers canvas, mason jars, stencils, and other art tools.
Some of the brands under the larger I Love To Create brand include Tulip, Scribbles, Duncan, and Aleene’s.
Jacquard Products, a Northern California brand that was founded over three decades ago, is another family-owned art brand offering customers some of the best paint for fabric.
This leading manufacturer and supplier uses top-quality materials,and through bulk production and the support of its large customer base, it’s able to offer high-grade textile paint at great prices.
Its customers include home crafters, students, hobbyists, and even professional artists.
Formerly known as Delta Technical Coatings, Delta Creative was founded in the 1960s by Wally Raley.
Creativity, service, and quality. These are the three words that perfectly describe what draws crafters everywhere to this brand.
Their products are the epitome of innovation in art, and that’s the pillar that has kept Delta Creative at the top of the international art arena for decades.
Today, Delta Creative is owned by the billion-dollar Diethelm Keller Group, which is known to provide some of the highest-quality products around the world.
Castle Art Supplies
Castle Art Supplies is an online-based brand with offices in Wyoming, US.
From brushes and paper to paint and pencils, Castle Art Supplies offers artists almost everything they need to work on their projects.
Although the quality of their products is top-notch, the prices are amazingly low, thanks to their numerous new and returning customers, who buy enough to allow the brand to offer huge discounts.
Crafts 4 All
If you asked someone who’s been in using art and craft products like paint and brushes for a long time, and who has been buying their supplies on the internet, there’s a pretty high chance they’ve heard the name Crafts 4 All.
This is one of the most familiar brands among DIYers and professional artists specializing in watercolor, acrylics, and fabric painting.
Crafts 4 All is online-based selling most of their products through stores like Amazon and eBay and of course, through their site.
Tips for Painting on Fabric
If you’re a beginner, telling you that fabric painting is the easiest thing you’ll ever do would be a big fat lie. It’s a fairly complex exercise that will need your dedication and patience.
However, the learning process can be fun if you love art and once you get the hang of it, fabric painting will come naturally to you and you’ll get to have even more fun.
In this section, we’re not really giving you a step by step guide for painting on fabric, but rather listing some of the most important tips to help you avoid mistakes along the way.
Gather the materials
If you want to paint fast, focused, and without hassle, then you got to get the materials beforehand.
That includes, most importantly, the paints (all the colors you need), the stencils, the brushes, applicators, and sponges, and of course, the substrate. Pre-organize these materials to maintain your focus.
It goes without saying that you should make a sketch first. Draw it on a piece of paper and if the design is good, then draw the same sketch (lightly) on the part of the substrate you’re designing. It’s best to use a graphite pencil.
It is likely that the paint will bleed through, and if the garment is thin, then the other side will be smeared. To prevent that, place a piece of cardboard between the front and back sheets of the fabric.
Beware of wet paint
When using permanent fabric paint, there’s one thing you have to keep in mind – wet paint. Avoid making mistakes because if you apply paint to the wrong part, the mistake will remain and there’s nothing you’ll be able to do about it.
Avoid also, to have paint on your hand, because you’ll likely transfer it to the garment. Be sure to clean your hands between colors to avoid smearing.
An experienced fabric painter will tell you that the drying time indicated on the bottle is something to be taken seriously.
Heat set it
The manufacturer of the fabric paint might not tell you to heat set it, but heat setting is a vital step that you needn’t skip.
It helps set the paint, ensuring that even when the garment is washed by hand or machine, the design doesn’t fade or come off.
To heat set the design, just hold a hot iron a few inches over it, being careful not to touch the painting.
After that procedure, turn the fabric inside out and iron it for a few minutes.
Important Note: heat setting should be done at least 24 hours after painting.
Different Types of Paint for Fabric
Fabric paints assorted varieties, and having a good experience is a lot about getting the right types. Below are a few ways of sorting textile paint.
Under this category, we have transparent paints and opaque paints.
Transparent textile paint brings out more subtlety in the effects and is perfect for lighter colors,but it’s not very apt for darker-colored fabrics.
Opaque paints have a strong pigment that totally covers up the colors underneath the application. These come in helpful when you’re painting over darker fabrics.
There are thin and thick/heavy paints. Thin paints are perfect for making washes, as they tend to bleed into the surrounding areas, while thick paints are good for stamping, or creating puff or 3d effects.
Thicker paints are easier to control as they don’t bleed into the surrounding areas and again, if the thickness is too much, a liquid medium can be used to thin them.
Method of application
Some paints come in squeezable bottles with a precision tip, and these are ideal for outlines, doodles, and any application that needs high precision.
Others come in cans, and these can be applied with a brush or a precision tip applicator if the paint is thin enough to suck.
And there are, still, others, that come in an aerosol can, meant for be sprayed onto the garment.
Safety Issues to Think About When Working with Fabric Paint
As long as you’re using good quality fabric paints like the ones listed in our review above, you really have nothing to worry about.
We recommend that before you purchase the paint, you make sure that it is non-toxic and odorless.
You can get information on that on the manufacturer’s/seller’s description and more essentially, from what the users/reviewers are saying.
Certifications like ACMI are a good sign, showing that care has been taken in the product’s manufacture to ensure the user is safe.
We find that safety precautions while using textile paint are more about housekeeping practices and common sense. Following these general guidelines will ensure that you’re absolutely safe:
- Use hand gloves – even if the paint is labeled non-toxic, it’s always good to use a pair of gloves because even if the paint doesn’t actually have elements that can harm you, it can be hard to remove.
- Avoid smearing the paint on your body or clothes or the floor.
- In case there’s a chance the paint will get in your eyes, put on some goggles.
- If the paint has an odor, then use it in a properly ventilated space.
- If you use cooking tools or utensils in the preparation of paints, don’t use the items for cooking or food preparation anymore.
- If you get an allergic reaction while using the paint, then stop using it.
- Once you’re done painting, close the paint bottles and dispose of the empty ones. Paint bottles should be stored safely, away from children.
- Supervise your children when they use fabric paints and ensure you walk them through the safety precautions and especially warn them not to taste or ingest the paint.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. Are acrylic paints the same as fabric paints?
Not quite. Acrylic paint is a lot thicker,and due to its formulation, it flakes and becomes uncomfortably stiff when applied to the fabric.
Q. How can I use acrylic paint for fabric?
Some people add paint medium to acrylic paint to thin it and use it on fabric, and while this method works, paint that is formulated specially for fabric is the best option.
Q. Can I wash a fabric painting?
Yes, but you need to give the paint time to set first. Most models take between 12 and 48 hours to dry but the best thing is to check the bottle for the specific drying time,and most require heat setting.
Also, you need to check the bottle for information on washing. Is the paint fine with both hand and machine washing?
Q. How do I make the fabric paint permanent?
The paint is either formulated to last, or it’s not. However, there’s something you can do to help the paint last – heat setting.
Once the paint is dry, maybe after 24 hours, hold a steaming iron over the painting for a few minutes.
That way, you make it hold tightly onto the garment so that it doesn’t fade even when washed in the machine.
Q. Will the textile paint make my fabric stiff?
High-quality textile paint doesn’t make the fabric stiff. If you notice that the model you’re using is stiffening your garment, consider adding some suitable paint medium first,and you’ll likely bring out a soft finish.
Q. What can I decorate with fabric paint?
Fabric paint is meant for clothing items made of cotton, denim, and poly-cotton blends. Besides that, some textile paints can also be applied to other materials such as wood, plastic, leather, and canvas.
The best fabric paint is one that takes your needs into consideration. Most importantly, it dries nice and soft, not becoming stiff and scratchy. It is also odorless and non-toxic, and it’s easy to apply and manage.
There are many types of textile paint,and while one type may be suitable for one artist, it may be totally unsuitable for another.
That’s why we strongly advise you to go through the buying guide and scrutinize each product’s features.
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