How to Paint Polyester Fabric (9 Painting on Polyester Tips) (2023)

It covers a lot of mistakes. That is what makes paint so popular. Plus, it also is a cheap way to make sure something looks good. Going with paint means that with a few extra coats, you can lighten dark colors with ease. Something you can’t do with dye.

This task is going to be a lot like painting your walls. You need floor or table coverage, the right brushes and paint and make sure to wash the fabric first so the dirt doesn’t ruin your design. Use a stencil to get clear professional-looking designs.

To learn how to paint polyester, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about. This information helps you do a better job when you tackle a painting polyester hobby.

Tip 1: Polyester may not be good with dyes but it is good with the right paint. Make sure to get the paint that is designed to cover polyester fabrics.

Tip 2: Make sure to spray the polyester with a little water to make it damp. A little moisture helps the paint adhere to the fabric better.

Painting Polyester 101

Can You Paint on Polyester?

Does Paint Stick ToPolyester?

What Kind of Paint do You use on Polyester?

Does Fabric Paint Work on Polyester?

(Video) 5 Beginner Painting On Clothes MISTAKES to AVOID (save your artwork from cracks)

Best Fabric Paint For Polyester

Acrylic Paint on Polyester Fabric

How To Paint Polyester Fabric

How To Spray Paint Polyester Fabric

How To Remove Paint From Polyester Fabric

How To Get Acrylic Paint Out of Polyester Fabric

How To Get Latex Paint Out of PolyesterFabric

Some Final Words

Can You Paint on Polyester?

How to Paint Polyester Fabric (9 Painting on Polyester Tips) (1)

Yes, you can paint polyester and it is one of the best ways to either change the color on your polyester clothing or furniture or add great designs to upgrade its look. Polyester is resistant to dyes due to how it was made but painting the material is okay.

You can even lighten dark colors or add bright colored designs to make your shirt, jacket or pants, etc., pop. One paint you can use would be puff acrylic which when dry will puff out and provide you with a nice 3D effect.

(Video) How to Paint Polyester Upholstery Fabric with Fusion Mineral Paint™

The key will be in your preparation as you do need to cover the area you are going to be painting on. This coverage makes sure you have less mess to clean up when you are done. Make sure to spread out more plastic than you need to cover for any splatters or drops.

Also, you should have the right paintbrushes as foam brushes will not do for intricate work. Get the right tools and paint for the job so your hobby can be a success.

Tip 3: Polyester manufacturers do add a coating to their product that resists paint. Make sure to wash the material before painting in order to remove that coating.

Does Paint Stick ToPolyester?

Yes, it does stick, but one of the major drawbacks to painting polyester or any fabric is that the paint can crack when dry. There is little flexibility in paint when it dries and some times it does not move when the fabric bends or folds.

Adding a fabric medium to your paint will be the way to make the dry paint more flexible. That includes using acrylic paint on tightly woven polyester fabric. This combination gets you the best results as well.

If you have ever painted your house wearing polyester clothing, you should know that paint sticks very well to the clothing. You just have to wait till it dries to be able to pick it off those pants or shirts.

The key, of course, is to make sure you have the right paint to cover polyester fabric. Not all paints will cover the material and if they do they may not stick for too long after you are done.

It takes a little time to find the right paint so do not get discouraged. The paint or fabric stores can give you lots of advice on how to cover your polyester and have it stick.

Tip 4: using thinner coats may take more time to complete your project but they dry faster and more thoroughly than thicker coats will. If you use thick coats you can speed up the drying time by using your hairdryer.

What Kind of Paint do You use on Polyester?

It is possible to use fabric paint on polyester. Just make sure to read the label before you purchase the color you want. Double-check to make sure that paint is made to adhere and cover polyester.

Other people recommend good acrylic paint with a fabric medium. That last additive helps keep the acrylic paint flexible and avoids cracking. This is something you should talk over with the fabric store salespeople to make sure you get the right amount of fabric medium.

Then some people recommend latex paint but there are those who are allergic to latex. Putting that paint option on their clothing is not a good idea. But for non-latex allergic people, this is supposed to be better than using acrylic.

Also, the paint should be water-based. Oil-based paints do contain solvents that may not interact with the chemicals used to create the polyester fabric. This can be a trial and error option and test the oil-based paint first before committing yourself to that paint version.

Tip 5: Give the project about 24 hours to dry completely before washing the fabric. Some paints may need a heat setting first before the paint design sets in permanently. Check the manufacturer’s instructions first before using the iron. You can hand or machine wash.

Does Fabric Paint Work on Polyester?

How to Paint Polyester Fabric (9 Painting on Polyester Tips) (2)

It will depend on the type of polyester you are going to paint. Not all fabric paints are designed to work with polyester and those brands should state very clearly that they are not made for polyester.

There are some people who have claimed that they have successfully used those not for polyester fabric paints but that may just be an exception to the rule or they used a different type of polyester that is more flexible when it comes to adhering to different paints.

One of the keys to using fabric paint on polyester is to make sure that the fabric is not oily or has not been treated with a coating that resists paints or dyes. Then some fabric paints need to be heat set so you have to make sure that temperature won’t melt your polyester material.

There is more to painting fabrics like polyester than meets the eyes. Fabrics are not like the walls of your home where you can easily slap a coat of paint on them. There are always little factors that alter how you will paint or what paint you can use.

Tip 6: if you are confident in your painting talent you can paint freehand but if you are not using good stencils will help you create some interesting and very good looks.

(Video) FABRIC PAINTING | How to paint stretch and non stretch fabric

Best Fabric Paint For Polyester

Pigment dye is said to be the best option when you want to paint your polyester items. This option can only be painted or sprayed onto the fabric so you can use it like normal paint. Depending on your design you can use either method or both to create a wonderful work of art.

There are other options available like Deco Art fabric paints and Allure brand. The latter version is said to have a stretchy texture making it ideal for most fabrics. The former brand does not require any heat setting.

Then there is Jacquard which is an economical option and also there is Setacolor which can be used over dark colors. Also, no negatives have been reported for this brand of paint.

There are a lot of good brands out there, just make sure to read their labels. And if you want to get an idea of the cost and the many different options available just click here. On that website, you will find some spray options which may change the way you paint your polyester fabrics.

Tip 7: You want to use a tightly woven fabric to get the best results. A loose weave will let the paint seep through and undermine the intensity of the color you are using

Acrylic Paint on Polyester Fabric

If you want top-quality results, then you should use acrylic paint on tightly woven polyester fabrics. This will help the brighter color remain brilliant. But you do need to add a fabric medium to the acrylic paint if you want your work to last and not be wasted.

You can pick up the medium just about anywhere acrylic paint is sold. One word of warning, they may tell you that their fabric medium can only be used with their brand of paint. The secret is that you can mix brands and have no ill effect on the paint or your project.

Plus, acrylic paint comes in a fine color array so that you can really let your creative juices flow and create some great designs on your clothing, jackets, or outdoor furniture.

What the fabric medium does is help the paint go on smoothly and lets the paint dry without stiffening the fabric.

Tip 8: If by chance you see some wrinkles in your polyester material, iron them out first. The wrinkles will ruin your design if you let them stay

How To Paint Polyester Fabric

How to Paint Polyester Fabric (9 Painting on Polyester Tips) (3)

The technique used depends on if you are going to use a paintbrush or if you are going to spray the paint on the material. Each way has its own methods but you have to have a steady and confident hand for both options.

All you have to do is prepare the right paint according to the method and type of paint you are going to use. Cover the underlying area so you do not paint more than the fabric. Make sure to pick your design first so you know which direction you are heading and how much material you need to paint.

Don’t forget to add the medium and give the paint 24 hours to dry so that any movement does not ruin your work. Also, mix in the right amount of fabric medium, if needed. Then paint like you are creating a work of art or covering a bedroom wall.

Your design will dictate your style as well as the type of paint you use.

Tip 9: When painting, either by brush or by spray, make sure you insert some paper or cardboard between the layers of the fabric. This will prevent you from spraying different sides of the material. Or you can use a thin layer of plastic.

How To Spray Paint Polyester Fabric

The prep work is about the same as brush painting so we won’t go over those points again. The key to spray painting polyester fabric or any fabric is not to stop and start. This will give you lots of splatters each time.

You will want one steady continuous spray over the whole material. This gives you a nice even look and avoids those splatters that can’t be removed. Also, depending on the color you are covering, you should do 2 or 3 light coats until you cannot see the underlying original color.

Let each coat dry first before applying the next one. In addition to all of that, you should plan on using more spray paint than you figured. If you plan on using 2, buy 4 cans instead. These spray projects have a tendency to use up a lot of spray paint.

Fabric paints do come n spray options and should not be that expensive.

(Video) How to Paint a Fabric Chair | Upholstery Painting Tutorial and Honest Review of Results

How To Remove Paint From Polyester Fabric

For most paints, you should be able to remove dried paint from polyester fabric the same way you would remove it from walls, etc. Use a little thinner or turpentine and pour about 1/2 cup into a little bowl.

Then spread the paint-stained fabric over the bowl’s opening and tip the bowl upside down. Let the thinner go through the material then rinse right away with clean water. Use running water coming from a tap. You can repeat it as necessary.

When the paint stain is gone, gently rub some laundry detergent over the area and then rinse. When that is done, wash as usual. The trick to using thinner is to make sure it is designed to work with the type of paint you have on the polyester material.

If it isn’t designed for it, use turpentine instead or go buy the brand that does.

How To Get Acrylic Paint Out of Polyester Fabric

How to Paint Polyester Fabric (9 Painting on Polyester Tips) (4)

First, scrape away as much of the paint as you can. Whether moist or dry remove as much as will come off using normal scraping techniques. Then if you can turn the fabric over and rinse from the back.

This will keep the paint from being moved deeper into the fabric. After this gently rub some liquid laundry detergent over the stain and rinse with warm water. Repeat as necessary and wash as normal when the stain is gone.

Acrylic paint will dry very quickly, so you need to remove the wrongly placed paint as quickly as possible. You may have to interrupt your painting to do this. This is not always an option and you should choose the best time for you to remove the stain.

After all, you may have acrylic-filled paintbrushes to think about and if they dry, then you have another problem on your hands. Once dry acrylic paint is almost impossible to remove.

How To Get Latex Paint Out of PolyesterFabric

When it comes to latex, you have to move quickly as well. It can become permanent if you let it dry. Not always but the majority of the time, you may have a lot of difficulties removing this version of paint from polyester.

Pre-treat the stain before it dries by wetting it or rinsing it in warm water. Then launder as usual. If the paint has dried, get some rubbing alcohol and put some on the stain. After that brush the stained area to remove as much paint as possible.

When that is done, you should wash the garment right away. Of course, you can use paint thinner for both latex and acrylic paint. It just has to be the type that works on those paints.

Turpentine is another option but the problem with these two alternatives is that they may ruin the polyester fabric. You have to proceed with caution when using chemicals as there is n way to tell how they will interact with the chemicals used to create the material.

Some Final Words

Painting polyester or any fabric can be rewarding. You can see how talented you are and your designs may become the envy of the neighborhood. The key is to approach painting polyester with caution. Too many things can go wrong including dropping paint on the wrong spots.

Be patient and make sure to prepare the paint to adhere to the fabric or use the right fabric paint for polyester. Then protect the other side with cardboard or plastic inserts.


What paint works on polyester? ›

Pigment "Dye" works well on most synthetics and is nice because it leaves no feel or "hand", but can only be painted or sprayed on. If you want to dye your polyester fabric all one uniform color, iDye would be what you use, in a bath according to instructions.

Can you paint on 100 polyester? ›

Acrylic paints are probably your best bet. You can buy a fabric medium that will add some flexibility to dried paint so it doesn't crack once it's on your fabric. I recommend acrylic because polyester is a manmade fabric and acrylic is a water-based paint.

Can you paint onto polyester? ›

Conclusion. All the fabric paints tested on polyester were hand washable once heat set. To help inhibit the flow of fluid paints, pre-treat the fabric with a primer such as Jacquard No flow. Ensure that the paint is heat set for the appropriate amount of time as per the manufacturer's instructions.

Can you paint polyester fabric with fabric paint? ›

Yes, you can BUT…. Try to stay away from any product that applies the paint with Heat, as Polyester fabric will be damaged with temperatures as low as 150 F…and will start to melt in the 220–260F range.

How do you paint over polyester? ›

Polyester cannot be painted over, but it does not need to be primed. It does, however, need to be sealed. The sealer can be allowed to dry and then be wet sanded, or it can be sealed, and continue 'wet on wet' to base coat. Follow the TDS of the sealer for dry times, etc.

Is acrylic paint good for polyester fabric? ›

Acrylics are the most reliable, popular choice of paint for a polyester surface. Many traditional fabric paints and fabric markers will also work. Some brands like Jacquard even offer unique products designed specifically for use on synthetic fabric.

How long do you press 100 polyester? ›

For 100% polyester garments, this is usually around 385°-400°F and 45-60 seconds at medium pressure. When the machine reaches temperature, pre-press your T-shirt to smooth out any wrinkles and eliminate any moisture.

What dye Works on 100 polyester? ›

Polyester has to be dyed using Disperse dyes in boiling water. These dyes are formulated to dye polyester or nylon but will not dye natural fibres such as cotton thread that may have been used to sew the garment.

How can I permanently paint fabric? ›

The easiest and most versatile to paint on fabric permanently is by adding a fabric medium to any color of acrylic paint. There is a big advantage to using acrylic paint to make permanent fabric. Because you are using acrylic paint, there are countless colors of DIY fabric paint to choose from.

What kind of paint can I use on fabric? ›

It's usually best to use acrylic fabric paint.

Fabric paint, which are also known as textile paint, is most commonly made from an acrylic polymer. This acrylic, which is bonded with a color and then emulsified, makes the paint durable against routine use, multiple washes, and sunlight.

Can acrylic paint be used as fabric paint? ›

Can Acrylic Paint Be Used On Fabric? Yes, acrylic paint works on fabrics, however, you will need to mix your paint colors with an acrylic medium or textile medium. You can not use regular acrylic paint on a piece of fabric without the medium and expect it to work.

What paint will stick to polyester resin? ›

Yes you can paint over poly resin. You will want to use a primer first. Automotive type works great or even Krylon primer. To acheive a clean paint job, you will want to wipe the hull down with some denatured alchol to remove the wax that is in the resin.

Does polyester need primer? ›

usually if you use polyester then you dont require too much urethane. 2 coats maybe to fill scratches and fine tune the surface. you dont want to use just polyester and put your basecoat directly on it. either a sealer or urethane primer is usually required.

Can you use paint thinner on polyester? ›

Steps to Remove the Paint:

Begin by pouring about a half a cup of the paint thinner into the cup with a spout. Spread the fabric over a bowl so the stain is in the center. Pour the thinner through the stained area on the fabric. Rinse with clean water.

What is a polyester primer? ›

MP246 Polyester Primer is a fast drying, two component, high build primer/filler that can be used in areas where VOC compliance is required. This sprayable gray polyester is ideal for jobs where high build and filling may be required for sand-blasted surfaces.

Is acrylic paint the same as fabric paint? ›

The biggest difference between normal fabric paint and acrylic paint is that acrylic paint is much thicker, which can cause flaking of the paint and an uncomfortable stiffness to the fabric.

How do you make acrylic paint look good on fabric? ›

By using a spray bottle filled with water, lightly spray the whole surface of your fabric. The wet paint applied to the wet fabric allows the paint to adhere with a more even coating. Before you begin, use a little water to thin out your paint. This helps you to apply the paint more evenly.

What is the heat press setting for polyester? ›

Know Your Fabric

100 percent cotton requires the highest temperature, which is around 380 degrees Fahrenheit. Polyester responds to a more delicate 270, so be careful with it! Many types of fabrics take well to the heat transfer between 315 and 350, but if you're not sure, consult your heat press machine's manual.

What heat setting do you use on polyester? ›

The ideal temperature is less than 300 degrees. Some polyester fabric is more sensitive than others and may require a temperature of as low as 280 to not see scorch marks.

What happens if you heat press polyester? ›

Yes, you can heat press on 100% polyester. Lower temperatures and longer press time is recommended when you heat press polyester with HTV. The higher temperature on the heat press machine may cause the fabric to scorch.

Is polyester difficult to dye? ›

Polyester fiber retains little moisture and does not transport aqueous fluids. The hydrophobic nature of polyester fiber makes them difficult to dye (they require a carrier) and to finish in aqueous media.

What happens if you use Rit dye on 100% polyester? ›

While Rit DyeMore dyes polyester, Rit All-Purpose Dye does not. Accordingly, if you are using Rit All-Purpose Dye, the thread will remain its original color. This can create an interesting design effect, but it's important to keep this in mind if that's not the effect you want.

Can you dye fabric that is 40% polyester? ›

For this reason, DYLON recommends not dyeing any fabric in which the synthetic element is greater than 20%.

How long does paint last on fabric? ›

How long a fabric paint remains viable depends on the brand and how you store it when not in use. Most brands will last up to 5 years or longer, provided the paint is sealed off from oxygen and protected from heat and light.

What spray paint will stay on fabric? ›

Rust-Oleum 12 oz. Navy Fabric Spray Paint is an easy way to refresh your worn outdoor fabrics with color. Fabrics stay softer to the touch than regular spray paint.

Do you need special paint to paint fabric? ›

Latex interior paint adheres as well to many fabrics as it does to walls, as you may have noticed on your own clothing after you finished a painting project. Fabric medium adds flexibility to the paint for projects that require a little give, such as a pillow cover.

How do you paint fabric fast? ›

Open the windows and turn fans on to help move the air around. To increase the air flow in the room, open all of the windows. For an even faster drying time, set some table or standing fans up and point them near the fabric that you're drying. The moving air will help your paint dry faster.

What is the best dye for polyester? ›

The best dye for wool, silk, nylon, and Cordura is acid dye. The best dye for synthetic fabrics including polyester and acrylic is disperse dye.

What is the difference between polyester and acrylic paint? ›

Acrylic resin (but not acrylic emulsion, which is the basis of acrylic paint) is a thermoplastic, which means it is one of a group of plastics which can be heated and manipulated repeatedly, whereas polyester resin and epoxy are thermosetting plastics, which use heat or a catalyst to solidify into a solid mass that won ...

Can you dye polyester without heat? ›

Polyester is highly hydrophobic, as such high temperatures are needed (120-130C) to swell the fibre and open it up for dye penetration. However, to dye at low temperatures, a carrier with high affinity for polyester is needed to carry the dye at low temperatures.

What fabric paint is best? ›

Purists say the best fabric for painting on is 100% cotton with a tight weave (an off-white or cream fabric will dull the paint slightly). But good results can be obtained with rayons and silks too.

How do you apply acrylic paint to fabric without cracking it? ›

Use Fabric Medium

By adding fabric medium, you're turning your fine art acrylic paint into high-quality fabric paint! It gives your paint that extra stretch it needs to stop it from breaking when the denim fibers are pulled apart (during wear).

Is oil or acrylic paint better for fabric? ›

As it dries, oil paint becomes brittle, and for this reason it may eventually crack. However, you may want to paint an image on fabric using oil paint because of its superior blending abilities and its color quality.

Which acrylic paint is best for fabric? ›

Liquitex is a brand of mediums with a broad range for nearly all your needs. Their fabric medium is ideal for acrylic paint, as the fluid incorporates an acrylic polymer to produce ultimate adhesion and flexibility. The result is workable acrylic paint for fabrics.

Is acrylic fabric paint permanent? ›

Durable washer and dryer safe permanent fabric paint that won't crack or peel from extensive wear and holds up to repeated washes. The highly pigmented acrylic fabric paint has a smooth consistency, excellent covering strength, and dries quickly.

Which brush is best for fabric paint? ›

Best Brushes for Fabric Painting - Decorative Painting, Ceramics, Fabric Painting, Crafts
  • Silk Brushes compare to Fabric Brushes Silk brushes are soft and soak up large amounts of dye. ...
  • Round Tip Brushes. ...
  • Tiny Round Tip Brushes. ...
  • Flat Tip Brushes. ...
  • Liner Brushes. ...
  • Sumi Brushes. ...
  • Chinese Wash Brushes. ...
  • Foam Brushes.

Do you add water to fabric paint? ›

Diluting or Thinning Fabric Paint

You can also add a little water to retail fabric paint, but take care not to dilute the paint too much. If you add too much water, the paint will definitely bleed (even on poly fabrics).

Should fabric paint be mixed with water? ›

Watering down thick paint leads to separation of pigment and binder resulting from the added water. It's a fast way to clog a spray bottle and also problematic during printing, when the added water has a tendency to leech away from the printed pigment and halo around it.

How much pigment do you add to polyester resin? ›

Because pigments tend to detract from the mechanical properties of the resin no more pigment should be added than is necessary. Use 6% addition by weight for strong dark colours but never more than 10%. Polyester pigment can also be added to epoxy resin at no more than 5% by weight. Always stir thoroughly.

Is polyester resin paintable? ›

Can you paint over polyester resin? Yes. Cured finishing resin may be painted or gelcoated over, it can also be wet sanded and buffed to a glossy finish.

How long does polyester resin take to set? ›

These are usually polyurethane resins that can cure within minutes to an hour or two. Quick-curing resins are better suited for those already skilled in resin. i.e. I don't recommend these resins for beginners. Polyester resins are generally touchable in about 12 hours.

What paint will stick to fabric? ›

Acrylic paint dries quickly, is available in a nearly limitless assortment of colors, and is permanent once dry. It is colorfast and relatively flexible, and thus is suitable for use on fabric. If fabric paint is not available, acrylic paint is an excellent stand-in.

How do you paint fabric without it getting stiff? ›

  1. Mix acrylic paint with Golden fabric medium according to directions included with the medium.
  2. Apply the paint to fabric.
  3. Allow fabric and paint to dry thoroughly.
  4. Place protective towel or other surface over ironing board.
  5. Turn the fabric over and iron from the back side to set paint and soften in one step.

Does acrylic paint work as fabric paint? ›

Can Acrylic Paint Be Used On Fabric? Yes, acrylic paint works on fabrics, however, you will need to mix your paint colors with an acrylic medium or textile medium. You can not use regular acrylic paint on a piece of fabric without the medium and expect it to work.

Are fabric paint and acrylic paint the same? ›

The biggest difference between normal fabric paint and acrylic paint is that acrylic paint is much thicker, which can cause flaking of the paint and an uncomfortable stiffness to the fabric.

Can I use acrylic paint on fabric without medium? ›

The most important result of adding medium, is that after your fabric has dried, the paint remains fairly flexible. When you use acrylic paint on fabric without medium, your fabric becomes fairly stiff with a rough texture.


1. Latex Paint Upholstery Painting Tips YES you Can Paint Fabric W/O Chalk Paint Latex Paint Hack
(Miss Fix This)
2. How to Paint Fabric | Fusion™ Mineral Paint
(Fusion Mineral Paint)
3. Resist and Gutta Tips for Fabric Painting
(The Paint Spot)
4. Acrylic paintings on Polyester film - 2018/present
(Christopher Farrell - Artist)
5. How To Paint Fabric With Chalk Paint - 2 Years Later!
(The Home Genie)
6. How To Paint Fabric and Decoupage Painted On A Chair JRV Decoupage
(Jami Ray Vintage)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Last Updated: 02/19/2023

Views: 6411

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (54 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Birthday: 1999-09-15

Address: 8416 Beatty Center, Derekfort, VA 72092-0500

Phone: +6838967160603

Job: Mining Executive

Hobby: Woodworking, Knitting, Fishing, Coffee roasting, Kayaking, Horseback riding, Kite flying

Introduction: My name is Msgr. Refugio Daniel, I am a fine, precious, encouraging, calm, glamorous, vivacious, friendly person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.