How to paint fabric

how to paint fabric

You can use Fabric Paint to paint any item of fabric (sofas, clothing, car seats, curtains, lamp shades and more) and you can paint the fabric any colour (we have a wide colour range to choose from). If you're changing the colour of fabric though, you need to paint it a darker colour than it currently is (i.e. you can paint white fabric to black, but not the other way around).

In this blog we'll be changing the colour of a beige fabric chair to black.

Painting fabric – Watch the video

This short video shows you all the steps required to get the best results when painting fabric. In the video we change the colour of this beige fabric armchair to black, using our Fabric Paint in black.


Clean the fabric before painting

Before applying the Fabric Paint, you need to make sure the fabric is clean. If you’re going to be painting a small item like clothing just wash it in your washing machine (don’t use fabric softener). If you will be painting a larger item like a sofa or car seat, you should clean this first using our Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner.

Applying Fabric Paint

To help the fabric paint soak deep into the fibres of the fabric you should first dampen the surface. You can do this by either spraying water onto the fabric using a trigger spray bottle (you can use an empty one from your cleaning cupboard) or wipe water of the surface using a cloth. We find spraying the water on easiest.

The Fabric Paint can be applied in three ways:

  1. With a paint brush
  2. With a sponge
  3. With an airbrush

We recommend using either a paint brush or sponge, they give the best results and are easiest to use. We often use both in combination with each other too. Using an airbrush to spray the fabric paint on it best used for creating patterns you couldn’t make with a sponge or brush.

Black Fabric Paint

We start by dipping a brush into the Fabric Paint and then applying the paint to the hard-to-reach areas of the fabric chair. Once applied to those areas, you can then use the brush to brush the fabric paint onto all other areas. At anytime if the fabric starts to dry out you can always spray more water on.

Painting Fabric

As the fabric paint dries it can cause some of the fibres of the fabric to stick together. To stop this from happening brush the fabric with our Cleaning Brush about five or 10 minutes after applying the first coat of fabric paint.

If you were restoring the colour of the fabric then you probably only need to apply one coat, but as we are changing the fabric from beige to black, we need to apply a second coat of paint. The second coat is applied in the exact same way as the first.

Leave the fabric to dry overnight and then brush it once again with the Cleaning Brush. This will soften the fabric back to how it originally was.

brush to soften the fabric paint

Painting Fabric: Sponge or Brush

I mentioned before you can use a sponge or paint brush to apply the fabric paint, and said we often use both at Furniture Clinic. Both will give you the same look afterwards, but with the sponge you’re able to push to paint deeper into the fabric. So we often paint the fabric with the brush, and then apply more using the sponge and really work it into the fabric.

This method works best on piled fabrics like velvet. For tightly woven fabrics just the brush on its own is fine.

What you need to paint Fabric

You only need a few items to paint fabric, they are:

Fabric Paint
Paint Brush or Cleaning Sponges
Cleaning Brush