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

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.

Can You Paint on Polyester?


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.

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 To Polyester?

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?


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.

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


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.

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


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 Polyester Fabric

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.

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