Can Acrylic Paint Be Used On Fabric? (Beginners Guide)

Acrylic paint is one of many paint options known for its fast drying speeds. It’s available in dozens of different colors, providing people with plenty of different shades to choose from to meet their needs. 

If you’re thinking about buying it and using it, you may be asking the question, “Can you use acrylic paints on wet fabric?”

Use this guide as your reference to learn more about acrylic paint, and using it on different fabrics.  

If you were wondering if acrylic paints works on fabric, you'll be glad to know that it's safe to use on different fabrics.

You can apply the paint to the fabric using spray bottle as you normally would with any other material that you’re using. 

The key to getting it to look good is to use heat set acrylic paint to seal the spray paint in place, leaving the painted fabric looking vibrant and refreshed while keeping the paint from dripping down throughout other parts of the fabric.  Don't think that heat setting your project will make it invulnerable to natural wear and tear.

Acrylic Paint On Shirts

While people commonly mistake most fabric paints with acrylic paints or oil paints, the two products are different. 

Acrylic paints are known to have a thicker consistency. 

Because it does have that thicker consistency, it tends to flake a bit faster than the fabric paint.

However, it’s still usable on different types of fabrics, especially when you’re using a high quality fabric medium or medium or high heat which is an acrylic polymer liquid blend, that has no pigments, which you can mix with your paints to give your painted fabric a beautiful soft feel.

Fabric Medium: Why Do I Need It For Painting? 

The fabric medium is an ingredient commonly combined with best acrylic paint mixture. Fabric medium helps paint to be ready to use on different fabrics. 

When the fabric medium gets added to the acrylic pains, fabric medium makes it easier to use on fabrics while preventing the colors from flaking with ease, which would typically happen over time when helps acrylic paint adhere on fabric without a medium.  

So, what happens if you don’t buy fabric medium to use it on acrylic paints when acrylic painting fabrics? The fabric painted surface will begin to crack. 

You may feel like you’ve wasted your time applying apple barrel paint to the fabric because the finished painted area or painted fabric projects will begin cracking, ultimately taking away from the overall appearance of the chalk paint job. 

How To Best Paint Fabric With Acrylic Paint

If you're planning for fabric painting projects using acrylic paint, be sure to follow the proper steps to get the job done.  

  1. 1
    First, you'll need to combine your thick fabric medium benefits to the oil paint. Don't worry; it won't change the color or appearance of the fabric painting project in any way.  
  2. 2
    Next, you should grab your paint brush or any tool you're planning for painting acrylics to the fabric of your choice. Be sure you are painting fabric at a slow and steady pace.  
  3. 3
    Instead of applying the paint heavily to the fabric, do it one layer at a top, applying more of the paint after each layer. If you take your time, the finished piece will look amazing, and the paint will stay in place without cracking. 
  4. 4
    Seal the paint with heat.  

It’s also possible to fabric dye with acrylic paint. If you’re planning to do that, you’ll need to combine the paint with some acrylic medium or even a bit of textile medium paint to make textile paints usable for such a purpose. 

You should always seal the acrylic paint on the fabric. The best way to do that is to use heat. Some people like to use a hairdryer to seal the paint into the fabric. 

How To Paint Fabric Without Medium

You’re probably wondering how to turn acrylic paint permanent into acrylic fabric paint or diy fabric paint without fabric mediums.

You're not the only one! If you're trying to do a craft and don't have an acrylic medium, you probably think you're out of luck, but the good news is that there is a substitute worth using. 

You can use a combination of one part vinegar with two parts water and one part glycerine to prepare an acrylic fabric medium that you can use in your cheap acrylic paint. 

It’s important to use the substitute if you don’t have the acrylic paint fabric medium. If you don’t use the substitute, you can expect the paint to crack on your fabric. 

How To Properly Seal Acrylic Paint On Fabric 

Seal your acrylic paint on the fabric by using heat.

The simplest way to do this is with a hairdryer. 

You can plug the hairdryer into an outlet and hold it a few inches above the fabric, making sure the heat is hitting the acrylic paint that you’ve recently added to it.

However, you can also use a heat gun. If you’ve ever asked, “Does acrylic paint stays on synthetic fabric?”

You’ll be glad to know that it does as long as you’re sealing fabric properly with heat. 

acrylic paint on a tote bag

If you don't have a hairdryer or heat gun, you can hang the fabric outside when it's hot outside. 

The heat from the weather can help seal the paint in place to prevent the paint from cracking, spreading, or turning into a mess on your fabric. 

How To Wash Fabrics With Acrylic Paint On It

Never wash fabrics without dry acrylic paint or wet paint before giving the paint time to dry. If you wash the fabrics too soon, the paint will start to come off, and your fabric will end up looking a mess. 

It’s also best to hand wash these fabrics instead of tossing them in the washing machine in non gentle cycle.

The best way to wash by hand is to use some dishwashing soap and cold water while being gentle with the fabric. If you’re gentle with it, the washable fabric paint should stay in place. 

Removing Acrylic Paint From Fabric (Expert Tips)

So, what do you do if you make a mistake with the acrylic paint and want to remove it from the fabric? You’re probably wondering if that is even possible. The good news is that you can fix mistakes by using rubbing alcohol.

You’d need to apply the alcohol to the fabric, making sure to apply the largest amount of rubbing alcohol on the paint. Grab a dull butter knife and begin scraping away at the paint to remove it. 

Acrylic Paint On Fabric FAQs

Can you use acrylic paint on denim?  

Yes, you can apply acrylic paint on denim. Many people use it on denim jeans, jackets, shorts, and other products. You can also use acrylic paints on all kinds of denim colors, including dark blue, acid wash, and even light blue denim. 

Can you apply acrylic paint on fabric shoes?  

Yes, you can apply acrylic paint on fabric shoes. If you’re planning to use acrylic paint on your fabric shoes, be sure to use the fabric medium beforehand so that it works. 

What other kinds of paint can I use on fabric?  

You can always use fabric paint designed specifically for use on different fabrics, including t shirt, pants, hoodies, shoes, dresses, and so much more. 

Is acrylic paint waterproof?  

Acrylic paint is waterproof to a certain extent. It’s not going to wash away if you don’t want it to do so, but if you wet it with rubbing alcohol and scrape away at it, you can remove it. However, if you’re allowing it to dry completely and sealing it with heat, it won’t wash away when you wash it by hand. 


It's possible to use heat setting acrylic paint on fabric fibers or natural fibers, but you need to know how to turn acrylic dye fabric specific paints into arteza fabric paint without medium or with a medium. 

Whether you're using a homemade fabric medium or one bought from the store, you can safely use regular acrylic paint on different fabric materials as often as you'd like. 

Now that you know it's safe to use on fabric, you can get started on any do-it-yourself acrylic craft paints projects you may have an interest in working on, such as decorating t-shirts or using acrylic paint to dye your clothes.