How To Use Spray Paint On Polyester Fabric

Painting polyester fabric opens up lots of creative possibilities for DIY crafts and clothing embellishments. But choosing the right spray paint and technique is key to getting good results on this tricky synthetic material.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Use a flexible acrylic paint meant for fabrics and properly prepare the polyester surface before painting. Seal the paint afterwards for the most durable finish.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about successfully spray painting polyester fabric. You’ll learn how to choose the right paint products, properly prepare polyester for painting, apply paint with good coverage, and seal the finished design.

With the right steps, you can create a crisp, long-lasting paint effect on polyester that stands up to washing and wear.

Choosing a Flexible Fabric Paint

When it comes to spray painting polyester fabric, choosing the right paint is crucial. You want a paint that is flexible and will adhere well to the fabric without cracking or peeling. Here are some tips for selecting the perfect fabric paint:

Acrylic-Based Fabric Paints

Acrylic-based fabric paints are a popular choice for spray painting polyester fabric. These paints are designed to be flexible, making them ideal for use on fabrics that need to retain their stretch and movement.

They are also known for their durability and ability to withstand frequent washes without fading. Look for acrylic-based fabric paints in a variety of colors to match your project.

Avoid Stiff Paints Like Enamel

While enamel paints may work well on other surfaces, they are not suitable for spray painting polyester fabric. Enamel paints tend to dry hard and rigid, which can cause the fabric to become stiff and uncomfortable.

Additionally, enamel paints may not adhere properly to the fabric, leading to cracking and peeling over time. It’s best to avoid enamel paints when working with polyester fabric.

Look for ‘Flexible’ or ‘For Fabric’ Labels

When browsing for fabric paint, be sure to check the labels for keywords such as ‘flexible’ or ‘for fabric.’ These labels indicate that the paint is specifically formulated for use on fabric and will provide the flexibility and durability needed for spray painting polyester.

Additionally, look for paints that are labeled as washable, as this will ensure that your finished project can withstand regular cleaning without losing its color or vibrancy.

Remember, before you start spray painting your polyester fabric, it’s always a good idea to test the paint on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it adheres well and dries to your desired finish. With the right fabric paint, you can transform your polyester fabric into a customized masterpiece!

Preparing the Polyester Surface

Before using spray paint on polyester fabric, it is important to properly prepare the surface. This will ensure that the paint adheres well and creates a long-lasting finish. The following steps will help you prepare the polyester fabric for spray painting:

Wash and Dry the Fabric

The first step in preparing the polyester surface is to wash and dry the fabric. This removes any dirt, dust, or oils that may be present, which can interfere with the adhesion of the paint. Use a gentle detergent and follow the care instructions provided by the fabric manufacturer.

Use a Deglosser on Slick Fabrics

If you are working with a polyester fabric that has a slick or shiny surface, it is recommended to use a deglosser before applying the paint. A deglosser helps to create a rougher texture on the fabric, allowing the paint to adhere better.

Apply the deglosser according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and allow it to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Apply a Paint Primer

Applying a paint primer is an important step when using spray paint on polyester fabric. A primer helps to create a smooth and even surface for the paint, improving its adhesion and durability. Choose a primer that is specifically designed for use on fabric and follow the instructions on the label for application.

By following these steps to prepare the polyester surface, you will ensure that the spray paint adheres well and provides a professional-looking finish. Remember to work in a well-ventilated area and protect surrounding surfaces from overspray.

Now that you have prepared the fabric, you are ready to apply the spray paint and transform your polyester item into something amazing!

Painting Techniques for Polyester

Work in a Well-Ventilated Area

When using spray paint on polyester fabric, it is important to work in a well-ventilated area. The fumes from the paint can be harmful if inhaled in large quantities. Ensure that there is proper airflow in the space you are working in, either by opening windows or using fans.

This will help to minimize the concentration of fumes and provide a safer environment for painting.

Hold Cans 6 to 8 Inches from Fabric

One of the key techniques to remember when using spray paint on polyester fabric is to hold the cans at a distance of 6 to 8 inches from the fabric. Holding the can too close may result in the paint pooling or dripping, which can lead to uneven application and potential damage to the fabric.

Keeping an appropriate distance will allow for a more even and controlled spray.

Use Light, Even Coats

When applying spray paint to polyester fabric, it is best to use light, even coats. This will help to prevent the paint from saturating the fabric and causing it to become stiff or matted. By applying multiple light coats, you can achieve a more even and professional-looking finish.

Allow each coat to dry before applying the next, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Let Layers Dry Between Coats

Allowing each layer of paint to dry between coats is crucial when working with polyester fabric. This will ensure that the paint adheres properly and avoids smudging or bleeding into previous layers. Patience is key in this process, as rushing can result in a less-than-desirable outcome.

Follow the recommended drying times on the paint can, and if unsure, allow the fabric to dry for at least 24 hours before handling or wearing.

By following these painting techniques, you can successfully use spray paint on polyester fabric and create unique and customized designs. Remember to always read and follow the instructions on the spray paint can for best results. Happy painting!

Sealing and Protecting the Painted Fabric

Once you have successfully spray painted your polyester fabric and achieved the desired design, it is important to seal and protect the paint to ensure its longevity. Sealing the fabric will help prevent the paint from fading, cracking, or peeling over time, especially if the fabric will be exposed to regular wear and tear or washing.

Allow Paint to Fully Cure Before Sealing

Before applying any sealant, it is crucial to allow the paint to fully cure. This typically takes around 24 to 48 hours, but it is best to follow the specific instructions provided by the spray paint manufacturer.

Rushing the process may result in the paint not adhering properly to the fabric or the sealant not working effectively.

Use an Acrylic Fabric Sealant

One of the best options for sealing spray paint on polyester fabric is to use an acrylic fabric sealant. Acrylic sealants are designed to create a protective barrier over the painted surface, helping to prevent fading and ensuring the colors stay vibrant for a longer period.

These sealants are available in spray form, making them easy to apply evenly on the fabric.

Pro Tip: When using an acrylic fabric sealant, it is recommended to apply multiple thin coats rather than a single thick coat. This will help ensure even coverage and reduce the risk of the sealant becoming too heavy or causing the fabric to become stiff.

Test Wash Resistance Before Using

Before using or wearing the painted fabric, it is essential to test its wash resistance. While acrylic fabric sealants are generally water-resistant, it is still important to confirm the fabric’s ability to withstand washing without the paint fading or coming off.

Simply wash a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric following the care instructions and check for any adverse effects on the paint.

Expert Tip: If you are unsure about the wash resistance of the painted fabric, consider hand-washing it or using a gentle cycle on your washing machine with cold water. Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach, as these may damage the paint.

By properly sealing and protecting your spray-painted polyester fabric, you can ensure that your creations last longer and maintain their vibrant appearance. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take the necessary precautions to preserve the beauty of your painted fabric for years to come.


With the right flexible acrylic paint and preparation methods, you can achieve crisp, durable spray painted results on polyester fabric. Just remember to properly prepare the slick surface, apply light coats of fabric paint, and seal the finished design.

Your custom painted polyester will maintain vibrancy and resist cracking and peeling, even after washing. So grab your favorite polyester item and get creative with spray paint!

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