The 8 Best Fabric Paints to Buy in 2018

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Take any DIY project involving fabric to the next level with the endless possibilities of fabric paint. Whether you want to add a colorful design, tasteful embellishment, or custom lettering to your creation, fabric paint is an easy and fun way to exercise your creativity. 

Textile paints range from basic sets designed for kids to more professional paints that feature rich pigmentation and smooth application. There are also fabric paints specially designed for furniture and upholstery, but the key is to pair an acrylic paint with a textile medium to prevent bleeding of colors. As with any type of fabric paint, always make sure that you heat treat your finished product if you plan to wash it later. For intricate designs and doodles, fabric pens will be the easiest to use. 

Fabric paints are an affordable way to transform t-shirts, denim jackets, baby onesies, soft home goods and more into custom creations to keep or give as gifts. Add a fun pop to your next textile project by trying one of these top-rated fabric paints.

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  • 01 of 08

    Best Overall: Jacquard Textile Color Fabric Paint, Set of 8

    Jacquard Textile Color Fabric Paint, Set of 8

    Courtesy of Amazon

    For fabric paint that has the quality and color choices to match just about any project you have in mind, we recommend Jacquard Textile Color Paint. 

    Available in a set of eight different hues, these fabric paints have been used by everyday artists and professionals alike. The paints are highly recommended for their smooth application and high opacity. These fabric paints have been used on everything from clothing, furniture, and shoes to household accessories with much success. Even items that have later been laundered have held up well and maintained their color and appearance.

    Some people found this paint to be on the thick side, so depending on your method of application, you may need to thin the paint slightly with water. This fabric paint is our top recommendation overall and is a great choice if you want a quality paint for anything from school-related projects to DIY masterpieces.

  • 02 of 08

    Best Budget: Tulip Slick Fabric Paint, 6-Pack

    Tulip makes a wide assortment of fabric paints and is a go-to choice for kids and parents. At less than $10 for a 6 pack in basic colors, it’s also our go-to choice for a budget fabric paint.

    The fine tip makes the flow of paint easy to control and allows you to draw intricate details like lettering and flowers. However, if you have a large area to color in, the fine tip could prove to be time consuming. Customers also said that the formula is too thin to ‘paint’ with—so it’s really best suited for applying with the fine tip attached to the bottle.

    The non-toxic formula is washable, meaning you can easily wash any item you choose to decorate with Tulip fabric paint. Just be sure that you heat set your creation after you’ve finished painting it. If you want a basic fabric paint for your kids to experiment with or for a special project, then you can’t go wrong with the budget-friendly set of 6 Tulip Slick Fabric Paints.

  • 03 of 08

    Best for T-Shirts: Tulip Soft Fabric Paint 4oz Matte

    One of the biggest complaints about fabric paint is that it can be stiff, scratchy, or crack easily. This can especially be true on cotton or soft t-shirts. Tulip’s Soft Matte Fabric Paint is our recommendation for a soft fabric paint that you can use on t-shirts.

    This 4-ounce bottle of fabric paint is available in more than two dozen colors and like other Tulip paints, it’s a non-toxic water-based formula. You can choose to either brush it on, use a sponge applicator, or pair it with a stencil or stamp for neat designs.

    While this fabric paint for t-shirts is said to be highly opaque, some people found this to not be totally accurate. Depending on the color of the t-shirt or other material you’re painting, you may need to use several layers of fabric paint. Just be careful not to over apply the product or it may become stiff and crusty. Let each layer dry to assess whether more paint is needed.

    People say that once dry, this fabric paint moves well with fabric and washes well. It’s been used with success on everything from clothing to quilts and is super long-lasting.

  • 04 of 08

    Best for Furniture: Delta Creative Textile Medium

    If you’re looking to paint the upholstery of your furniture, you can use almost any acrylic paint—but it’s highly recommended that you mix it with a textile medium first. Delta Creative makes a popular and affordable formula that will help your fabric paint for upholstery adhere better and produce a softer finish.

    Keep in mind that this is a textile medium only—you must mix it with acrylic fabric paint. The bottle contains the recommended ratio of paint to medium, and you may need multiple bottles of medium (and paint) depending on the size of the piece you’re painting.

    People have used this textile medium with great success when using fabric paint on couches, chairs, cushions, and clothes. It helps to maintain a soft feel to the fabric—though the end result largely depends on the fiber content, weave, and other factors for each type of upholstery. This textile medium may be especially useful on darker fabrics and denim, which can be notoriously hard to use fabric paint on. Some people did experience a hardened finish and needed to sand the paint for a softer feel. Overall, this medium helps to preserve the feeling of fabrics and also helps paint look smoother and more opaque. 

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  • 05 of 08

    Best Pens: Crafts 4 ALL Fabric Pens Permanent 12 Bright Dual TIP Fabric Paint

    For more control when painting a design on fabric, look for a pen-style applicator. The set of 12 fabric pens from Crafts 4 All is a popular choice for doodling and detail work when using fabric paint.

    These fabric paint pens are double-sided, with a thin tip on one end and a thicker chisel tip on the other end. The pigmented formula allows you to create a custom look with just a simple stroke (and no need for brushes, sponges, or other applicators). Just remember that these fabric paint pens can dry out quickly if left exposed to the air—so cap quickly when not in use.

    While the product claims to have minimal bleed, a few people said that they found the pens to have more edge bleeding than expected or that it soaked through the material to the other side of the shirt. Most people work around this by working slowly in delicate areas and placing a barrier in between fabric to prevent it from seeping through. Still, this hasn’t been a major problem for most people and these fabric pens have a high rating. 

  • 06 of 08

    Best 3D Fabric Paint: Puffy 3D Paint Rainbow 20-Count

    Puffy 3D Paint Rainbow 20-Count

    Courtesy of Walmart

    If you want to bring a new dimension to fabric painting, choose a paint set that has 3D texture. Our top choice is Puffy 3D Paint, which comes in a pack of 20 different colors. 

    You can use these paints to decorate t-shirts, hoodies, or other crafts where you want a raised texture that stands out. Kids in particular will love using puffy fabric paint for school projects, fun t-shirts, baseball hats, and more.

    A precision tip on each bottle allows more control over designs, and the various color options provide endless possibilities. These fabric paints are machine-washable and stay flexible after drying, but restless fingers may be tempted to pick the paint from finished projects. This set of 20 Puffy Fabric Paints is a great value and much-loved for its endless 3D possibilities. 

  • 07 of 08

    Best Glow in the Dark: Neon Nights Fluorescent Glow Fabric & Textile Paint

    Take your fabric paint from day to night with textile paint that glows in the dark. Neon Nights makes fluorescent fabric paint that glows in the dark and is a big hit with kids and adults alike.

    This glow in the dark textile paint comes in a set of eight neon colors that are bright and bold on their own, but glow fluorescent in the dark. You can charge the paint with sunlight, UV or black light—but note that LED lighting won’t work effectively. 

    When it comes to applying this fabric paint, you’ll need a brush or other applicator since the paint comes packaged in individual jars. People say that the color is rather sheer, so you may need to apply several coats—especially with dark colors. When properly charged, people say that it glows bright and looks great.

  • 08 of 08

    Best for Stamping: Fabric Creations Fabric Ink in Assorted Colors

    Looking for fabric paint that can be used like ink to stamp and embellish t-shirts, scarves, cloth napkins, and more? Fabric Ink by Fabric Creations is a highly pigmented fabric ink perfect for stamping and more.

    Fabric Ink comes in a 2-ounce bottle and the colors can be mixed together to create custom shades. The formula is non-toxic and water-based, so it’s easy to clean with soap and water while it's still wet if you happen to spill or make a mistake.

    People have used this fabric paint to create artisan crafts such as stamped scarves and t-shirts or beautifully embellished lampshades and other home goods. While heat setting is optional for items that won’t be laundered, it’s necessary for anything you plan to hand or machine wash in the future. 

Our Process

Our writers spent 3 hours researching the most popular fabric paints on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 18 different paints overall, screened options from 13 different brands and manufacturers and read over 170 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.