Can You Spray Paint Clothes (Does it Works on Cloth?)

can you spray paint clothesSpray paint cans are a versatile tool that has a variety of different applications.

You may have heard of some people experimenting with spray paint, to apply color and design to their clothing.

But does it actually work?

How long does the spray paint last and how best to apply it to Clothes?

Can you Spray Paint Clothes?

Yes, you can spray paint clothes, this can be a fun way to add your own personalization! You can use it to stand-out from the crowd, or for a fun hobby, in which you experiment with different colors and designs. All you need is a well-ventilated area, some clothes you don’t mind being spray painted, and spray paint suitable for fabric.

Many people choose to use stencils to create patterns with the spray paint, or use multimedia techniques, such as the addition of sharpies, to add different shapes and images. The application of spray paint to clothing is practically endless, and there’s always new things you can try. Some clothing works better with spray paint, and different paints have different drying times. There are a few techniques you can pick-up to ensure a proper, long lasting design for your clothing.

Can you spray paint a shirt or T-shirt?

T-shirts are an excellent choice of clothing for spray painting as they are often one block color. Light t-shirts work especially well, as the spray paint colors come out clearly. Cotton t-shirts work better with spray paint, as they seem to retain the color better, and create bolder looking designs.

Shirts are a little bit more difficult because they have buttons and different sections, compared to t-shirts, which are formless. It is still possible to spray paint, and again, the more cotton in the shirt, the better. Shirts are more effective for smaller designs, preferably not near the buttons, collars or cuffs, as the folding of these areas can fragment a design. Also, make sure to stretch your shirt over a flat surface, such as a storage box lid or chair back, to ensure the spray paint does not leak onto the back of the shirt.


Dresses are another fun item of clothing to spray paint. Because they cover both the top and bottom half of the body, there’s plenty of material to design with. Dresses are very thin, so it is important to protect any surroundings from being spray painted, and to avoid any spray paint from leaking from one part of the dress to another. The best way to do this is to hang the dress, or place it on a mannequin.

An effective way to spray paint a dress is by using tape, and creating a design across the whole dress. With tape, you can mask the areas you do not want painted, which can create a striking contrast across the fabric. At least two coats will be needed, despite how thin the fabric can be, to allow the colors to properly soak into the material. Only remove the masking tape when the spray paint has properly dried, or you risk smudging it. Some spray paints need the use of an iron to set the paint onto the fabric, so read the instructions and use if directed.


Spray painting jeans can be very effective, it might be a little trickier than painting a dress or t-shirt, but the outcome can often look more subtle and stylish. Similarly with dresses and t-shirts, you need to protect the material underneath the part you are spray painting. With jeans, you can cut an old cardboard box and slot pieces into the legs, to protect the jean underneath.

Spray painted jeans look best with stenciled designs, rather than block colors, and so cutting out and designing your own image can be a fun project to do at home. You can either create the stencil from cardboard, or there’s even stencil material available online, which can be easier to cut. You can test your design on some scrap before doing it on the jeans, to make sure it is workable.

spray painting clothes

Does spray paint Actually work on clothes?

Spray paint definitely works on clothes, but there are two things you must remember. The first one is that you need to do multiple layers to ensure that the spray paint is thick enough. This will ensure it is resilient enough to be washed, and that your designs show up vibrantly. You’ll need to use the spray paint once over the item of clothing, wait for the paint to dry, and then go over it again, repeating this until the spray paint dries to a color you are happy with. The second thing you must remember is that the colors will partially fade over time. They should mostly retain, but because it hasn’t been professionally done, the colors can slowly lose their original vibrance.

What happens if you spray paint fabric?

Spray painting fabric is easily done, and recommended for both beginners of spray painting, and for those who are more adept. It works most effectively with spray paints specifically designed for fabric, and a lot needs to be used. Several layers should be painted to create a nice, consistent color, it can take several layers before you see a color resembling the one you want. Using the paint continuously during a layer, without stopping, will prevent streaking.

Spray painting with fabric can be good for small stencil work, larger patterns, or big blocks of color, the possibility is endless. My advice would be to ensure that you stick with it, and do not feel defeated if it doesn’t immediately look right, it may take several layers of spray paint before the colors you want emerge.


Best way to spray paint clothes

There are three options that come out really well when spray painting clothes: stencils, taping and block colors. Stencils are easy to do, and allow you to place your own designs onto the clothing. Simply cut out your stencil from cardboard or stenciling material and place it onto the shirt. Using adhesive spray is a good idea to keep the stencil in place. Make sure there aren’t any creases in the shirt, and that all the inside edges of the stencil are firmly against the clothing. It is a good idea to place newspaper around the stencil to avoid spray paint from going onto the clothing in places you don’t want it to.

Taping it a great way to create patterns across your clothing, and can look as good as professionally made clothes. The taping method looks best on t-shirts and dresses, but can be used on other clothes, like shorts. Simply tape over the parts you do not want to spray paint, spray the exposed fabric, and take the tape off when dried and enough layers have been applied.

Finally, simple block colors are also fun for t-shirts usage, especially for children who want to create their own unique designs. What is great about simply spraying the paint on, without tape or stencils, is that you can just add a little bit, for a splatter effect, or blend colors together across the shirt. Block colors can be more experimental, and allows the hobbyist to get a unique creation every time they try it out.

How to set & Keep spray paint on clothes?

It is important to allow the spray paint to dry before moving the clothing, as you do not want it to smudge when you touch it. It should take 20 minutes to dry, as long as it is not laid on too thickly. I always like to leave it 40-60, minutes just to be completely sure every part is dry.

Some spray paints need to be ironed, in order to allow it to set properly into the material, do so if directed. If it tells you on the can to iron over the paint, it is an essential step and should not be neglected. There should not be any harm doing so, even if it does not say to, as the paint is designed to withstand an iron.

In terms of keeping the pattern fresh, it is best not to use the clothes dryer, as it can damage the spray paint quicker. This is a general rule with all patterned clothing, spray painted or not. I generally try to avoid the dryer on patterned clothing, and especially if it is spray painted.

What kind of spray paint to use on fabric?

Krylon do good spray paints that can effectively be used on clothing and fabric, and I would recommend their use for hobbyist projects. They can even be used for spray painting interior decorations, such as sofa cushions and curtains. In general, only use spray paints that say they are specifically designed for fabric. They will not adhere well otherwise. At first, they may seem to color the fabric well, but the colors can run and stain either yourself, if you’re wearing the painted item, something you come in contact with, or other clothing in the washing machine.

What is the best spray paint for clothing?

Krylon do the best spray paint, in my opinion, as it is up to a professional standard, and lasts the longest. There are other notable brands out there, such as Rustoleum and Dupli-Color, and I’d highly recommend these as well.  Avoiding the cheaper spray paints for fabrics is advised, especially the ones that are more marketed towards children. These spray paints do not work well, and often leave the clothing with dull colors that do not last.

Does spray paint wash out of clothes?

Fabric spray paint is designed to retain its color on clothing. So while it may diminish in vibrance over several washes, it can never fully be removed from the clothing. This may be indirectly beneficial for those looking for a more vintage esthetic. Fabric paint does have longevity, but it may not be as good as that of industrially made clothing. Normal spray paint will more than likely come out in the wash, which is why it is a good idea to use spray paint specifically for fabric.

Will spray paint on clothes wash off in rain?

Again, it shouldn’t do, as long as it has dried and been ironed into the clothing. The spray paint is designed to withstand washing machines, which exhibits the clothing to far more intense conditions than rain, i.e. soap, hot water and spinning. If your t-shirt can survive the washing machine, it can survive rain.


Spray Painting Different kind of Cloth Fabrics 

Spray paint’s application stretches further than clothing, and indeed it can be used inside the house, to touch up some cushions, or to make an old piece of furniture fit with the esthetic of a room. Either way, there are some tips to get your interior design looking bold and colorful, without getting the dreaded streaks or crackles.

Ccloth furniture

Absolutely you can, and you can even use the same spray paint as you did for spraying your clothing, although it is advised to get upholstery fabric spray paint, to get the best finish on your furniture. The most effective method for spray painting furniture is to do plenty of layers, between 2-5. This is because items like sofa cushions are used so much that it is really important to make sure the paint is deeply applied.

Apply it continuously when doing a layer will help you avoid streaks. It will take several layers of spray paint before the color you want properly shows. You must make sure the paint is dry before applying another layer, or you risk getting crackles on the paint surface.

Lamp shades

Spray paint can work on cloth lamps, which are nice and easy to spray paint, due to their shape and size. Remove the shade from the rest of the appliance and cover up the metal strips that support the shade to the stand. Evenly spraying the paint across the conical surface will provide a nice, smooth layer of color.

Sometimes, it can look nice to leave the original color of the lamp shade on the inside, particularly if you’re spraying the outside a darker color. You should leave it for an hour, after spray painting, to ensure it is completely dry before moving it. Spray paint on lamp shades is very durable and you shouldn’t notice any fading for years, unless in direct sunlight.


Shoes can be very fiddly to spray paint, as you have to tape all the eyelets, to prevent them from being painted, but it is definitely doable. Particularly popular amongst teenagers and young adults, spray painting shoes can be a cool way to express personality through a fun hobby. Taping the eyelets, soles, and any other sections you want to keep clean, is very important when spray painting shoes.

I also advise using converse, as their fabric works effectively with paint. You may opt to also apply bottled fabric paint, with a brush, to draw on designs or images. Spray paint can act as a colorful backdrop to a painted design.

Read More:How To Get Spray Paint Off Shoes

Cloth blinds

Spray painting is a great way to breathe new life into blinds, and the room there in, without having to spend a lot of money. It is best take them off the wall, and give them a good clean, especially if they’ve been up to a long time. All-purpose cleaner is fine to use, and applying this will help the spray paint adhere properly to the fabric.

Using an even up or down motion, you can apply the spray paint quite easily to cloth blinds. What may be more difficult is ensuring you apply the layer continuously, all the way up the material, as this is important to avoid streaking. You should apply 2-3 layers, and leave them for 24 hours to dry. Otherwise, any loose paint could drip and form beads on the surface.

Cloth car seats

The upside to spray painting car seats is that it means you do not have to remove them from the car, although it can prove easier to remove them. The downside is that you want to make sure that you have completely covered the surrounding area, otherwise you risk getting paint on surfaces you do not want painted.

What is different to dying car seats, compared to the other items, is that car seats are quite thick, so they need a brush to work the paint into the interlacing fibers of the cloth. So once the spray paint layer has been applied evenly, you can use a stiff brush to lightly encourage the paint to set into the seat. Allow it to dry overnight, you do not want to be using this seat for at least 24 hours, and if you can leave any of the doors open while it dries, it would be advised.

Read Next : Do You Need a Mask To Spray Paint (Outside & Inside)