Fabric Paint Guide – Best Fabric Paints in 2023

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Find the right fabric paint for your specific craft project. See the best overall, best paint pens, best spray paint, best paint set, and more in this guide.

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Best Fabric Paint in Each Category

The type of fabric paint you need depends on the project you’re making so for easy access I’ve narrowed down the list of my top picks below. Any of these can also make for a great gift for a crafter. You can also jump to the details though the table of contents.

Be sure to also review my recommendations for the best tie dye kits.

3D/Puffy Fabric Paints

Puffy paints or 3D fabric paints give an elevated appearance. They do not blend with the fabric, but rather are raised above it so you can feel it. Typically these are used to create straight lines and add dimension. Most come in bottles with narrow tips to achieve this effect. That being said, they can also be applied on with a brush.

One advantage to these types of paints is they air dry. Then once dried they’re machine washable.

The disadvantage is the thickness of the paint can cause fabrics to feel stiff.

Tulip Dimensional Fabric Pack

Tulip Fabric Paint is the go-to brand and you really can’t go wrong with it. This set in particular is good if you want a lot of options and you want 3D or a “puffy” look. You get 20 bottles of both regular and neon colors.  However, the black and white are the same so in reality you get 18 unique colors, with 2 extra bottles (1 of black and 1 of white). The white that’s included is my favorite white fabric paint so it’s nice you get extra.

In all honesty, the only thing this set is missing is a bottle of glitter paint. But if you’re like me and really need to have glitter, then you can always buy that separately (because let’s be honest, you’ll likely go through the bottle of glitter more quickly than you will the others).

Now even though you get quite a few different colors with this set, the bottles themselves are quite small at 0.75 oz each. But if you’re having a bunch of friends over to decorate fabrics or this will be as a craft at a birthday party, these are the perfect size for sharing (and tiny hands).

Tulip Washable Slick 3D Fabric Paint Set

If you want to keep things simple (and cheaper) this is a minimalist set that comes with 5 colors. You’ll get the primary colors and green, white, and black.

The amount you get in each is also more though, with each bottle containing 1.25oz. So if you just need the primary colors (or don’t mind mixing colors), then I highly recommend this set.

Tulip Washable Crystals 3D Fabric Paint Set

If you’re a huge glitter fan like I am and want only glitter paints, this is 100% your set. You’ll get the full 3D effect, which means if you use these to make little dots, they will look like little crystals or gems on your fabric.

You can also use them on top of other colors or in combination with other colors (for example, by mixing them together). Keep in mind, the white one will dry clear, but the others will keep their color (although slightly translucent). So if you want an opaque glitter finish, mix it with a solid color.

Tulip Glitter Diamond Fabric Paint

I have to set this one apart because it is by far my favorite glitter fabric paint. While the set is good for having variety, if you’re going to use glitter, you’re going to want a large bottle. This one is 4oz so it will last you quite a while.

This “color,” diamond, is my favorite because it has multi-colored sparkles. Other “colors” of their clear glitters are just silver glitter, but more often than not I want a multi-color sparkle that gives an opalescent effect.

Just as I mentioned above, it’s great to mix into other colors or add on top of already dried colors. I have found I use it for all sorts of projects for which I want a touch of glitter. Instead of using a glitter glue, I just reach for this instead. Since it dries completely clear, all that’s left is sparkle.

Tulip Dimensional Glow Fabric Paint

If you want any or all of your fabric to glow in the dark, this is the set for you. Or you can get the basic glow in the dark color on its own. I like this pack of 6 because it gives you a few colors to work with and they’re on the larger size at 1.25 oz each.

All of the colors in light are a light pastel, but then glow their color when in the dark. The “Natural” color (looks white) actually dries pretty much clear, which means it can be used on top of other colors, like I did for my glow in the dark dream catcher.

One tip – be sure to use a fair amount or the glowing effect might not be as strong.

Paintable Fabric Paints

Instead of having a raised effect, you may want to use a paint brush so the colors blend with the fabric. You can start with just a few colors and mix colors such as purple or brown. Or you can spend a little more to get a full range of colors you can use right from the container.

Unlike 3D fabric paint, these paintable kinds will keep your fabric soft.

Some of these can be air-dried, while others will need to be heat set (typically achieved by throwing the material in the drier or by running an iron over it).

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Jacquard Textile Color Fabric Paint

Jacquard makes all sorts of more upscale paints that are geared more towards adults versus kids. I would consider them a mid-tier, which I would classify as someone who wants to take their crafts and DIYs a bit more seriously.

This set comes with 8 colors (both primary and secondary and black and white), each containing 2.25 oz. Not only can these be mixed with each other, but also they can be mixed with water to make them more transparent. This will give the effect that the material is dyed, rather than painted.

In order to set these paints and ensure they do not come out in the wash, they must be heat set. To do so you can either toss it in the dryer or iron it on the back of the material (which is typically my preferred method).

One thing you won’t get from these, however, is glitter. Jacquard does not currently make a glitter or shimmer version within their Textile Color line.

Tulip Soft Fabric Paint Kit

If you would rather not have the “writer tip” to create 3D designs and would instead prefer to paint with a paint brush, this could be a good set for you. It takes just the 10 classic Tulip brand colors (no neons) and puts them into a slightly larger 1 oz bottle. But they have wide openings, making them easy to squeeze onto a paper plate and use.

This is also part of their “Soft” line so they will not make the fabric as stiff as their puffy or 3D paints would when painted on.

Magicfly Permanent Soft Fabric Paint Set

With this set you get a whopping 14 colors with 60ml (~2oz) in each bottle. There are 10 regular colors, 2 neons (yellow and pink), and to metallic colors (silver and gold). They also throw in 3 paintbrushes so you don’t need to get those separately, which is a nice touch.

The reason this set is so great is not only the variety of colors, but also the fact that you get two neons, which means you can make bright colors. Then the metallic colors means you can pearlescent or shimmer colors. So while this brand is not as well known as Jacquard, it’s a great option if you’re looking for not only a variety of colors, but also types of colors.

Fabric Spray Paint

If you want a spray paint or splattered effect to your project, you can absolutely do it. However, don’t use regular spray paint – you want to get fabric spray paint to ensure it stays when washed.

Tulip Permanent Fabric Spray Paint

A lot of fabric spray paints come in aerosol cans, which can be difficult to use because you limited control over where the paint goes. Therefore because this set doesn’t use aerosol, you can really control what you’re doing.

The main challenge with spray paints is you’re limited to the colors you have, unless you have other bottles you can use. If you do, they can be really great because not only do you get the cool splatter and sprayed effects, but also you can get really creative with making new colors.

But that isn’t as much of a worry with this set since you get 9 colors of 1.9oz of each.

Keep in mind with this paint, it really only works on light colored fabrics.

Tulip Glitter Spray Paint

I kept this one separate since I can only find it sold separately, but naturally I had to include the glitter option. Just as with the other Tulip fabric paints, it can be used on top of other colors. But honestly the best use is to take something you already have and make it glittery with just a few sprays.

Fabric Paint Pens

If you want more precision over what you’re painting with crisp lines, paint pens might be the best option. They also keep the fabric soft and do not have a raised appearance and feel. One general challenge with them, however is they can dry out, pull on the fabric while drawing, or not be as vibrant as the other options.

US Art Supply Crazy Colors Dual Tip Fabric Pens

Although you can find tons of different pens on the market, this set in particular is unique -t has two sides for each color. One side is a fine, round tip, while the other is a thicker chisel. Therefore this set gives you a lot of flexibility in case you want to create really thin lines, thick lines, or color in an area.

The set comes with 20 different colors with 5 shades of green, 2 yellows, 2 purples, and 3 blues. With so many colors you’ll be able to get incredibly detailed.

These pens also just need 24 hours of air drying and then they can be washed.

Artistro Acrylic Paint Markers - Multi Surface

Wait, you can use acrylic paint to paint fabric? Yes! In fact, quite a few pens and markers sold as fabric pens are just acrylic paint – including this set. By the way, in general if you’re in a bind you can absolutely dilute acrylic paint with water and use it as fabric paint.

The reason this set is special is because it includes silver, gold, and white (in addition to the standard 9 colors). The silver and gold are metallic to give your fabric some nice sheen and then the white shows up nicely on dark fabrics.

In general, this is a good set for darker fabrics because of the fact that it’s acrylic-based. And since it’s just acrylic paint in the form of a pen you can use it for other projects. These can be used on rocks, ceramic, paper, and wood.

DIYs using Fabric Paints

Even though the classic way of using fabric paints is by painting a t-shirt, shoes, or some other accessory or article of clothing, there are actually quite a few other uses for fabric paint. As I referenced earlier, I often use glitter fabric paint in pretty much any project that requires some spots of glitter. And in other cases, the thickness and rigidity of puffy paint makes it a great medium and functions almost like a thin silicone.

Check out these DIYs that use fabric paint:

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Daniela Kretchmer

Daniela is a lifelong crafter who loves to share her passion for crafting. Through classes or learning on her own, she likes to say she'll do pretty much any craft aside from scrapbooking. Her current personal obsessions include garden crafts, felting, and spinning yarn.

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