The Best Guide To Spray Painting Clothes + Dos & Don’ts

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”Coco Chanel

A  creative way to transform your old garments into wearable works of art, spray painting clothes has become a popular trend in the fashion world. Whether you’re looking to express your style, revamp your wardrobe, or unleash your inner artist, this painting technique is a fun-filled and easy way to achieve stunning results. 

With a little creativity, spray paint, and some basic techniques, you can turn your plain clothes into a masterpiece with heads turning and jaws dropping. 

This article contains everything you need to spray paint your clothes. I’ve covered everything from the supported fabrics to some funky ideas. So grab your favorite spray paint, and let’s get creative!

What Fabrics Can Be Spray Painted?

Before getting into the details, it would be nice to learn about all fabric types that can be spray painted. So, here they are. 

  • Cotton 

100% cotton fabrics are apt for spray painting. These are durable, breathable, and, most importantly, easy to work with. Besides, cotton fabrics’ ability to wrinkle gives you some awesome effects. Couple this ability with the tie-dye technique and see the magic. 

However, before you spray paint a cotton fabric, ensure to wash it thoroughly, as such fabrics tend to shrink upon washing. 

  • Wool 

The next fabric ideal for a spray paint is wool. It’s another natural fiber that retains the spray paint for long. However, it must be noted that already painted wool isn’t a good thing to start with. This is because the current color may bleed into the new one. 

Hence, consider a plain wool fabric. In addition, look for a flexible paint that won’t harden this fabric as non-flexible spray paints can flatten the wool fibers. 

  • Linen 

If you often complain about the color absorbing capacity of other fabrics, the possibility is high that you haven’t painted linen yet. Highly absorbent, linen is a woven fabric. It’s made from natural fibers. Hence, any paint sprayed onto it doesn’t wash off or fade easily. 

  • Denim 

Next comes denim. Though it’s durable fabric for any spray painting, it’s vital to use a dedicated denim fabric spray paint to ensure long-lasting results. 

Tip: Watch this video and learn how to spray paint your denim. 

  • Leather 

While a leather fabric is to be spray painted, it requires a special spray paint designed for leather surfaces. It’s also important to clean and prepare the leather surface before painting. This ensures the paint settles well and doesn’t peel or crack.

Regarding the fabrics that aren’t much recommended for spray painting due to unending complications, these are polyester, silk, polycotton, etc. 

Different Types Of Spray Paints For Your Clothes – 4 Best Options

Here are the 4 best spray paints for your clothes. 

  • Soft Fabric Spray Paint 

Soft fabric spray paint is one of the most commonly used spray paints. As the name suggests, this spray paint best suits soft fabrics, such as t-shirts, shirts, ties, etc. These paints blend well with the fabrics and don’t leave a texture upon drying.   

  • Stencil (Or Line) Fabric Spray Paint 

Consider a stencil or line fabric spray paint if you want texture on your fabrics. These go well with stencils and leave a slight texture upon drying. For more aesthetic prints, glitter and metallic paints are also available. 

  • Multi-Purpose Spray Paint 

While the above two spray paints can also be used indoors, a multi-purpose spray paint should be used outdoors only. The main advantage of the latter is its adaptability to all different types of fabrics, soft or hard. In addition, a multi-purpose spray paint stays for longer.

  • Metallic Spray Paint 

Last but not least, add some shine and shimmer to your clothes with metallic spray paints. These spray cans contain small metallic particles responsible for that shiny, reflective finish. When sprayed onto a surface, say, a fabric, these metallic particles settle and create a reflective surface resembling a metallic appearance.

How To Spray Paint Clothes – The Illustrative Guide

Follow these steps to effortlessly spray paint any piece of cloth in a breeze. And I promise, the results will leave you in awe! 

Note: I’ve used a black cotton t-shirt for illustration. Feel free to replace it with any suitable fabric per your wish. 

Video Tutorial:

  • Prepare Your Work Area 

Cover the entire work area with a drop cloth, plastic sheets, or old newspapers to avoid creating a mess around you while spray painting. In addition, ensure the work area is properly ventilated. I highly recommend doing this activity in the open. 

  • Prepare Your T-Shirt

Prepare Your T-Shirt

Even a brand new t-shirt contains dirt, dust, or residue. So, properly wash your t-shirt and completely dry it before painting. 

  • Insert A Cardboard/Plastic Into The T-Shirt

Insert A Cardboard

Once dried, spread the t-shirt on a flat surface and insert a cardboard or piece of plastic into it. It’ll stabilize the t-shirt. Plus, the paint won’t bleed through to the other side as well. 

  • Create Your Favorite Design 

It’s time to unleash your creativity. Use stencils, tape, or freehand your design using an art & craft marker or pencil. For example, check out the set of IVSUN 24 Colors Acrylic Paint Marker Pens

  • Spray The Paint 

Spray The Paint

Once the design is finalized on your t-shirt, start with painting it. For this, first, shake the spray can thoroughly. Hold the can around 6″ to 8″ away from the t-shirt and start spraying all over the design, but evenly. Don’t concentrate the paint at a single point only to ruin everything. Cover the entire design with paint. 

Tip: Do several light coats rather than one heavy coat. It’ll dry more evenly.

  • Let The Paint Dry 

Let your spray painted tee dry for at least 24-hours for the paint to settle properly. Then, remove the cardboard or plastic you inserted into the t-shirt.

  • Heat-Set The Paint

Heat-Set The Paint

Heat-set the paint to let the t-shirt retain it for longer. To do so, place the project in a dryer on high heat for about 30-40 minutes. Alternatively, use a hot iron and iron the fabric for a couple of minutes. Don’t forget to place another piece of fabric over your design. 

  • Wash & Dry The T-Shirt 

Wash & Dry The T-Shirt

You’re just one step away from donning this spray painted t-shirt. As the last step, simply wash and dry your t-shirt as normal. Your t-shirt is ready. 

Tip: Wash it inside out to prevent the design from fading or cracking.

Cool Spray Painting Ideas For Your Clothes – You Must Try These! 

Not sure how to personalize your shirts, t-shirts, jeans, suits, and other clothing with spray painting? The following ideas should help. 

  • Tie Dye Effect 

Tie Dye Effect

A growing trend across the globe, you can personalize your boring clothes (preferably white shirts and tees) with the tie dye effect. To do so, simply fold/crumple the fabric and tie it with rubber bands in any shape you want. Next, spray bright paint(s) on this fabric, ensuring no white spots. 

Once done, remove the rubber bands, and let the paint try before you showcase your tie dye results to the world. 

Tip: Try out these tie dye patterns if you’re a beginner. 

  • Stenciling


If the above idea seems too much to you, try stenciling then. Set your fabric on a hard surface, place your favorite stencil(s) on it, and spray paint over the stencil(s). Try not to paint the fabric outside it. Let the paint dry, remove the stencil(s), and reveal your artwork. 

  • Ombre Effect 

Ombre Effect

To achieve the elegant ombre effect with spray painting, start spraying the lightest shade at the top of the fabric and gradually darken the shade as you move down. The more colors you use, the better your ombre effect will come out. 

  • Graffiti Effect 

Graffiti Effect

Do you love those cool graffiti on the buildings? If so, why not replicate the same to your clothes? You can do so by spray painting vibrant & bold colors in unique designs. For better results, stencils can also be used. But freehand spray painting should be emphasized. 

  • Dip Dye 

No, don’t confuse this dip dye technique with tie dye. In dip dyeing, you need to dip the bottom of any white garment, such as shirts, t-shirts, trousers, or jackets into a bowl of fabric dye and spray paint on the undipped section to create additional designs. 

Which spray painting idea excites you? 

Spray Painting Clothes – Dos & Don’ts

From selecting the right type of spray paint to spraying too much paint, below are some Dos and Don’ts to be taken care of while spray painting your clothes. 

Dos Of Spray Painting Clothes 

  • Pick The Right Paint 

Pick The Right Paint

Not all spray paints suit every piece of fabric. With so many spray paints available for use on clothing, be sure to pick the right paint for your clothes. Otherwise, the paint won’t set properly and give the desired results. 

  • Clean & Prepare Your Clothes 

The next important thing is to clean and prepare your clothes. Remove any dirt or debris from them with deep cleaning. Once cleaned, leave them for drying. You can also use a fabric primer like the Superflite System 7 Superflex Primer Catalyst to help the paint adhere better to your fabric.

Clean & Prepare Your Clothes

  • Protect Your Workspace 

Spray painting your clothes is undoubtedly a fun activity. But it can get quite messy as well. Hence, it’s necessary to protect your workspace by covering it with a plastic sheet. It’ll protect it from any overspray. A drop cloth will also work. 

  • Use Light & Even Coats 

Use  light and even coats while spray painting to avoid unwanted drips and runs in the paint. You must also let each coat dry before applying another.

  • Test A Small Area First 

Test A Small Area First

If it’s your first time spray painting your clothes, test a small area first. It’s crucial to see if the paint adheres properly and looks the way you want it to.

  • Seal The Paint After Completion 

When you’re done spray painting your clothes, apply a clear coat or fabric protector to prevent the paint from fading. I use and recommend the Scotchgard Fabric & Upholstery Protector. It works with all clothing, like suits, shirts, silk ties, dresses, outerwear, and more.

Seal The Paint After Completion

Don’ts Of Spray Painting Clothes 

  • Spray Paint Your Clothes While Wearing Them 

Never spray paint your clothes while wearing them. This will ensure that no paint comes in contact with your skin, leading to a variety of skin problems. Laying your clothes on a flat and hard surface before painting also leads to even paint coverage. 

Spray Paint Your Clothes While Wearing Them

  • Spray Too Close To The Clothes 

Don’t spray too close to the clothes. Unless you want the paint to pool and drip, leaving behind poor coverage and unwanted results.

  • Paint In A Poorly Ventilated Area 

Spray painting in a poorly ventilated area exposes you to harmful fumes that pose a great threat to your health. Hence, use a well-ventilated area for this activity, say, in the open. A respiratory mask is still a good thing to use. 

Paint In A Poorly Ventilated Area

Note: This article will help you understand the harmful effects of these fumes on your health and how to tackle them. 

  • Skip The Primer 

Skipping the primer step will prevent the paint from settling better to the fabric. So, don’t skip this step. 

How To Preserve Your Spray Painted Clothes For Long? 

Spray painting your clothes, as you would have understood by now, is a game of patience and significant efforts. Since you won’t like these efforts to go down the drain, adhere to these preservation tips to keep your spray painted clothes as they are for long. 

  • Allow the paint to dry completely before you wash or wear the clothes. 
  • Wash the clothes gently using a mild detergent. Avoid bleach or fabric softener.
  • Hang dry the fabric. 
  • Apply a coat of a fabric spray sealant to shield the fabric from fading or cracking. 
  • Keep every spray painted clothing away from direct sunlight and heat sources. 

Spray Painting Clothes FAQs 

  • Can You Use Spray Paint On Clothes?

Ans: Yes, you can use spray paint on clothes. However, you must only choose the most appropriate paint for every cloth. 

  • Which Kind Of Spray Paint Is Best For Clothing?

Ans: A fabric spray paint is best for clothing. It’s easy to apply, durable, and settles on almost every fabric. Plus, a good-quality fabric spray paint won’t wash off or fade easily. 

  • Does Fabric Spray Paint Wash Off?

Ans: This depends on the type & quality of the spray paint, fabric, and application method. Generally, most fabric paints are designed to be washfast. 

  • Can I Apply Fabric Dye Spray On Denim?

Ans: Yes, fabric dye spray can be applied to denim. 

  • What Can I Paint With Fabric Spray Paint?

Ans: You can paint clothes, upholstery, curtains, bags, drapes, and more with fabric spray paint. 

  • Does My Fabric Need To Be Wet Or Dry For Spraying?

Ans: If using a water-based spray, apply it to a wet fabric. On the other hand, apply solvent-based sprays to a dry fabric.

Add Flair To Your Clothes With Spray Paint  

Here you go. That’s everything you should know about spray painting your clothes to add that charm to them. But you must know not all fabrics can be spray painted, for example, silk, nylon, etc. Thus, be careful with your clothing selection. For compatible fabrics as well, it’s vital to choose the appropriate spray paint for the best results. 

So, what are you waiting for? Let your creative juices flow, and become a trendsetter with self-spray-painted clothes.

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