Fabric Paints

How do I remove fabric paint from hair or skin?

If the paint is still wet, wash it off with soap and water. It the paint has dried, simply remove it by peeling it away. All Duncan fabric paint products are non-toxic; conform to ASTM standards and are California Proposition 65-compliant.

What is soft paint?

Soft paint is a special kind of paint that is formulated to stay soft when applied flat. It most often used for stamping, stenciling, sponging and doing brushwork. It can come in a variety of paint finishes.

Why do I use more paint when working on fabric?

Fabric is a more porous substrate than many other materials therefore it may take more paint to cover the same area.

When would I use dimensional fabric paint vs. soft paint?

Dimensional paint is used to accent designs, like outlining or writing names (for personalization) whereas soft paint is used to paint the bulk of the design.

How can my lines look better when painting with dimensional paint?

Practice is important. Plus, the faster you go, the less your hand can shake. Preprinted paper towels are great for practicing line work.

How long should I wait before I wear what I’ve made?

Let all painted fabric dry 4 hours before wearing, however, humidity and thickness of paint affects drying time so in some cases you may have to wait a bit longer

Why does the paint crack after washing?

Occasionally dimensional fabric paint cracks or peels off the fabric. There are several causes for this: the fabric has not been pre-washed, the paint has been applied improperly (never made binding contact with the fabric) or the project had been washed at too cold a temperature.

What is a shirt board?

A shirt board is a coated piece of cardboard. It usually is in the shape of a shirt and is intended to slip between the front and back of the shirt to prevent paint from seeping through the fabric.

What are the best fabrics for painting?

For fabric painting, most machine washable fabrics work well including 100% cotton, 50/50 cotton/polyester blends, canvas, denim, sweatshirt fleece (including acrylic) and t-shirt knits. Tightly woven fabrics are not recommended because paint has difficulty bonding and soaking in. Synthetics are not recommended because the paint has difficulty bonding to the fabric, however, synthetic fabrics can be used if they are one-time use or intended to not be washed.

For fabric dyeing, natural fiber contents such as 100% cotton; viscose rayon; wool and silk are perfect. Synthetics will not accept the dye.

How do I vary the type of line I can paint with dimensional fabric paint?

To create dimensional lines, hold bottle like a pencil and gently hold tip to the surface. Always hold the applicator tip against the fabric, squeeze and drag tip along fabric surface so that paint seeps into fibers. This is what bonds the paint to the fabric. 

For raised line work, hold bottle at an angle, allowing more paint to escape. For flat line work, hold bottle straight up and down, allowing less paint to escape. 

To make a comma shape, hold bottle straight up and down and squeeze out a dot of color, pulling it toward you and quickly releasing pressure. Paint will naturally form a graduated tip. 

A comma can quickly turn into a heart by adding a second comma as a mirror image with tips touching. 

Dimensional designs need "flex points" on fabric for durability and movement. Do not make long continuous lines. Instead, make a 3-4" line, pick up the tip and start again by placing the tip just past the end of your first line. Repeat until you've created the desired length.

How should I prepare my fabric for painting?

Pre-wash all fabrics using no liquid softener or dryer sheets. Let dry and press out any wrinkles.

How do I correct painting mistakes?

The best way to correct a mistake is to try to hide it by incorporating it into the design. Once wet paint comes in contact with fabric, it is very, very difficult to remove it, because the paints are formulated to be permanent. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be such good quality paints! 

Where do I find great painting patterns?

Painting patterns are available in books, magazines, on websites, and at your local library. Please note the restrictions on use of those patterns that are copyrighted.

How do I remove fabric paint from clothing or carpet?

Once wet paint comes in contact with fabric or carpet, it is very, very difficult to remove. These paints are formulated to be permanent. If the paint is still wet, wash it off with soap and water.

Why heat-setting fabric paint?

Heat-setting fabric paint is necessary when the formula does not allow paint to cure on its own. Heat is then necessary to cure the paint. The only Duncan fabric paint products that require heat-setting are those, which are heat-activated to make them puff or rise up. These include Tulip® Puffy™ Dimensional Fabric Paint and the Tulip® Soft™ Velveteen paint finish in the soft paint line.

Why do I have to wash my fabric before painting?

We recommend washing your fabric to remove sizing. Sometimes the sizing will prevent the fabric paint from adhering properly and can cause the paint to peel off.

How do I unclog the tip of my fabric paint bottle?

Remove the tip, rinse in warm water and poke a T-pin down through the hole making an opening wide enough for the paint to flow through. If you simply poke a pin through the tip, without removing the clog, the clog will find its way to the tip again.

How should I wash my hand-painted garment or fabric?

Turn fabric inside out; machine wash on gentle cycle with warm water using a mild soap. Using fabric softener will keep designs flexible. Line dry. Iron only from the inside or back side of shirt. Never touch paint directly with iron.

How should I store my fabric paint?

Fabric paint bottles should be stored in a cool, dark place that does not exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Storing dimensional paint upside-down helps minimize air bubbles.

How long will fabric paint last?

Fabric paint can last a few years if stored properly.

How long should I wait before I wash what I’ve made?

We recommend waiting 72 hours before washing the fabric.

How do I choose brushes for fabric painting?

Choose your brushes by the effect you want to achieve. Flat shaders feature a chiseled edge that makes it ideal for creating a clean edge. Flat shaders are also ideal for creating "S", command leaf strokes and for filling in large areas. The liner brush is long or short tapered and is ideal for creating long, flowing lines such as stems, tendrils and scrolls. The scrubber generally features round, tapered bristles ideal for stippling, as well as adding and blending color on fabric.

What surface should I put my fabric on to paint?

We recommend pressing your fabric before painting to remove any wrinkles. Lay the fabric on a smooth, flat surface (covered with plastic or paper). You may want to place a shirtboard into your shirt or tape your fabric on cardboard to prevent paint from seeping through and further stabilize the fabric during the painting process.

What is Puffy Paint?

Puffy paint is one of many types of dimensional paint finishes. It must be heat-set to “puff” up. It gives a fuller looking dimensional line than regular dimensional paint.

What is glow-in-the-dark fabric paint and how does it work?

Glow-in the dark fabric paint is a phosphorescent paint that is made from ingredients that, when activated by exposing to an energy source such as UV light, will glow in dark lighting. 

Does the glow in the dark fabric paint need to absorb light?

Yes. To activate glow paint, expose glow paint to a UV light source for at least one minute.

What’s the best fabric paint for T-shirts?

A paint that dries soft is the best choice for painting on T-shirts and any fabric for that matter. You’ll also want a water-based, nontoxic formula that is permanent on fabric when washed. 

How do I paint a T-shirt using stencils?

Make sure your shirt has been washed and dried without fabric softener. If using a precut stencil, position onto shirt and use painter’s tape or repositionable adhesive spray to set stencil in place so it doesn’t move. If creating a custom stencil, trace or dray your design/wording onto freezer paper and iron in place waxy side down on shirt. Be sure the edges of your design are firmly secured down to avoid paint seepage. Place a piece of cardboard inside your shirt to prevent paint from soaking through to the backside and to create a smooth painting surface. If using fabric spray paint, cover any areas not to be painted. Work in a well-ventilated area. If using brush-on fabric paint, squeeze out desired colors onto a paint palette. Dip brush into paint and pat off excess paint. When applying paint to stencils, remember less is more. Continue adding coats until desired look is achieved. Remove stencil and let dry completely.

How do I paint a T-shirt using brushes?

Use a precut stencil, create your own stencil or freehand your design. Place a piece of cardboard or freezer paper inside of shirt to create a stable painting surface and prevent paint from seeping through shirt to back side. Pour out puddles of paint colors onto a paint palette. Paint on design inside stencil openings or freehand on design. (If desired as a guide, use a chalk pencil to sketch out design first onto shirt.) Remembering less is more, do not over saturate paintbrush with paint to avoid splotching. Paint as many coats as desired, letting each coat dry before applying next. If stencil is used, remove stencil. Let design dry completely.