Acrylic Paint VS Fabric Paint (11 Important Points)

So, I decided to differentiate acrylic and fabric paints to the best of my knowledge so that people may understand them better. If you’ve ever generally pondered whether Fabric and Acrylic paints are of the same kind or wondered in what ways they are different, and about where you should utilize any of them, then this is the perfect place to discover a lot of things about them. 

I have tried to collect all the possible differences between acrylic paint vs fabric paint. In the end, I have also mentioned where to use which paint will help you a lot to choose the right paint for the surface you want to paint on.

Acrylic Paint VS Fabric Paint

Despite the fact that fabric paints and acrylic paints are both water-based, fabric paint is intended to append to fabric, as it makes a solid bond. It utilizes a paste-based cover, which acrylic paint doesn’t have. Both of the paint alternatives become water-safe once they are totally dry, yet fabric paint needs some warmth to guarantee that it remains on your fabric. The warmth setting is done with the help of a hairdryer or steam press.

Difference Between Acrylic and Fabric Paints

The main differences between both of these paints may appear to be unpretentious to an outsider, but an experienced individual would easily differentiate between these two.


Acrylic Paint VS Fabric Paint

The major difference between these two paints is that fabric paint just chips away at normal textures, while acrylic paints deal with both kinds of fabric i.e. natural and synthetic. As compared, acrylic paint is known to be more versatile than fabric paint because of its wide range of fabrics.


Acrylic paint isn’t fabric-friendly so it tends to stay on the surface of your fabric. On the other hand, fabric paint absorbs well into the fabric as it is a combination of dye and indissoluble agent which makes it stick to the fabric it is applied to. If you’re working with fabric paint, odds are that the paint has absorbed through the fabric to color it appropriately.

Fabric Friendly Paint

While fabric paint tends to be fabric-friendly as it absorbs into the fabric, the acrylic paint does not tend to be fabric-friendly as it leaves behind a stiff, chipped, and rigid design on the surface of your fabric just like the designs that are painted on canvas.

Canvas Friendly Paint

Fabric paints are no match to acrylic paints when it comes to the work on canvas. As canvases are prepared prior to painting and have a layer over them to enhance the durability of painting, this layer is non-penetrable for any paint. Thus, fabric paints are no longer suited to paint on a canvas. On the other hand, acrylic paints are adhesive and easily get stuck to the surface of a prepared canvas and can remain undamaged for years.


Acrylic Paint VS Fabric Paint

As the name indicates, fabric paints are used on fabrics. You can use it on a bed sheet, t-shirt, hat, scarf, curtain, or on pants. The best thing about fabric paint is that the fabric remains soft and can be draped without any struggle.

On the other hand, if you use acrylic paint on the fabric, it tends to become stiff and is difficult to fold/drape. It might work on a t-shirt, but it would be a total failure on the curtains, bed sheet, and carpet as they would be rigid to fold, and forced folding would result in cracks.

Drying Ability

Fabric paint and acrylic paint; both dry up quickly. However, fabric paint requires a source of heat to dry; be it sunlight, iron, or hairdryer. Otherwise, the paint would start to wash off in water if not dried. But there’s no such issue with acrylic paint as it is a permanent paint. The moment you apply it to the fabric, it dries out instantly. So there’s no such need to expose it to the sunlight or a source of heat.

Effect of Washing

Significantly, after standard use and numerous washing, fabric paint doesn’t get destroyed. The color may turn out to be marginally blurred after a couple of years, yet there will never be any incomplete damage to the structure, chipping or breaking in the design as the paint sticks to the fabric totally. On the other hand, acrylic paints are more likely to leave the surface of the fabric even with a single wash.


You can continue wearing the dresses that are designed or painted with fabric paint for a considerable length of time with no progressions to the design. Yet, acrylic paint is inclined to be stiff and chipped. You should be cautious with garments painted on with acrylic paint for the reason that the design may begin to chip after use.

On the contrary, if you want to paint a canvas, then fabric paints are no match to acrylic paints. Fabric paints do not stick to a canvas and can easily get damaged whereas acrylics get stuck to the canvas right after applying and remain their undamaged for years.

Use of Washing Machine

Garments and accessories painted with fabric paint can be washed by hand and in a machine with any good washing detergent. Doing this won’t damage the paint significantly even after numerous washings. Yet the design and color can equitably begin to blur following quite a while of utilization.

Whereas, you can only wash acrylic paint with your hands without a washing machine as the warmth in the washing machine can damage the paint on your clothes and make it look chipped.


Acrylic Paint VS Fabric Paint

If anything goes wrong while painting with fabric paint (be it a stain), then you can, without much of an effort, wash away from the paint with water before it is exposed to any source of heat for drying.

Yet again, acrylic paint immediately solidifies and becomes permanent, and cannot be removed with water on of the chance that you had committed a mistake while painting.


Fabric paint absorbs more evenly on fabric and is better for generally coloring and making designs that spread out over an enormous region. On the other hand, acrylic paint is progressively appropriate for itemized structures over smaller spaces and is more striking and brilliant than fabric paint in this use.

When and Where to Use Which Paint?

Acrylic Paint VS Fabric Paint

Both, acrylic paint and fabric paint have their disadvantages and advantages. Let’s talk about fabric paint first; fabric paint is normally used to paint on fabric such as fleece, silk, and cotton, instead of synthetic fabric. It is wise to use fabric paint for designing your dresses; be it a t-shirt, scarf or bedsheet, etc. 

As you read above the fabric paint merges itself into your fabric easily without changing the comfort level of your dress/ garment/bed sheet. So, you can wash them consistently, and the paint won’t chip or blur away very soon. Fabric paint has proven to be environment friendly for garments and embellishments you intend to utilize each day, without disturbing your level of comfort.

Then again, acrylic paint is incredibly splendid and dynamic; it can give your exhausting and dreary garments a new look or make them look like you just bought them. Be that as it may, anything with acrylic paint on them will be stiffer, progressively fresh, and not truly agreeable. Acrylic paint has proven to be a good paint for decorations, landscapes, or wall-hanging paintings as you don’t have to wash them after every use. However, it is not okay for something you’ll wear each day.


It might appear as though all paints are the same, however, they aren’t. Acrylic paint isn’t fabric-friendly as it tends to be chipped whenever disturbed because of its thick texture and lies above the surface of the object rather than merging into it and becoming a part of it.

On the other hand; while, fabric paint isn’t easy to get out of your clothing, it requires a source of heat to dry and is pretty fabric-friendly. In this manner, there are various unobtrusive contrasts, both in the completed items and in the reason for the utilization of Fabric and Acrylic paint, and it is just conceivable to know them after you’ve utilized both.

I hope this article was helpful for you and now you have a clear perspective of acrylic paint vs fabric paint. If you have any further queries or answers you can’t find on Google, then let us know through the contact form and we’ll be happy to reply.

Happy painting! 🙂