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How Long Does Fabric Paint Last?

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Using fabric paint is a fantastic way to get more life out of an accent chair, couch, or to have some fun with clothing you want to alter.

Done right, it can transform the way something looks and breathe new life into something you otherwise may have thrown away. People all across the country earn side money or redecorate their homes by repurposing furniture with fabric paint.

paint containers

But is fabric paint durable? Will it stand up to the test of time? Knowing how long fabric paint will last will help you understand what you can expect if you buy something painted or try to take on a project yourself at home.

Typically, you can expect that a high-quality fabric paint will be permanent. When the paint fades over time, it’s often because it was applied incorrectly.

Here’s some useful information on how to paint with fabric paint permanently so you can enjoy lasting results on your clothes, furniture, or whatever else you paint.

Storing Your Paint Correctly

The key to keeping your paint longer is storing it properly. It will last for several years if you keep it out of extreme heat. If you’re worried about it getting too hot, store it in a basement room if you’ve got one.

Keep it out of direct sunlight and always make sure the lid is closed properly.

If you leave it open, air will get in and dry it out. If you’re using fabric paint that hasn’t been opened for a long time, you’ll need a brush or some other tool to mix it up before you use it again.

Making It Last – How to Use Fabric Paint

Girl use brush paint picture on bag

When you paint something with fabric paint, the whole point is to create something new that’s permanent. Unfortunately, sometimes fabric paint cracks and fades, making whatever was painted look worse than when you began!

You can keep your paint in better condition by following these guidelines:

Waiting to Wash – Don’t wash anything you’ve painted for at least 72 hours.

This allows the paint to settle fully into the fabric threads and dry properly. If you throw it in the washing machine or apply something like a fabric cleaner too soon, you could crack the paint, chip it, or it might wash right off.

Heat It to Set the Paint – Most fabric paints will need to be heated to dry fully.

You can use a hairdryer to heat the paint and help it set in permanently. Hold the hairdryer about a foot away from the paint, so it gets the heat but the air doesn’t cause any of the paint to run.

If you’re worried about running paint, you can wait a few hours before you use the dryer to get it completely dry.

Use an Iron – After you’re sure it’s dry, you will need to set fabric paint with a clothing iron.

Choose the right setting based on the type of material you’ve painted, and then run the iron over any painted areas for around five minutes.

To be safe, use a pressing cloth between the painted fabric and your iron. Sometimes the iron will catch on a ridge in the paint and chip it or make an unsightly crease in your paint.

Wash It Correctly – Washing your fabric paint the right way will help it stay solid and avoid cracks for longer.

A woman washes clothes by hand in soapy water

Some fabric paint is water-soluble, so it will wash off if you put it in the washing machine or take a hose to it. Typically, people use permanent fabric paint that is not water-soluble when they want it to last as long as possible.

If you’re worried about the paint cracking or coming off, you can always hand wash the items with paint on them. If they go in the machine, use warm water on the items, so it will be a bit more gentle during the cycle.

It’s All About the Setting

When set right, fabric paint can run through the wash and stand up to any sort of fabric cleaner spray.

The most important thing you can do is to give it enough time to dry. Buy high-quality fabric paint that won’t crack if you stick a t-shirt in the dryer or spill some water on a chair you’ve painted.

While they may not last forever, the things you paint should stay in good condition for years. If you want, you can keep buying different types of fabric paint until you’ve found a brand that you’re satisfied with.

Store them properly and don’t let them go too long without using them for the best possible results.


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