Can You Spray Paint Denim? Here’s How To Make It Last

Two rows of rolled-up blue jeans.

I’ve always prided myself on my creativity. So when I go to concerts, I tend to take older clothes and use stencils, paint, and embellishments to make an event-ready outfit that’s bound to turn heads!

Let’s talk about spray painting denim!

Can you spray paint denim? Spray painting denim is a highly effective design technique. It’s important to use a high-quality fabric spray paint. These have a formula designed for multiple fabric sources for long wear without fading or cracking. Fabric spray paints also dry softer and won’t stiffen the fabric you are painting.

Now that you’re interested in spray painting some denim, let’s look more into the process!

Spray Painting Denim – What To Know Before Getting Started

Before we get started on how to paint denim and what the best paints are, we need to look at some necessary tips for success. 

What Kind of Paint Will Stay on Denim?

Most recommendations are to use fabric paint or even fabric spray paint. These paints are made specifically for fabric and will not wear or crack as easily as other paint.

Acrylic spray paint is another option. It’s a good choice because it dries quickly and is also buildable. This makes it very versatile.

Perhaps you wanted a more faded look, but decided you’d like certain designs to stick out more than others. Acrylic spray paint is a great choice for that, but be aware that it will dry stiffly. 

Regular acrylic paint can be used on fabric as well, but it’s best to add a fabric medium to the paint before using it to keep the design flexible after drying.

Angelus 2-Soft Fabric Medium is considered the gold standard, but Liquitex Professional Fabric Medium is excellent too.

Angelus 2-Soft Fabric Medium 4oz
  • Angelus 2-Soft is a must-have when working on soft, flexible fabrics such as the sock-liner of...
  • Heat-set to maintain softness
Sale
Liquitex Professional Effects Medium, 4 Fl Oz...
  • A fluid medium incorporating an acrylic polymer with ultimate flexibility and adhesion.
  • Enhances the workability of acrylic paint on fabric.

Does Spray Paint Wash Out of Jeans?

So you got some extra paint where you didn’t want it. What will you do now? Should you toss that old pair of jeans and try again? Absolutely not.

Spray paint does come out of clothing. So if you make a mistake, it’s possible to remove it. There is a bit of a process., however. Follow the steps below.

  1. For fresh, still-wet paint, gently pat the area with a paper towel to soak up the paint. Scrape off as much dry paint as possible.
  2. Use a stain-remover laundry detergent such as Percil to wash the jeans. Adding some to the stain and allowing it to sit for a few minutes will help.
  3. Wash the jeans. Be sure to check before starting a dry cycle. If there are any stains left over, repeat the wash process.

Now, if you’re wondering if your brand-new, custom-painted design will be ruined when you toss your denim into the washer, don’t worry. Once dry, fabric spray paint is there to stay. 

The colors may fade a little, and after repeated washings, the fade may get worse, but your design isn’t going to disappear after a few washes.

Does Fabric Paint Crack?

Fabric paint is designed specifically for fabrics and should not crack or peel when applied correctly. 

Regular acrylic paint used on fabric is prone to cracking, but you can avoid this by using a fabric paint medium to help the paint adhere more evenly.

You can also heat set the paint. This means that you add your design and allow it to air dry. Once dry, turn the denim inside out and put in your dryer for 30 minutes on the high setting. 

What If I Use Regular Spray Paint on Denim?

If you use spray paint, you will probably not get the results you want. The paint will dry quickly, but it will also crack.

Spray paint is very stiff when dry, so high-quality fabric paints are a much better option.

How Do You Set Fabric Paint on Denim?

  1. Apply your design, and wait to air dry
  2. Turn your denim inside out and choose to either iron the area where the design is or toss in the dryer for 30 minutes on the high setting. Be sure not to iron directly on the design. 

Best Fabric Spray Paint

There are many different types of fabric paint. We have put some options together for all your denim needs!

Tulip Tie-Dye Multicolor Spray

Tulip Fabric Spray Paint, Multicolor
  • Aerosol fabric spray available in 2.5-oz. spray cans – includes 6 colors in a rainbow palette
  • Perfect for creating tie-dye effects, allover color or using with stencils

This paint is a steal at the price point. You get six cans of paint for under $25. This is definitely a great set to start with whether you’re into tie-dye, stenciling, or free-hand styles.

The set includes red, yellow, green, blue, purple and black. The spray comes out nice and smooth without messy splatters or drips to ruin your work – perfect for beginners!

Tulip Rainbow Color Shot

Tulip COLORSHOT Permanent Spray Paint for Fabric,...
  • Permanent spray paint for fabric
  • Perfect for allover color or using with stencils

This set is also at a good price point. It’s got some great, bright colors in the set – red, neon orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

The paint also dries quickly, and more importantly, it dries soft and flexible. Pain that dries soft will hold up more to wear and tear and resist cracking.

Tulip Neon Colors

Sale
Tulip Fabric Spray Sets 29849 SOP Multi Neon Party...
  • The spray nozzle gives you complete control; The bottle contains only product (no air) so any...
  • Nontoxic; no aerosol propellants are emitted into the air

If you’ve got a concert to go to or maybe a blacklight party, these colors would be a great set to come up with a trendy and exciting look that no one else will have.

You can even have a fun time with the kids making fun designs to show off.

Instead of aerosol cans, these are plastic bottles with spray nozzles on top, and for under $20 you get 9 bottles. What a steal!

Tulip Metallic Colors

Sale
TULIP Fabric Spray Sets 31535 SOP Multi Mini...
  • Sop Multi Mini Metallic 7Pk
  • For Over A Decade Tulip 3D Fashion Paints For Crafts And Fabrics Have Been The Paints Of Choice For...

The Metallic Colors set is great for those little details you want to make the design really pop. Whether it’s stars, a metallic rainbow, or smiley faces, this set is bound to really turn heads.

How To Spray Paint Denim 

Now that we’ve covered the overall picture. Let’s get down to business.

Supplies Needed 

  • Fabric Paint
  • Tarp
  • Cardboard
  • Straight pins
  • Embellishments if desired (rhinestones, patches, etc.)

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Secure tarp outdoors (Spraying indoors is unwise due to fumes).
  2. Place denim on tarp.
  3. Cut out strips of cardboard to fit in jean legs or underneath where you will be painting the jacket to make sure paint doesn’t bleed through to the other side.
  4. Place pieces of newspaper in areas where you don’t want paint to get. 
  5. If you decide to use a stencil, place the stencil, and spray over the stencil. 
  6. Remove stencil and newspaper once finished.
  7. Allow to air dry prior to painting the other side. 

Related Questions:

Does Fabric Paint Wash Off?

If you clean the clothing item before and allow the paint to dry for at least 24 hours before heat setting, your paint should not come out during regular washing.

Will Acrylic Paint Wash Off Jeans?

If you add fabric medium to acrylic paint and complete the process correctly, the paint should not come out in regular washing.

Over time and after repeated washings, the paint will eventually fade. Reapplication is always possible!

And There We Have It!

You have all the information you need to create some awesome clothes and designs.

Whether you’re wanting to add your own touch to a drab denim jacket or vest or want to breathe new life into an old pair of jeans, you’re all set.

Spice up your denim life and get spraying!

Last update on 2022-05-18 at 21:59 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Rich

Rich

I'm a hobby enthusiast with a real love for painting miniatures. I also happen to run this site and write the majority of its content!