Felt is a highly absorbent fabric made from cotton, wool, or other synthetic fibers matted together using heat, water, and pressure.
Being such a versatile material, felt can be used for various purposes, such as making clothing, jewelry, toys, and even home decor. It’s also a popular choice for school and art projects for kindergarten through 12th-grade students.
If you’re looking for a way to add color and decoration to a felt project, you might wonder if you can use spray paint.
The fortunate answer is yes. Spray painting is a popular crafting technique that can create attractive, unique designs on various surfaces, including felt.
However, before spray painting your felt project, it’s essential to know a few things about the process, the correct type of paint products that should be used, and the best way to go about it. So, let’s have a look at them over here.
Spraying Paint Over Felt
Felt can be painted in many ways and with many paint products. But the most popular is acrylic spray paint.
Acrylic paint is specifically designed for art and craft projects and can be sprayed easily over felt after thinning with water. The overall process is fun and creates beautiful colors that can quickly turn your belongings into beautiful art pieces.
Here is a step-by-step process of how you can use acrylic spray paint on felt:
Step 1- Start by protecting your working surface
Place a drop cloth or old newspaper down on the surface where you will be working. This will help to prevent any acrylic paint from getting on your flooring or furniture.
Another thing to remember is that spray painting indoors can be dangerous due to the possible fumes, so it’s best to do it in a place with plenty of fresh air outdoors or in a well-ventilated area inside.
Step 2- Choose the correct type of paint for felt
When deciding on the type of spray paint for your felt project, you first need to know that not all of them are created equal. Some are specifically designed for use on fabric, while others are meant for use on other surfaces, such as wood or metal.
Since we are spraying felt, it’s essential to use the acrylic spray paint specifically designed for fabric use. These types of spray paints are usually labeled as “fabric” or “textile” spray paints.
A few brands that offer good quality fabric acrylic paint for spraying are DecoArt Americana, Martha Stewart Crafts, and Rust-Oleum.
Step 3- Prepare your felt project for painting
You can get started prepping your project immediately if you have a project design like a felt hat, felt board, pool table, felt buster, tiles, etc.
However, if you’re working with a large piece of felt or multiple pieces of felt to cut and prepare, it’s best to turn them into smaller, manageable pieces before starting the painting process. This will make it easier to work with and help you avoid accidental paint mishaps.
Begin by placing the felt roll flat on your work surface. Then, use a measuring tool to cut the felt into whatever shape is necessary for your project.
Step 4- Thin the paint if needed
For smaller projects, a single aerosol paint sprayer can will be enough to suffice your needs.
But if you have a large paint surface area to cover and plan to use a paint sprayer gun (instead of an aerosol paint spray can) you will need to buy a bucket of acrylic paint and thin it before spraying.
- Before you start painting, check the consistency of your spray paint.
- If the spray paint is too thick, it may clog the spray nozzle and prevent a smooth application.
- To thin the paint, simply add water to the paint container and mix well.
The amount of water you’ll need to add will depend on the paint brand you’re using. Most brands will provide exact instructions on their product labels.
Step 5- Paint the felt and let it dry completely
To get started with spraying:
- Hold the aerosol can (or sprayer gun) about 8 to 12 inches away from the surface of the felt.
- Use thin, smooth strokes to apply the paint evenly across the surface.
- Allow each layer to dry completely before adding additional coats.
- After you’ve finished painting, set the felt project aside to let the paint dry.
The Felt will usually take about 12 to 24 hours to dry completely. Once the paint is dry, you can put your project to use.
Challenges with Spray Painting Felt
Spray painting felt isn’t tricky, but it does have an effect on the felt’s texture. Plus, if you aren’t careful, it’s easy to overdo it and end up with paint drips.
A few other problems you may face when painting felt fabric include:
- Felt is an extremely porous material and when you try to spray it, the paint often seeps into the fabric and bleeds through.
- If you use a brush to paint felt, the material may look scruffy and will feel uncomfortable to touch. This may also affect its appeal and overall beauty.
And for these obvious reasons, many people prefer to draw on felt paper/fabric with a pencil and marker and then use a fabric paint squeeze bottle to color – instead of using acrylic or fabric paint.
Here is an illustrative method on ehow.com that can help you use this felt paint technique.
Alternatively, these challenges can be overcome by taking suitable precautions when preparing your project and using the correct type of paint. Initially, the paint you use may make the felt stiff. But eventually, it will loosen. Patience is the key to success.
Below is a video by Danielle where she tested seven ways to color felt. Hopefully, the video may help you get started and choose the right paint products if you are still confused.
Can You Dye Faded Felt Using Acrylic Paint?
Fading felt (like your old felt hat) can be a frustrating experience, as the colors may not look as vibrant or attractive as they did when the material was first purchased.
Fortunately, you can restore the vibrancy of your old fabric using acrylic paint, powdered fabric dye, or Kool-Aid (a sugar-free powdered drink mix). Here are the steps to dye faded felt using acrylic paint:
1- Clean the felt hat
Before dying the felt fabric or wool on your hat, it’s important to brush it nicely to take off all the dirt. For tougher spots, you can use diluted white vinegar to remove them from the felt.
Combine 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water for a safe dilution of this powerful cleaning solution. Use a dabbing motion with your mixture onto the stain until desired results are achieved.
Keep in mind that concentrated vinegar may cause a bleaching effect or discoloration on your felt hat, so it’s important to make sure that it is properly watered down before application.
Once you have cleaned and rinsed off your felt fabric, it’s important to let it dry completely to ensure that the acrylic paint adheres to the fabric as desired.
2- Prepare the dye and dip the felt hat
To create your dye bath, combine 1 part of non-toxic acrylic paint with 2 parts of water in a large bowl/bucket and stir using a wooden spoon to create the mixture.
Next, dip the felt hat into the dye mixture, and allow the dye to fully penetrate the fabric for a few minutes. If needed, you can make the color darker by adding some more color and dipping the hat multiple times in the dye bath.
3- Let the dyed felt hat dry
Once you are done with the dyeing process, take out the felt hat and hang it up on a hook for a few hours or overnight until it has fully dried with vibrant colors.
After drying you can decorate your hat further by adding buttons, beads, or any other accessories to make it look even more attractive. You can also use darker acrylic paints and stencils to create unique designs and patterns on the felt fabric.
The Bottom Line
Felt is a versatile material used for various craft and art projects. To decorate the material and make it look colorful, you can even paint over it with different types of paint, depending on the type of fabric and painting method you’re using.
So, why not give it a try and see for yourself how easy and fun it can be to spray paint felt? Who knows, you might even discover a new favorite hobby that you can turn into a pastime business.
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Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.