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Tulip Soft Fabric Paint

I’m a big fan of Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint. But while stopping by the aisle in my local hobby store to pick up some new colors, I couldn’t help but notice their soft fabric paint too. It’s described on the bottle as drying flat and flexible, is available in various finish options such as velveteen, matte, metallic, neon, glitter, and pearl (my favorite), comes in a multitude of colors, and lo and behold can be washed too! I simply had to pick up a few bottles to try for myself.

I decided to test out the Soft Fabric Paint on two projects, a rough textured canvas tote, and a much softer jersey t-shirt. I was extremely pleased with its performance on both these different materials.

The paint itself has a great consistency, comparable to finger paint. It is neither too runny to work with (that is, it stays on the brush until you’re ready to apply it), nor too thick to spread around. Though it does soak through the fabric just a bit (depending on the type of fabric it is used on, so be sure to use a piece of cardboard in between layers of fabric as they suggest), it also keeps a fairly crisp line. Little wisps around the edges here and there are due to my brush strokes and not the paint at all.

A very little on the brush also goes a long way, and I’m always all for products that stretch my dollar. The color is also very vibrant and rich; the photo above shows the coverage of just one coat of red. And any of us who have painted a room any shade of red before can appreciate how great that is!

I was just as pleased with how well one color goes over another with hardly any effort. I had expected to have to do one or two coats to accomplish the look I wanted, however the photo below shows just one coat of green painted directly on top of the red.

You can also see a bit of the shine in the red that is found in the pearl finish available. There is a bit of glitter that is well mixed throughout the paint, and I really loved the sparkle that it brought to my design.

Below is a photo of the project once the paint has dried, about 4 hours:


The green paint I chose came in the velveteen finish, which is supposed to be brought out by applying steam to the design once it has dried. Though I did not notice a huge difference from the way it looked from before it was steamed to after, I did appreciate the soft texture and feel of this finish as compared to the pearl:


For my next project, I wanted to test out the paint’s ability to do what I would expect to be the ultimate purpose of fabric paint, standing up to a trip through the washer and dryer. To do so I picked up a jersey fabric t-shirt and set to work using a stencil I created.


To begin, I followed the directions on the bottle and first pre-washed and dried the shirt (making note that I should not use fabric softener). I would imagine the purpose of this step would be much like pre-washing fabric for a sewn project… you don’t want any shrinkage that occurs after the first washing to ruin the integrity of your design.

On the jersey fabric, I noticed that the paint did not go quite as far as it had on the rough canvas bag. Mostly because it did soak through to my cardboard protection underneath, and took another coat to get the desired effect. However, it worked with a simple stencil (made from a scrap piece of cardstock) wonderfully, and did not bleed through the edges.


As far as the colors I chose go, I also should note that the black (in matte finish) was wonderfully opaque. It made it very easy to add borders and detail to both designs using just a touch.

Per the bottle’s instructions, I waited a full 72 hours before attempting to wash the shirt. I also turned the shirt inside out before washing, however that was the only precaution I took. Thrown in with some towels and jeans and washed on a warm / cool cycle, then dried as normal… the results were:

Before Washing:

And after washing:

Hardly any fading on the washed design at all! The white also stayed white with no notice of that black outline mixing in. I was definitely impressed. (P.S. no trace of washed off paint on the towels or jeans either).

Overall, I can tell you that I will not only be adding more of the dimensional fabric paint to my stash, but gathering a collection of colors of the soft fabric paint as well. Taking into account how long I can imagine a bottle lasting for such a reasonable cost (the MSRP is around $1.70 each); decorating bags, clothing, hand towels, bibs… the possibilities are absolutely endless.

Pros:

  • A wide variety of colors and finishes are available to compliment almost any project.
  • The paint is the perfect consistency, not too runny and not too thick, it is extremely easy to work with (even for novice painters like myself).
  • It is indeed washable, with no noticeable fading or damage when washed with a normal load of laundry. The fact I don’t have to do a special load on the gentle cycle is a big plus in my book.

Cons:

  • It does bleed through fabric a bit (the more it does depends on the type of fabric used) so be sure to use a piece of protective cardboard so as not to ruin your project.
  • I didn’t notice a huge difference in the velveteen finish compared to the matte after taking the extra step of applying steam from an iron, but it was a bit softer looking.
  • Final results take patience, take into account drying (4 hours) and ability to wash (72 hours) time to get to the final result.

All in all I’d highly recommend this product as an addition to your stash.

How about you? Have you used the soft fabric paint in any projects you’d like to share? Tips and ideas are always more than welcome. We love to hear from you!

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17 Responses to Tulip Soft Fabric Paint

  1. Betsi Goutal January 5, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    VERY cool! I’ve been meaning to do a big “collage jeans” sort of project. I have a funky fashion style, but am particular about comfortable clothes too. The solution? Funk-ify a few pairs of comfy jeans! I was planning to use patches and iron-on transfers, but now I will have to add this paint to my list.

  2. Janine January 5, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    I saw this product at Hobby Lobby the other day but didn’t pick up any…yet. I love the canvas bag you painted. That turned out super nice!! Great design!

  3. Eva January 5, 2010 at 5:13 pm #

    like the tote…that really turned out nice

  4. Poppy January 5, 2010 at 10:38 pm #

    I love this paint. I use it with stencils (freezer paper method) and it keeps very clean edges and washes up wonderfully. The velveteen finish is kind of fuzzy/flocked, very fun for band shirts, etc. The matte finish is excellent for items made for men. I’ll have to try freehand painting next time.

  5. Victoria January 6, 2010 at 3:06 am #

    Great review, I’m going to get some.

    Besides shrinkage, prewashing removes sizing and any other additives that may not allow for good adhesion of paint (or fusibles).

  6. Jen January 7, 2010 at 6:07 am #

    very interesting. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that brand sold over here but if I ever need fabric paint I will know to look out for it. Thanks!

  7. Etha January 9, 2010 at 8:46 am #

    fantastic!! this looks super cool, appreciate the review! I will keep an eye out for these paints at my store. Your poinsettia is amazing, you did a wonderful job painting that one, just love it 🙂

  8. Allison September 26, 2010 at 7:59 pm #

    Thank you so much for such a thorough review – this is exactly the information I was looking for tonight!

  9. vegetablog December 21, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    I really appreciated this review– it answered my question about when do do the steam-iron trick on the velveteen style paint. I’m looking forward to seeing how my project turns out!

    ~natalie

  10. Amanda April 6, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    I’ve used this paint for stenciling cloth diapers. It’s held up well with hot water washing. You have to be careful not to put too many layers or it will peel and crack. Which I made the mistake of doing, with my first diaper, I’m not crafty at all, just starting. It worked out well though it kinda added a bit of a weathered look.

  11. Anonymous October 27, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    Thanks for the review. I just did a leaf-print T-shirt project with my son’s preschool class and wondered if I need to heat-set the paint before they can take them home. Very helpful to hear that it’s not needed!

  12. Jasmine March 5, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    Ah! thank you sooo much for the review! it helped me alot! Do you know how many washes it takes for it to fade?

  13. Hailey Patrick April 19, 2013 at 1:54 am #

    Thank you so much for the review!
    Could I ask one question although? Does the paint remain stretchy?
    I’m trying to paint stripes onto a pair of leggings, and am looking for a paint that will stretch with the material. 🙂

  14. Ahirini Deb January 13, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

    I recently used the velveteen white on a silk Kurta (Indian wear). While I didn’t check whether it was velveteen or not when buying (I bought the other colors in matte), I happened to read the instructions after I started on the project. I did use steam the next day while ironing the fabric, and the paint became really fluffy and soft, sort of a 3-D paint. I probably should mention that I used double coat on most of the pattern, mostly because I didn’t know about the steaming trick beforehand, but the effect of the paint was more prominent in areas with 2 coats than the ones with a single coat. I will soon post a photo of the project so that you can see the difference.
    I was really happy with that magical transformation and kinda wish I had picked the other shades in velveteen too.

  15. Gary June 3, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    How do you get rid of the glitter effect in what is labeled a MATTE paint?

  16. Lydia July 3, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    I just finished painting a shirt for my son with the dimensions paint then the dog stepped on it and left a paw print it is been about 24 hours since I completed the job is it possible for me to wash it so he can wear it tomorrow morning

    • Mary Beth July 25, 2014 at 10:34 am #

      Lydia, I just did a shirt for my son and googled this same question. Was brought here. Did you wait or wash? How did it hold up?