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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!