Using upholstery fabric paint is easier than you think. While people often wonder how well they’ll be able to spray paint fabric, it’s really quite simple with the right paints. The technical issues that most people worry about when getting started actually present far less of a challenge than they assume.

Paints and fabrics go together like they were meant to. You may not be aware of the fact, but the reality is that even professional artists know this. Classical paintings like the Mona Lisa and works by greats like Picasso and Rockwell were usually executed on canvas, a type of heavy fabric. Now, modern arts and crafts lovers, upholsterers and even famous fashion designers have taken advantage of this compatibility. They use fabric or upholstery paints that let them go to town with color and expression.

The secret lies in the treatment of the fabric. In the case of artistic paintings, artists lay down a coating of a tacky base that helps the paint pigment stick. In the case of upholstery paint that comes from a spray can, this extra base is included in the mixture. As long as the fabric isn’t completely water proof it will be able to absorb a significant amount of the base. The colored pigments will come along for the ride and they’ll stick like glue when the fabric is dried.

Of course there are a few things you can do to improve your results. Make sure your fabric is clean and take the time to plan your designs out. Even if you’re simply recoloring an entire piece of furniture or a favorite accessory, things will go much better if you think things through beforehand. Covering darker colors, for instance, usually takes a few coats, and it’s always smart to work in an area where you can spray without worrying about messing up anything nearby. In short, using upholstery fabric paint is easy, but it’s always good to keep your goals in mind.