Paint Test on Polyester Fabric

A recent enquiry from a customer wanting to paint on polyester fabric prompted us to create a swatch sample for five of the paints available from George Weil. The customer is planning to paint a motif on a wedding dress, therefore the performance of the paints is very important.

Samples of fabric paints on polyester fabric

The paint samples were allowed to dry before placing a cotton t-towel over the polyester fabric and fixing the paint with a hot iron. The heat from the iron melts the acrylic binder in the paint and “glues” the pigment to the fabric.

The polyester fabric was then torn in half so that a sample of the paint remained on each piece. The right hand side was washed in warm water with detergent, rinsed and then allowed to dry. The results show that the paints did not wash out of the fabric.

Javana Silk Paint on PolyesterJavana Silk Paint on polyester

The fluid Javana Silk Paints do not claim to work on polyester. The information from the jar says “For silk and light coloured textiles made of cotton, viscose, linen or blends with a maximum of 20% synthetic fibre content.” Our result proves that this paint works well on polyester. The halo of dark paint just inside the outer line of dark paint was caused by applying a second stroke of paint before allowing the first application to dry.

Jacquard Dye-na-flow on Polyester

Jacquard Dye-na-flow test on polyester

Dye-na-flow is another very fluid paint and this Hot Pink coloured the fabric easily with one stroke. The paint has been formulated for natural and synthetic fabrics, and Jacquard describe it as being suitable for use on card, paper, and leather, and as an effective wood stain.

Deka Silk on Polyester

Deka Silk on synthetic fabric

Deka Silk, as its name suggests, has always been promoted as an alternative to dyes when painting on silk fabric. The label on the jar reads “a universal paint for silk and other textiles”. The result is fairly similar to Dye-na-flow in performance although there is a slight unevenness in the cover, possibly due to the pigment having separated slightly in the jar.

Deka Permanent on Polyester

Polyester fabric painted with Deka Permanent

Again, there is no claim on the jar that the paint is suitable for synthetics. The label merely states “the classic paint for painting, printing, and stencilling on white and light-coloured fabrics”. This is a thicker paint and did not bleed into the fabric as in the three examples above. The consistency allows greater control and good cover. It has a very slight rubbery feel on the fabric although this does not appear to affect the drape.

Jacquard Textile on Polyester

Jacquard Textile Paint on synthetic fabric

Developed for natural or synthetic fabrics, this paint is slightly more fluid than Deka Permanent although it did not bleed into the fabric and provided good cover. The well defined edges on the paint sample demonstrate that detailed painting can be achieved. Surprisingly, this thicker paint seems not to have affected the handle of the fabric, out performing all the paints tested. There does appear to be some colour loss in the washed sample on the right. This could have been caused by not heat setting the paint for long enough.

Heat Transfer Paints

An alternative to fabric paints are the heat transfer paints which are made from Disperse dyes. Prints made from these paints give very good results. See our blog post Disperse Dye for Dyeing and Printing to find out more.


  • All the fabric paints tested on polyester were hand washable once heat set.
  • It is essential to shake the jar well before using the paints
  • To help inhibit the flow of fluid paints, pre-treat the fabric with a primer such as Jacquard No flow.
  • To intensify colours, allow fluid paints to dry fully before additional applications
  • Ensure that the paint is heat set for the appropriate amount of time as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Take care not to overheat the polyester as this can permanently distort the fabric.
  • We recommend creating your own swatches to ascertain that products meet the requirements for your projects


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