How To Use Tempera Paint On Fabric!

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There has been a number of viral YouTube videos going over how easy it is to entertain young children with tempera paint recently so more and more parents have been reaching out with a number of questions about tempera paint and how they can get the most out of it. One of the main questions that we have seen asked time and time again is based around using tempera paint on fabric without running into issues.

Depending on exactly what you want to do with your tempera paint and your fabric, this can actually be surprisingly difficult to do but we have a few tips and tricks throughout our article that may be able to help you. Keep in mind though, tempera paint is not fabric paint so you will always get better results with a fabric if you actually use a decent fabric paint.

As we are going to be covering a few different sub topics on using tempera paint with fabric in this article, we have added our table of contents below. This should allow you to quickly and easily navigate the article to find what you need without having any problems as you can just click a section below and be taken to the section you need.

How To Use Tempera Paint On Fabric!

The majority of tempera paint formulas will work with fabric and you can apply the paint to the fabric with a brush in the design that you require. Although the paint will have a flaky texture once dry and often flake off if the fabric is moved, it will apply the pigment to the fabric without issue.

The problem with using tempera paint with fabric is that all tempera paint is water based and the pigment can easily washout if water is applied to the fabric. Even the better, higher quality No products found. products on the market right now can have this same issue due to the paint having not been designed for use with fabric being washed.

This is why we usually recommend that you just go with a decent fabric paint for any long term artwork on fabric as it will offer better long term results than tempera paint. That said though, the majority of people who use tempera paint are usually only using it to entertain their children so the artwork on the fabric is often temporary and their child will quickly forget about it anyway.

Will Tempera Paint Wash Off Fabric?

Tempera paint will quickly and easily wash off most type of fabric, especially with warm water and soap. This can make it very easy to wash any tempera paint off your clothing that you accidentally get on yourself or your child during your arts and crafts sessions.

The problem with this is that some people do intentionally want to use their tempera paint on fabric and try to preserve their artwork for as long as possible. Although tempera paint will transfer the pigment to the fabric as expected, even a small amount of liquid can make the pigment run and spoil the design.

If you are trying to decorate your child’s clothing with tempera paint as a way to keep them entertained then this can be a potential issue. It is highly likely that your child will end up spilling juice or water or some other type of liquid on them self causing the tempera paint to run on the fabric.

How To Make Tempera Paint Stay On Fabric!

The easiest way to get tempera paint to stay on fabric is to apply it as required, leave it to dry, and then apply a sealing agent on top of your tempera paint. It is critical that your tempera paint is dry prior to applying the sealing agent or you will end up having issues as the sealant will fail to take hold.

There is a very common issue with the majority of sealing agents when it comes to tempera paint though and that is that when the paint flakes, the sealant will often peel off with the paint. This then leaves areas on the fabric where liquid can get to your tempera paint and cause it to run.

Thankfully, there is a quick, easy, and cheap solution in the form of Mod Podge that allows you to seal tempera paint in without having to worry about it flaking. This is due to Mod Podge being a PVA glue that has a sealant added into it so it can hold even if parts of the paint it is sealing flake off but this can make the fabric rigid and difficult to move.

How Long Does Tempera Paint Take To Dry On Fabric?

The majority of tempera paint formulas should dry within fifteen minutes on most types of fabric. There are some tempera paint formulas that may dry a little quicker or a little longer but a ball park of around fifteen minutes is totally normal for most paint formulas.

Thankfully, tempera paint is a quick drying paint so once you have applied it to your fabric of choice, it really doesn’t take long to dry at all. This allows you to apply your sealing agent of choice over the top of the tempera paint as quickly as possible to actually seal it to your fabric to preserve it for as long as possible.

Due to low quality ingredients, you may end up having to wait longer than fifteen minutes with the cheapest tempera paints on the market. This is why we always recommend that you use a decent No products found. set as they tend to only be around $5 more than the cheapest option but dry quicker and offer better color retention too.

What Paint Will Stick To Fabric?

The best option for anyone who is wanting to decorate fabric with paint will always be a decent fabric paint as it has been specifically designed to work with fabrics. This will ensure that you get the best color retention possible from the paint as well as ensuring that it does not wash out when cleaning your cloths too.

Although a decent fabric paint is definitely the best option, some people do use regular acrylic paint with their fabric in stead of tempera paint. We have this article going over how to use acrylic paint on fabric that may be helpful to you if that is something that you are interested in.

Another very popular option that more and more people are starting to use to decorate their fabrics are Posca marker pens. They offer outstanding performance for their price and we also have a dedicated article going over how you are able to use Posca marker pens on fabric too.


That brings our article going over how to use tempera paint on fabric to a close. We hope that you have found our article helpful and that we have been able to help you get the best possible results if for whatever reason you do have to use tempera paint on your fabric. As we have mentioned above though, there are other paint options that you can use on your fabric other than tempera that will offer much better results that are definitely worth considering.