What are good paints for painting on (thin) nylon fabrics?

The goal is to paint an umbrella so there are some additional constraints. The paint should:

  • be waterproof.
  • keep the flexibility of the nylon fabric (i.e. it should at least still be possible to close the umbrella).

I don't have specific experience painting nylon fabric, but as a starting place for you, Dharma Trading Company has a tutorial for painting and/or dying silk that may apply to your project. They sell several lines of fabric paints and dyes. Dick Blick has silk/fabric paints and dyes. There are videos on YouTube for painting fabrics. Go to the manufacturer's home pages to check for compatibility with nylon and don't hesitate to ask for their suggestions. Be aware that many fabric paints require being setting with heat, like an iron.

As an alternative, consider going that retro route and using painted and/or dyed silk. It can be exquisitely beautiful. Waxed or oiled silk, lacquered papers, leather, feathers, and palm leaves have all been used by various cultures over time for their umbrellas.

  • Excellent information. I think that the way this is sealed and processed may be more important that the medium of the paint. – BrownRedHawk Jun 11 '16 at 18:59

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