I'm planning to paint something on my 'Naugahyde leather' backpack. What type of paint should I use for that? I have already tried it with fabric paint, but it got smudged after a couple of days.

  • 3
    What's the backpack made of? What specific type of paint did you use? How did you use it? As this question stands currently, it's too vague to answer.
    – Allison C
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 17:59
  • 1
    Painting in cordura or a vinyl is going to need a different paint than cotton canvas. Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 22:39
  • 1
    Besides the material, like nylon vs. cotton, which are completely different for painting, a natural fabric like cotton may have some form of waterproofing, which would really introduce a problem for painting. If the backpack doesn't have a label identifying the material, can you guess at it?
    – fixer1234
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 1:53
  • Thanks for adding the information on the material. In your comment, you refer to it as a "leather material". It would make a big difference whether it is real leather or Naugahyde (the surface of which is vinyl). Can you add that clarification?
    – fixer1234
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 17:38
  • 2
    Thanks for the info. I edited the question as you have mentioned.
    – NSR
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 4:07

3 Answers 3


Fabric paint or acrylic paint are probably still your best options for painting a backpack. However, you may want to consider a better quality brand of paint if it smudges right off after drying.

Some other things you might want to consider are:

If your backpack is made of a synthetic material (like nylon) or another non-porous material like leather (my first backpack was leather), you can try alcohol inks. I have personally never tried using alcohol inks before, though, so I'm not sure how well it works on synthetic fabrics.

  • 1
    Thank you so much for replying. My backpack has a leather material. I will try the things you have mentioned. Thanks again.!
    – NSR
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 3:48
  • You're welcome! Good luck :D
    – Flora Su
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 13:39
  • 1
    These paints (acrylic, fabric paint) will not work on vinyl!! which is what Naugahyde is. It is non porous material so there is nothing for the paint to hold on to. (don't approve so quickly!) There are paints made specifically for vinyl, and other solvent based paints like oil based enamels may also work. But the answer above is not likely to work... have you tried it yet? Let me know if I'm wrong. Cheers!
    – rebusB
    Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 20:18
  • Thanks for the update - The original question didn't have the materials listed, so I hadn't crafted it specifically for Naugahyde leather - in which case, they should definitely look for paints designed for non-porous materials. I agree that acrylic and fabric paints may chip/scrape off over time, even after drying and curing. However, I've had great luck with using acrylic and fabric paints on other plastics (e.g. HDPE water bottle), but I've never specifically used it on faux leather. It'd be really helpful if the OP could post an update on what they tried and how well it worked!
    – Flora Su
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 18:48
  • I did some more research - It seems that they could either stencil & spray paint a design using upholstery spray paints, such as described here: homedit.com/paint-vinyl-upholstery. Also, this person tested 3 types of upholstery paint: apartmenttherapy.com/painting-vinyl-upholstery-215327). Or...if WikiHow can be trusted... apparently acrylic paints might actually do the trick? "Acrylic paint is perfect for using to paint faux leather. It is flexible, adheres well to faux leather and won’t crack with movement." Source: wikihow.com/Paint-Faux-Leather
    – Flora Su
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 18:55

Smudging can only mean either it hasn't dried properly or it's come into contact with something that softens it again. I reckon it's more likely to have been abraded. This could happen very easily if the paint is unsuitable for the fabric, but you're the one with the paint and backpack.

In particular some paints aren't suitable for synthetic fabrics, as they rely on soaking in to cotton a little. This may be the problem you've got. I've had some success stencilling with spray paint onto synthetic fabrics.


I’d consider leather shoe dyes. Alternatively, embroidery.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .