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.
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:
- Wash the fabric first before painting, if possible. Sometimes they're treated to be stain-resistant, which would make it more difficult for paints to stick.
- If you're using acrylic paint, you may want to mix it with a binder medium to help it "stick" better to the fabric. (Example: https://canarystreetcrafts.com/how-to-turn-any-acrylic-paint-into-fabric-paint/)
- Another option would be to paint on canvas (like the material used for canvas tote bags), and then sew the canvas onto the backpack. (Example: https://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/kidscraftsactivitiesblog/2009/08/how-to-personalize-your-school-bags-draw-on-and-paint-your-backpacks/)
- You may consider applying gesso first to help prevent the fabric from absorbing so much paint that it doesn't show up. (See here for details: https://www.instructables.com/id/Painted-Garden-Backpack/)
- After painting, use a hair dryer to heat-set the paint after the paint has completely dried (at least 24 hours). This is also mentioned in https://canarystreetcrafts.com/how-to-turn-any-acrylic-paint-into-fabric-paint/. They suggest using an iron, but depending on where on the backpack you're painting, the fabric might not be flat enough for you to iron over. I would also personally be slightly worried about putting a backpack into a clothes dryer, in case it damages the bag - check the care tags on the backpack to see if it can be put in a dryer.
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.
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.