Can You Spray Paint Sunbrella Fabric?

Can You Spray Paint Sunbrella Fabric

Looking for a fresh, fun way to jazz up your Sunbrella fabric items? You’re in the right place! Today we’re talking about an easy and innovative approach to revitalizing your dear Sunbrella fabric binds, cushions or umbrellas. Sounds intriguing, right? So, let’s take a captivating journey together into the world of DIY crafting and find out if you can indeed use spray paint on Sunbrella fabric.

What is Sunbrella fabric?


Sunbrella fabric is a high-end, durable fabric that is well-known for its amazing weather resistance. Crafted primarily out of industrial-grade acrylic yarn, Sunbrella is made to stand up against a variety of outdoor elements, making it the ideal fabric choice for outdoor furnishings, patio cushions, and awnings.


Sunbrella fabric boasts several weather-resistant characteristics that make it unique. It’s highly resistant to fading from harsh ultraviolet rays, ensuring it maintains its vibrant color for a prolonged period. On top of that, it’s water-resistant and dries quickly, making it less likely to develop mold or mildew. Sunbrella fabric is also stain-resistant, which means it is easy to clean and maintain.

Common uses

Given its durable and weather-resistant characteristics, Sunbrella is commonly used in various outdoor applications. This includes patio cushions, outdoor furniture, awnings, boat covers, and more. Indoors, it can be used for upholstery or other heavy-duty applications.

Considerations before spray painting Sunbrella fabric

Fabric durability

Before you start to spray paint your Sunbrella fabric, it’s crucial to regard the fabric’s durability. Sunbrella is known for its strength and longevity, and while this is typically an advantage, when it comes to applying paint, it may require more care in preparation and application to ensure the paint adheres properly.


Sunbrella fabric is renowned for its colorfastness. This characteristic refers to the fabric’s resistance to fading or bleeding of colors, even under harsh conditions. Therefore, when planning to spray paint Sunbrella, you must choose a high-quality spray paint that won’t fade over time.

Manufacturer’s recommendations

Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations on painting the fabric. Some manufacturers might caution against painting Sunbrella fabric because it could potentially compromise its unique characteristics. Nonetheless, with the right type of paint and proper preparation, it can still be done successfully.

Existing finishes

Sunbrella fabric is often treated with special finishes to enhance its resistance to water and mildew. These finishes, however, can interfere with the paint’s ability to adhere properly. Thus, it’s vital to prepare the fabric before painting it.

Weather resistance

Lastly, consider the weather resistance of the spray paint you choose. Since Sunbrella is typically used outdoors, the paint must withstand various weather conditions without peeling, flaking, or fading.

Can You Spray Paint Sunbrella Fabric

Steps to prepare Sunbrella fabric for spray painting

Cleaning the fabric

Start by cleaning the fabric to ensure there are no dirt or grime that can hinder the adhesion of the paint. Use a mild solution of soap and water, and gently scrub the fabric with a soft brush.

Removing stains or mildew

If your Sunbrella fabric has any old stains or signs of mildew, now is the time to address them. Use a specialized fabric cleaner or a vinegar solution to treat any spots.

Testing for water repellency

Once cleaned, you should test the fabric’s water repellency. If water beads up on the surface, it means the fabric is still water-resistant and might repel the paint as well. In this case, you may need to use a fabric deglosser to prepare the surface for painting.

Drying the fabric

Finally, make sure the fabric is thoroughly dried before proceeding with the painting. This is crucial to ensure the paint adheres well and evenly across the entirety of the fabric.

Choosing the right type of spray paint for Sunbrella fabric

Acrylic-based fabric spray paints

For the best results when painting Sunbrella fabric, stick with acrylic-based fabric spray paints. Given that Sunbrella itself is made of acrylic, these varieties of paint tend to adhere well and are also durable and fade-resistant.

Outdoor fabric spray paints

Given Sunbrella’s common use in outdoor settings, opting for spray paints specifically designed for outdoor fabrics is a smart choice. These paints typically possess weather-resistant properties like UV protection, waterproofing, and enhanced durability.

Color selection and availability

While choosing a paint, also consider the color depth and availability to suit your project’s specific requirements. Spray paints come in an array of colors, but not all may work well with Sunbrella fabric. It’s recommended to do a bit of research and maybe a test run with a small sample before committing to a larger project.

Can You Spray Paint Sunbrella Fabric

Spray painting techniques for Sunbrella fabric

Preparation of the spray can

Formidable results start from good preparation. Always shake your spray can before use and ensure the nozzle is cleaned from any previous applications that could clog it.

Application distance

Maintain a steady distance, generally about 12 inches from the fabric, when spraying. If you’re too close, you may end up with uneven coverage or drip marks.

Even and light coats

Begin with a light, even coat of paint. This will act as a primer and help subsequent coats adhere better. Be patient and don’t rush to get intense color with the first coat.

Avoiding oversaturation

Avoid oversaturating the fabric with paint. It’s way better to apply several thin coats rather than a couple of thick ones. Saturated fabric takes longer to dry, and the color may end up being blotchy.

Drying time between coats

Always allow ample drying time between each coat to ensure that the overlaying coat adheres properly. This can differ depending on the brand of paint, so refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Multiple layers for even coverage

Remember, several light layers of paint are preferable to one or two heavy applications. This approach ensures a more even coverage and increases the durability of the paint job.

Clean-up of overspray

Lastly, after you’re done painting, always clean up any overspray. This is done promptly as dried paint can be more difficult to remove.

Key tips and best practices when spray painting Sunbrella fabric

Working in a well-ventilated area

Ensure you’re working in a well-ventilated area, both for your safety (inhaling spray paint fumes can be dangerous) and the fabric’s drying process. Working outside or in an open garage can be perfect.

Using protective equipment

Always use protective equipment, like masks and gloves, to avoid inhaling paint fumes or getting paint on your skin. A protective drop cloth can catch any overspray and protect your surroundings.

Testing on a small inconspicuous area first

Perhaps the most vital piece of advice is to test your paint on a small inconspicuous part of the fabric before applying it to the entire piece. This test run can help you catch any potential problems and ensure you’re happy with the color.

Applying adequate paint layers

Remember, adequate paint layers are key to getting a long-lasting, vibrant finish. While you should avoid oversaturating the fabric, don’t shy away from multiple thin coats of paint.

Avoiding excessive manipulation or rubbing

Avoid excessive manipulation or rubbing of the fabric while it’s wet, as this can disturb the even distribution of paint, resulting in blotches.

Allowing sufficient drying time

Allow sufficient drying time between each coat, and after the final application. Giving the paint time to cure will ensure its durability and color retention.

Protecting painted fabric

Protect your painted fabric from harsh weather conditions, rough handling, or intense sunlight–at least until it’s completely cured.

Regular maintenance and cleaning

Like any other outdoor fabric, regular maintenance and cleaning are crucial. Wipe down your painted Sunbrella fabric regularly with a damp cloth and mild soap to keep it looking fresh and vibrant.

Potential challenges and troubleshooting

Uneven coverage

If you’re struggling with uneven coverage after painting, this might be due to applying the paint too close, or one section more heavily than another. It can be rectified by adding another coat of paint evenly across the fabric.

Color bleeding or fading

If the color seems to bleed or fade, it might be an issue with the quality of the spray paint or not applying enough layers. Try using a paint with UV protection and ensure you’re applying adequate coats to maintain the color.

Peeling or flaking paint

In case of peeling or flaking paint, it could be a result of poor fabric preparation or applying thick layers of paint. Ensure the fabric is properly cleaned and primed, and apply even, light coats.

Stains or spotting

Stains or spotting might show up if the fabric was not entirely clean before painting. A simple cleaning session before painting can resolve this issue.

Weather-related issues

Being an outdoor fabric, Sunbrella might face weather-related issues like color fading or wearing out of paint. Using the right outdoor spray paint with appropriate characteristics can prevent this.

Post-spray painting care for Sunbrella fabric

Curing the paint

After you’ve finished painting, it’s important to allow the paint to cure properly. This process refers to the period it takes for the paint to harden and generally takes around 24-48 hours, depending on the brand of paint.

Sealing or protecting the paint

Consider using a clear protective spray sealant after the paint has fully cured. This will add an extra layer of protection against external elements and ensure that your vibrant color lasts.

Cleaning painted fabric

Cleaning your painted Sunbrella fabric should be done gently with a damp cloth and mild soap. Harsh chemicals or abrasive brushes can damage the paint.

Retouching or repairing

Your painted Sunbrella fabric may need occasional retouches or repairs, especially if it gets a lot of harsh weather. Keep some leftover paint handy for these instances and remember to follow the same process of applying thin, even coats.

Alternative methods to change the color of Sunbrella fabric

Fabric dyeing

If spray painting isn’t for you, fabric dyeing is another method to consider. With fabric dye, you can either darken the existing color or choose a new darker color altogether.

Fabric paint application

Applying fabric paint with a brush or a roller is another feasible alternative. It gives you more control over the application and can be suitable for more detailed jobs.

Adding fabric overlays or accents

Lastly, adding fabric overlays, slipcovers, or accents can also change the look of your Sunbrella fabric without the need for paint or dye. This option is also reversible, giving you the freedom to change things up whenever you want.


All in all, while Sunbrella fabric can be challenging to paint due to its resilience, it’s not impossible. With the right type of paint, proper preparation, and a little patience, you can successfully transform your Sunbrella fabric and give it a whole new look. Just remember to take good care of your painted fabric to ensure that it remains vibrant and beautiful for the longest time possible. The satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment after completing the task would surely outweigh all the initial hard work and patience you put into it.

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