How to Remove Puffy Paint From Clothes


Puffy paint -- also known as dimensional paint -- is a type of craft paint that dries with a raised texture. While it can bind to a wide array of materials, such as paper, glass and wood, it’s commonly used on fabrics to give clothing a three-dimensional appearance. Puffy paint is available in both manufactured and homemade forms, both of which can be applied using brushes, scrapers or even your hands. Puffy paint has the same appearance and consistency as acrylic paint; however, when heat is applied, it expands.

Things You'll Need

  • Dull knife or hard-bristled brush

  • Spoon

  • Cotton swabs

  • Sponge

  • Cloth

  • Laundry detergent

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Varnish remover

  • White spirit

  • Turpentine

  • Face mask

  • Gloves

Removing Dried Puffy Paint

Homemade puffy paints -- which have a shaving foam base -- are far less durable than manufactured forms and will simply come off in the wash, even after they’ve dried. If you need to remove a commercial-grade product that’s already set in, you’ll need to moisten the paint first. If dealing with a dried smear, work on one small section at a time.

  1. Scrape away any excess paint with a dull knife or hard-bristled brush. Be careful not to damage the fabric itself.
  2. Blot the stain with a damp cloth to moisten the surface. If this releases any excess paint, scoop it up with a spoon.
  3. Pour a few drops of varnish remover onto a sponge and blot the stain to loosen the paint particles.

  4. Dab the surface with a clean, dry cloth, and then machine-wash the clothing, following the label guidelines.


    • Puffy paints that are designed for clothing are machine-washable, making them less susceptible to cleaning. While the removal process is the same, too much vigorous scrubbing could ruin the fabric.

    • Conduct the cleaning process either outside or in a well-ventilated area on a work surface that you don't mind marring.

    • Wear a face mask and gloves to protect your skin and prevent breathing in the fumes.

Removing Wet Puffy Paint

Unlike acrylic and oil-based paints -- which seep into fabric and cause instantaneous staining -- wet puffy paint stains can be easily removed from clothing. Most forms have a drying time of four or more hours; therefore, addressing them within this window of time is crucial.

  1. Scoop up any excess paint with a spoon, and then blot the stain with a cotton swab.
  2. Place the reverse side of the affected area under running warm water. Since most puffy paints are water based and designed to come out in the wash, this may be all that’s required.
  3. For particularly stubborn stains, sprinkle a pinch of detergent on the affected area and blot it with a sponge.
  4. If laundry detergent isn’t enough, try blotting the stain with stain remover instead.

  5. After applying detergent or any other cleaning solution, machine-wash the item of clothing, following the label guidelines.


    • Wiping wet paint with a cloth will smear it over a larger surface area and work it deeper into the fabric.
    • Before applying detergent, rubbing alcohol or varnish remover, spot test the fabric (if possible) on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it is safe to use.

Unexpected puffy paint stains are no cause for concern. As long as you act quickly and pay attention to the garment care tag, you should be able to remove even the most difficult stains. Just remember to exercise caution if removing a more durable paint.

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