70+ uses for Puffy Paint Dimensional Fabric Paint70+ uses for Puffy Paint (aka Dimensional Fabric Paint). It's not just for fabric!
70+ uses for Puffy Paint (Dimensional Fabric Paint)

Puffy Paint (or Scribbles, or Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint, or most other dimensional fabric paints) can be used for so much more than decorating a T-shirt! Household items, home decor, jewelry… and lots more! I’ve got over 70 ideas here and I’ve just scratched the surface. With all the colors available, you can jazz up just about anything you can think of!

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It doesn’t happen all that often, but once in a while I have one of those “ah ha!” moments and come up with a “scathingly brilliant idea” (okay, who knows the movie? hint: an oldie with Hayley Mills…). Once again, my friend, Pinterest, led me to an industrial product called Plasti Dip. Have you heard of this stuff? If you have, you probably think it’s used to dip tool handles, like on pliers or a screwdriver, to give them grip. But people have started getting really creative with it. Like dipping whole cars. For real! (Okay, they use an aerosol can version, so it actually isn’t “dipped”).

The description on their web site says that it is a “rubberized dip protective coating product.” I loooove the product concept and started thinking about a million other uses. But it is really limited in the number of colors you can get (although they are starting to catch on and make new colors), it comes in a pretty large quantity and is pricey. And not everything can be dipped, so trying to apply it from a can using a paint brush is messy and sloppy.

One day I was using some Puffy Paint pens and it hit me that it is really similar stuff! Okay, I’m not a chemist, so I don’t know for sure, but it certainly has similar properties! So I tried it out. O! M! G! You can buy it in small quantities for a reasonable price. And oh, the colors available! Even glow in the dark!

Plasti Dip is best to use when you need to coat a large surface and you want to get a smooth coating, which you really can only get by dipping or using the spray can. Dimensional paint is great when you want finer control to add dots or lines because they come in small bottles or pens with fine tips.

Note: There are recipes floating around all over the internet for “puffy paint.” These recipes are for making a paint mixture that puffs up for kids crafts, not for projects like these. It won’t work on these projects.

Here is just a small list of what you can do with Plasti Dip or any 3-dimensional paint (such as Puffy Paint, Scribbles, or Tulip dimensional fabric paint):

Put a safe, scratch-proof, poke-proof coating on…

70+ Uses for Puffy Paint: Wire Shelving Ends Covered in Puffy Paint…anything that has a sharp, pokey, rough surface you don’t want poking or scratching. Have you ever installed those wire shelves in closets and used those little rubber caps on the cut ends? What a pain to put on and they can pop off! Why not just put a little Puffy Paint on the cut ends of the shelf?

You can also put it over the teeth of a pair of pliers or a wrench to prevent scratches (like when tightening a shower head or making jewelry).

70+ Uses for Puffy Paint: puffy paint doilyPut it on the bottom of that lamp or vase that scratches your antique end table instead of using those old-fashioned doilies. (Or, if you like doilies, make a doily out of puffy paint to put under the lamp or vase, or on a tray, as shown by Natalie Shaw at Doodlecraft.)

I used it on the tray I put under our coffee maker. We’ve had problems with it overflowing, so we found a dish draining tray we made fit in the space we have, but it’s made of a hard plastic and has a bunch of vertical supports on the underside that scratched and scraped and made a horrible noise every morning when we pulled it out from under the cabinets to make the coffee. So I put Puffy Paint on the bottom edges, and now it doesn’t scratch and is quiet!

Repair/strengthen charger cord

70+ Uses for Puffy Paint: Charger Cord Repaired with Puffy PaintThat first aha moment was fixing the charger cord for our old Kindle. I often use the Kindle in bed, but the power strip is on the opposite side from the jack on the Kindle, so there was constant stress on that cord and it started to act flaky. If you wiggled it just right it would work. So, how to keep it in that sweet spot? A blob of Puffy Paint!

As you can see, I applied it while in that bent position. It’s held up beautifully for over a year now. Plasti Dip would have worked fine here too.

Note that the outer surface of the cord was not damaged, and this is a low-voltage cord. I do not know if this product could or should be used to repair a frayed electrical cord. (I am not recommending it.)
Repair rubber gloves
70+ Uses for Puffy Paint: Garden Glove Repair with Puffy Paint

Before, with hole

70+ Uses for Puffy Paint: Garden Glove Repair - temporarily tape hole shut

Tape hole shut

70+ Uses for Puffy Paint: Garden Glove Repair with Puffy Paint: apply inside, then outside

Apply inside, then outside

70+ Uses for Puffy Paint: Garden Glove Repair with Puffy Paint - final result

Final result – hole is repaired

I had actually forgotten all about the Puffy Paint until this spring when I started planting in the garden and my gardening gloves got a hole in the tip of the pointer finger, as pretty much happens with all of my gardening gloves because of my long fingernails. And I thought these gloves would be the ones to last too, because they have a pretty heavy rubber coating over knit gloves. Light bulb went off… Puffy Paint to the rescue!

I first just tried putting a quick glob on the fingertip. But that didn’t last long. So I pulled it off (and being able to pull it off was a sure sign I didn’t do it right) and this time took time to do the right prep. First, I washed the gloves thoroughly. Then I used a piece of tape to temporarily keep the hole closed and turned the finger inside out. I started with a light coat, making sure to get the paint into the fibers of the fingertip. Then I added another heavier coat. After that dried, I turned the finger right side out, removed the tape, and added more on the outside. The surface isn’t very smooth, but I don’t care. Dipping the fingertip in Plasti Dip would have given a smoother coating.

As you can see by the dirt, I’ve used them a lot since this repair and it’s holding up wonderfully. (I cleaned just the repaired finger so you could actually see the repair.)

Don’t have a hole? Put this stuff on before you get a hole!
Put a non-slip coating on….
70+ Uses for Puffy Paint: Non-Slip Socks with Puffy Paint

…just about anything! How about the bottom of socks for kids (or adults), just like the ones you get in the hospital? You can personalize them with the person’s name, a pattern, or other design (picture is from I Am Momma Hear Me Roar‘s blog).

If you make slippers (knit, crocheted, fleece, or felt), add this to the bottom before you gift them. If it isn’t stretchy, you can coat the whole bottom (you might want to use a disposable brush). If it is stretchy, like the socks, then avoid large solid areas that might crack when stretched (maybe make a pattern using dots instead).

Note: Puffy Paint is non-toxic. The MSDS for Plasti Dip lists health hazards with prolonged contact and ingestion is poisonous (so don’t use Plasti Dip on kids socks or slippers).
Also note: Puffy Paint is kind of hard when it dries. It’s flexible, but if it is thick, it feels hard and smooth. If applying on socks, make sure to work into the fibers a bit and not lay it on too thick or smoothly or you’ll feel the bumps when you step on them and it may not give you the grip as intended. Experiment on an old pair of socks, as different brands may give different results.

70+ Uses for Puffy Paint: no slip work glovesGive some cheap knit work gloves some grip and durability (for example, as shown at Art Threads). Or put it on your winter gloves to give them some grip when driving.

What about that dog dish that goes sliding across the tile floor in the kitchen? Or even your glasses that keep sliding off your nose or that ring that is loose on your finger? Or the dash or console of your car to keep your phone from sliding off? Put it on your headbands on the hair side to help keep it from slipping on your head.

70+ Uses for Puffy Paint: Anti-Slip (and Decorative) Coating on Camera with Puffy PaintHow about on your camera? (Okay, you may want to be a little more conservative and utilitarian than this example, but hey, it makes your imagination run wild, doesn’t it?)

And obviously on tools. Put it on tool handles not only to help with grip and comfort, but to label them (use pink or glitter and your hubby won’t take your tools). Dipping them will give you the smoothest finish. But it if you apply dimensional paint out of a bottle or pen, you could draw stripes or rings or dots instead of a solid coating.

Also use to keep things from sliding, like a paper cutter trimmer. And think about what kitchen tools this might be handy on!

If you know anyone with a disability who needs help holding on to things, this stuff can be put on pens, paint brushes, jars/lids, kitchen utensils, or again, just about anything to add some grip!

Note: I do not know if it is dishwasher safe. I have seen conflicting answers online. I will try to test it someday and put the answer here. In the meantime, hand washing would be recommended.