There are so many fun projects that you can do with fabrics, such as quilts, blankets, totes, pillows and more. But maybe you want to step it up a notch and create some personal pieces on that tote bag, quilt or whatever your creation is. Something unique and a little different.
Printable fabric is one way to go. You can purchase these already to go in packages from the craft supply store, or even the office supply store. But what if you want more choice in the type of fabrics you use or want many sheets of pictures?
Then the answer is to make your own.
How to Print on Fabric?
It is not hard to do, but takes a few supplies and a bit of patience. You can purchase solutions that will make the material stiff and printable, but from experience, I found this method to work quite well.
What you will need:
1 x piece of regular white printer paper
1 x cardboard box with sides to limit the overspray
1 x can of spray mount adhesive (craft store or online)
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1 x piece of 100% cotton fabric in your choice of colour, but it should be a light colour to show off all the details. (Cotton will absorb the ink best)
1 x iron
1 x pair of really sharp scissors.
Make sure you are working in a well-lit area so you can see any little threads.
Take your cotton fabric and lay it out nice and flat, iron it to make sure it is wrinkle free and flat. Lay the piece of paper on top of the material and rough cut to size, within approximate one inch all the way around.
Following directions on the can of spray mount adhesive put your paper in the back of the box which you have turned on its side, creating a protected area to spray. If you can do this outside it would be great but if not, make sure and use the box idea so as not to get adhesive anywhere else other than the page.
Make sure you give it a good coat of spray especially around the edges of the page.
Take the page out of the box, and then lay it on the fabric lightly. Gently press out to the edges to make sure the paper sticks to the fabric.
This is where the hot iron helps too. Iron the page on the fabric making sure there are no wrinkles or air bubbles.
Once you can see that it is firmly in place, let it cool slightly, then take your sharp scissors and cut as close to the edge of the paper without cutting it. This is the most tedious part of this operation but well worth it. You don’t want bits of fabric and thread stuck in your printer.
If you cut it close with the sharpest of scissors, there will be no worries of hanging threads. But after you are done check for any threads or bits that may have landed on the material. You want it clean when it goes into the printer.
Printing on Fabric
Remove your plain paper from your printer and now add your fabric sheet. Each printer is different as to whether the printable surface should go in the feeder facing up or down. So think about that before you put it in the feeder. You don’t want your picture printing on the paper side.
Go into your computer and find your image, and then go into the settings to get the right size and also find the tab for the “best” when it comes to printing options. You want your image to look its best.
It will take a bit longer if you have selected “best” just be patient. Guide it into the tray as it is printing so that it doesn’t fall on the floor or smudge. It will still be a bit wet when it first comes out so let it dry for a minute or two before handling it.
Once you have your image and you are happy with it. You simply find a corner and gently peel the paper off the back of the image. You see spray mount adhesive allows for images to be moved, so this is why the paper will peel off once you get it started at a corner.
I would then run an iron over the image again to set the ink colours so that they are more resistant to water. If you ever have to wash your item, it would be best to do it by hand in cold water.
Fabric Printing Video
This video can give you an idea of how easy this is to make. Once you get the hang of it, you can make a few sheets at a time so that you are ready for your projects.
You will also have to make sure your printer is full of both the colour and the black ink for best results. Some other options that work well is to print black and white photos, this has a stunning effect especially if they are old photos on white cotton fabric.
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Ideas for Printable Fabrics
You can use this technique to create quilts, and fabric projects that can be framed for the wall, or pillows or my favourite, tote bags. You can get blank cotton tote bags online and then sew your homemade printer fabric to the tote for a personalized gift idea.
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If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own printable fabrics, you can purchase the material in packages ready for the printer. These fabrics can then be either ironed on the project or sewn. They will go straight into the feeder as they are right from the package.
This is a fun alternative to simply paper or photograph albums. It is the perfect way to display some personalized photos, or your own designs or drawings that you have scanned into the computer. Have fun.