Thursday, May 5, 2011

Printing onto Fabric Tutorial

Printing Onto Fabric

You will Need:
Fabric softener
Plastic Container from Kitchen
Kitchen Sink
Dish Washing Liquid
100% cotton or silk
Bubble Jet Printer
Freezer Paper
Label Paper
Desired Pictures to Print
Word (Program On PC)

I’ve been using this method now for several years with wonderful perfect results. 
 I guess the main thing to remember, is to take the steps slowly and with patience and you WILL get very good results.

These instructions are no way the only means of printing onto fabric, this is the way I do it and have success with.

Firstly, it’s really important to read through all the instructions first.  Mostly, as I will probably put hints and tips in as I go and might not be all in order!

You can buy freezer paper sheets already cut to size, but as I have a huge roll brought in from USA I cut my own.  A4 size is Australian only, so please remember to cut to your countries paper size.  

I normally do 10 sheets at once, once all cut and prepared I lay flat under a book till I am ready to use them.  Freezer paper has a tendency to roll at edges, which can be tricky when trying to feed through a printer.

I cut my 100% cotton or silk fabric so that it is the size of four pieces of A4 freezer paper, then leave a little extra around outside.  In the kitchen I take my large plastic bowl and partly fill with straight fabric softener.  I use Cuddly in white, but it doesn’t matter what brand you use, even if it’s blue and turns your fabric blue.  It will wash out!  Give it a good soaking, make sure ALL the fabric has soaked up the softener, then slightly wring out.  Take out to clothes line and hang to dry.  When dry remove from clotheslines and iron.  I’ve found some thicker cotton fabrics are hard to iron, but spraying with a light mist of water helps. You need your fabric to be nice and smooth as it will be going through your printer and this is for best results all round.  You should have less printer jambs and a better printed surface.

Once fabric is ironed, wrinkle free, grab one sheet of freezer paper and iron your paper onto your fabric.  A hot iron is needed, continually moving around the paper.  Please do this well, to make sure the paper adheres well to the fabric.  Really concentrate around edges of fabric. 

Please NOTE: Freezer Paper has two sides, a shiny side (this side you iron on) and a dull waxy side – this is the side you are placing onto the fabric. 

Flip your fabric and ironed on paper over and then iron the fabric onto the freezer paper.  This not only helps it adhere more securely, but also helps eliminate the curl in the freezer paper.

Cut your paper out carefully from the fabric, following the exact edge of paper.  There should be NO threads loose or overhang, this can cause problems when running it through the printer.

You can tape up the printing edge, if you wish to prevent  jambs in the Printer. I have only ever had one jamb though, so if you adhere your freezer paper to your fabric well, you will not encounter this problem.

But I do cut the ends I am putting into the printer on an angle, the printer seems to accept it better.

Your printer should be set to a different thickness “cardboard” – “card” – as an example.  If you do not have these options, print using matt photo paper setting.

Print each sheet as you do them.  I find that if I don’t’ print straight away and leave for awhile that the paper wants to separate from the fabric, due to the fabric softener.

My printer allows me to poke the fabric sheet into the feed-dogs of the printer, and automatically aligns for me.  Some printers will not do this.  

Always stand close to your printer, so you can see and watch what is happening.  You will know straight away if it is going to jamb up, be ready to quickly GRAB the sheet out.  You will need to re-iron if this happens, to smooth things and make the paper stick to fabric again.

I have a collection of prints/pictures/photos in a folder on my PC. I open “WORD” and use this program to plan my pictures I want to print.  Word is great, as it has a lot of options you can use, but more than this it is just a few SIMPLE steps.
Open WORD, up the top you will see the menu, click “INSERT”, then down a little you will see “PICTURE”, go across and click on “FROM FILE” …
Another menu will open – find where you have stored your pictures and click on ONE picture.  It will automatically be placed into your WORD Document.  You can click once on your picture that you have imported and re-size by pulling in the little squares at either side, or edges.  If you want to print multiples of one picture, you right click your mouse on the picture you have already re-sized and click “COPY”, take your mouse off your picture and over to the blank space next to it.  Then right click your mouse again, and this time click on “PASTE”.  You can repeat this as many times as you want for how ever many pictures you want.

OR if you want to do a page of different pictures, just import each one as you did above to get the first photo.  Keep adjusting sizes of pictures you import onto your page and play around a bit and you will be amazed at how many pictures you can add to one sheet.

Please Note:  Always leave a space between each photo, top and bottom, sides as well.  This will allow you to cut out and also have something to sew on to if using your printed images in sewing items.

When you have successfully printed your fabric sheet, leave for 24 hours and IRON well.  After 24 hours, peel off freezer paper and rinse each sheet you have printed in a FRESH sink of cold water with a little dish washing liquid.
* I have heard that some dishwashing liquids in USA strip fabric colour, so please choose carefully.  I have used Blast & Morning Fresh … both wonderful and available in Australia.

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