A Quick Start Guide to Printing on Fabric using an Inkjet Printer
Thanks to today’s technology, printing your images and designs directly onto fabric using an inkjet printer has never been easier.
The creative opportunities for using your own personal photos or your own custom designed fabric are limited only by your imagination. Printed images and fabric can be used in textile and quilt art, wearable art, photo quilts, and mixed media art, and just about any other fabric-related project you can think of. You only have to look around you to discover a world of creative opportunities just waiting to be explored.
What you need to get started printing on fabric
Getting started printing on fabric requires only a few supplies.
Photos and Images
The easiest way to print a photo or image is directly from a photo editing program such as Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.
Using a photo editing program allows you to resize and touch up your photos prior to printing because it’s worth remembering – the quality of your inkjet print will be only as good as the quality of the photo or image you are using. You should also use a high resolution image of around 200-300 dpi which will give you a quality print. Photos can be scanned into your computer or printed directly from the scanner however this gives you less control over the quality of your photo.
You can print your photos or images using any standard home inkjet printer however it’s recommended that you do a test print first to determine the best print settings as some printers will print fine using the “Standard” print setting, but some printers print better using the “Photo” print setting.
The best type of printer is one that has an L-shaped feed – feeds from the top and spits out at the front, passing through the printer with a gentle curve. This is one of the most common types of printers.
However printers that have a U-shaped feed – one that passes through the printer with a sharp u-turn, are not recommended for printing on fabric as they tend to cause paper jams.
Fabric Adhered to a Backing Paper
In order for your fabric to feed through the printer, you need to use fabric that is adhered to a paper backing. This ensures that the fabric will feed through smoothly and won’t jam. One of the easiest methods of adhering fabric to a paper backing is to iron the fabric to a piece of freezer paper.
Also, if you want your prints to be water-resistant and/or washable, you need to ensure that your fabric is pre-treated prior to printing.
You can pre-treat your fabric yourself to make the prints permanent using Bubble Jet-set, which is a liquid solution that you use to soak your fabric prior to printing. This pre-treatment will make your fabric prints permanent and washable.
Or for a quick and no-fuss method, simply use commercial fabric sheets such as EQ Printables which are already pre-treated and adhered to a paper backing. These fabric sheets are my preferred method for printing standard size prints and will give you a fabulous result every time.
Ready to Print?
When you’re ready to print, simply place the fabric sheet in your printer just like a piece of copy paper and print.
Once your image is printed, allow the ink to dry. If you used Bubble Jet-set to pre-treat the fabric, then rinse the print using a mild detergent such as Bubble Jetset Rinse to remove any excess ink, allow to dry flat on a towel, then iron the wrinkles out with an iron. If using commercial fabric sheets, follow the instructions. Your print is now ready to use!
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