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There are so many reasons why you may be considering printing an image onto fabric including the following.....
*Transfer an embroidery pattern
*Turn an image you've drawn, painted or photographed into a stitch-able item.
*Incorporate as part of mixed media project
I could go on.....
While I currently get my images professionally printed onto fabric for my embroidery kits, I have spent a lot of time over the years playing with ways to get my images onto fabric so that I could incorporate stitching.
Today I want to share a couple of ways you can print an image onto fabric at home, using your own printer.
Option No 1.
The first option (and very easy peasy!) is that you can buy specific printable fabric which comes in sheets, all ready to pop in you printer.
You can get A4 and A3 sheet sizes, and types which are suitable for either an inkjet printer or laser printer.(*NOTE: be sure to check you are buying the fabric that suits your type of printer)
ADVANTAGES:It's easy and immediate. You can find differ types of printable fabric (cotton, linen, organza) available and some are washable once printed upon.
DISADVANTAGES: It is quite costly if you add the printer ink costs on top (I use my snazzy epson printer that I use for creating prints, and the ink catridges are pricey) The size of the paper I received is a slightly different size to A4,and so requires the know how to change the paper size on the printer.
Option No 2.
Second option (and the rather fun one I think) is making your own fabric paper to print upon.
For this you need:
Printing onto Fabric with your home printer
This old family photo (featuring my mum as a girl) was printed onto bought printable fabric, and here I'm filling in some bits with embroidery.
The fabric that is sold for printing comes with paper adhered to the back, so it can feed through your printer easily. Once the fabric is printed onto, you then peel off the paper and can get stitching.
Apparently freezer paper can be found in your local supermarket (I've yet to stumble upon some!), but you can also buy it easily online , and if you're super lazy like me you can buy it already cut up into A4 sheets rather than on the 60 feet roll!
Freezer paper comes with a thin layer of wax on one side (shiny side) and so by placing the paper shiny side down onto your plain cotton fabric, and then going over the non-shiny side with a hot iron , the paper will become sealed to your cotton fabric. This creates a firm enough item to be fed through your printer and printed upon.
You'll notice that at the ironing stage, the fabric is not cut to an exact size. You get a far cleaner and straighter edge (needed for printing) when you cut the fabric once it has been attached to the freezer paper.(as shown below)
*Note* Make sure the corners and edges of the freezer paper are firmly stuck onto the fabric. Go back and iron if they are not!
Next trim the fabric edges. Once you have completed this you are ready for printing!
It is always best to have a practise run printing out your image onto normal paper first.... this will remind you which way to lie the "fabric paper" so the image prints on the fabric side. It will also ensure the image is sitting where you wish.
Once you have printed the image then you can peel off the paper and get sewing again!
ADVANTAGES: It's a cheaper alternative to buying the printable fabric. I use an inkjet printer for this technique, but having done some research it appears it can be succesfully done with a laser printer too.
DISADVANTAGES: It is a touch fiddly, but made much easier buying the freezer paper already cut into A4 sheets.
Depending on your printer, and the fabric you use the colour quality will vary. It is also not washable unless you have a inkjet printer that uses archival inks. I have no experience printing with a laser printer and so do not know how waterproof an image will be.
I'm not sure if you can tell from the photo to the right, but the difference between the colour quality in reality is quite noticable. The top image was printed on my bog- standard-home-general-use-printer, and the bottom one was printed using my snazzy printer with archival inks.
Below is a sweet piece I created YEARS ago incorporating photos I'd printed onto fabric using an even cheaper (and dodgier!) printer. You will notice it's very pale in comparison, but I actually think works quite well with the vintage meets modern feel.