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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fabric Printing Tips

I know there are many other blogs out there that give tips on fabric printing.
But, if there is ANYTHING I know about in the quilting world, 
it is fabric printing.
More than that of stitches or machines or methods of any sort.
I have literally printed hundreds of fabric photos. 
Maybe even thousands. Yes, probably so.

Be sure to read the entire post because I will be discussing printers that you can and can't use,
how to feed fabric into a printer, as well as how to prepare the fabric.

Let's start with preparing your fabric~

I have used all the major types of fabric photo sheets.
There is only ONE company that I would trust for their pre-made photo fabric sheets...

Besides pre-made sheets they also sell all the supplies to make your own photo fabric.
It is a very easy process, and so much cheaper than pre-made sheets!
Available on their just need Bubble Jet Set 2000 and Bubble Jet Rinse.

You will also need freezer paper available at your local grocery store.
I am not going to show you photos for this as we have other things we need to discuss, 
but basically you soak your pre-washed fabric in the Jet Set for 5 minutes,
then you print your photos,
then you soak them in a solution of the rinse/water for 1 minute;
 then hang them to dry.
The bottles of chemicals will prepare a BUNCH of fabric. 
(One note- they only work on 100% synthetics.)

Now for printing. 
Any bubble jet or ink jet printer will work.
I am picky and will only use Epson printers. 
Yes. The expensive ink printer.
Their ink is the best photo ink out there.
If you don't have an Epson, don't stress.
Just make sure it is a bubble jet or ink jet.

After you have your photo all rinsed in chemicals, 
hang dry it. You may use a cool blow dryer on it, but do not put it in the dryer.
Then, iron--with dry iron; no steam-- some freezer paper to the fabric. 
(shiny side of freezer paper to fabric back)
After ironing, then using your rotary cutter that you preserve for paper,
cut the photo sheets to 8.5 X 11.

You should now be able to feed your fabric into the printer;
just make sure you only do one sheet at a time.

I have never had any trouble feeding muslin sheets.
(This finished photo below shows lines...I need to clean my print heads.)
This method makes the ink blend with the fabric;
and the muslin feels just like it did when we started.
Some of the "other" pre-made sheets out there on the market
create a real stiff feel to the photos and it doesn't feel like fabric.

Recently I did have quite a bit of trouble feeding some non muslin cotton.
If you are having trouble feeding,
tape the bottom edge of your fabric sheet (complete with the freezer paper)
onto some card stock. 
In my photo the fabric is pink,
the card stock is yellow,
and the tape is brown.
I figured the more colorful--the easier to see!
One final note--
 If I am using this method for my hand stitching, I usually skip all the fabric treating.
I am not concerned about it fading out.
But--the image needs to be crisp, clean, and fine lined. 
In the image above I blew up the original quite a bit. 
It makes the lines very thick.
 I think I will be tracing the designs on my light box instead.


debi said...

Love Jenkins!!!! I discover them awhile back and they are the BEST!!!!

Handmade Crafts Done While RVing Blog said...

Oh I wish I had the space in my rig for your gear - I'd be your twin.... We shop for a newer used one after this summer season.. Love today's blog big time...

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Nice information TOnya - I have only print on a few labels using the pre-treated fabric sheets. I know it's a little more costly, but for what little I do, they are worth skipping all the extra steps. Call me lazy.

Pokey said...

I figured it must be good, JENKINS is my maiden name, lol
Thanks, Tonya! :-}pokey