Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Printing on Fabric

Note*  if you are looking for information on printing fabric with an inkjet printer and or, a homemade Bubble Jet Set solution......please click on the "Tutorials" tab above

It has been a little while since I last ran fabric through my printer, I have been wanting to try printing a photo in sections on fabric and stitching it back together. So come along and I'll show you what I did.

First, I made up a batch of my homemade Inkjet set solution, that will allow me "set" the printer ink into the fabric so they won't run or bleed. I have shown this before but, I wanted to prepare a good sized piece of fabric this time, so I tweaked my recipe just a wee bit. The recipe is very simple.

2 tablespoons of Alum   (the stuff used when making pickles)
2 tablespoons of Soda Ash  (the stuff fabric dyers use  NOT washing soda)
2 cups VERY hot water
I mixed this all together.....made certain everything was completely dissolved, added my dampened fabric (which was previously pre-washed) and let it soak for approximately 20 minutes, at which point I gently squeezed out the excess liquid and hung the fabric to dry. (Be sure to wear rubber gloves when handling the solution)
I prepared enough fabric to create 18 printable sheets.

How do you make printable fabric sheets, you ask?  just follow these steps.
Once your solution soaked fabric is thoroughly dry, you need to press it well with a dry iron (no steam!) The  fabric at this stage is susceptible to scorching, so be mindful of that too.
Cut fabric and freezer paper into pieces a bit larger than 8.5 x 11 so that you will be able to trim them perfectly.

Press a piece of freezer paper to the backside of each of your fabric pieces


trim to the size of copy paper....8.5 x 11


Next, to be certain each piece of fabric goes smoothly through my printer, I stitch each piece of prepared fabric to a sheet of cardstock using a zig zag stitch. take a close look at the photos below, leaving that little bit of cardstock at the edge ensures that the printer will grab it and feed it through perfectly each and every time (I ran 10 sheets through in this session and each one printed exactly as I wanted)
Caution! be absolutely certain that you have trimmed the threads as close as possible.....you do NOT want any loose threads that can get caught up in the printer.


here is a look at 4 sheets after they came out of the printer.


I removed the stitching by simply sliding the seam ripper along the edge, to take the fabric off of the cardstock and freezer paper ( I can reuse that cardstock many more times) and now I am ready for the next step...............ahhh...but that will be in another post.

For those who want to know what kind of printer I used, I currently have an inexpensive Canon Pixma iP2600 ink jet colour printer. 

16 comments:

Linda Moran said...

Love the info - this is something I've been wanting to try, so thanks so much!

Clare Wassermann said...

Hmmm thank you for that .... It's very expensive to buy! I look forward to seeing what becomes of this piece!

Denise :) said...

Jill, this is awesome!! I've always wanted to try printing on fabric, but the cost of the sheets is so prohibitive! This I can manage! :)

Robbie said...

Taking the time to add the zig zag stitching is a great tip! I usually (I repeat, usually!) don't have a problem running my freezer paper through the printer but every so often...ugh...I'll remember your tip for sure (that's only because I'm going to write it down and tape to my box of freezer paper!). Thanks, JILL! See I got it right!

Jackie said...

oh my goodness... I wish I had seen this post one month ago... my printer ate my homemade stuff, but I never thought of the cardstock and zigzag...k, is the cardstock just a 2 inch long piece going across the top or a full size 8 x 11

This tute rocks!

helen-mary said...

OMG, I love the idea of the cardstock leading edge. Thankyou. That should save me from repeating many aggravating episodes.

judy balint said...

This technique was shown on Sewing with Nancy a few years back. There is a book and DVD to back it up. This is a fun technique. It will be interesting to see how you finish it.

Quilt Rat said...

Hi Judy......What technique was shown? Printing on fabric?

you don't mean the cardstock trick or the homemade bubblejet set do you?

landscapelady said...

great information yet again! thank you for sharing :-) what does the treating of the fabric do?

Quilt Rat said...

Good question... if you don't treat the fabric, the printer ink will run and bleed out as soon as it gets wet. I use this homemade recipe instead of something like Bubble Jet Set.....Bubble jet set has Formaldehyde and I don't like to use it if I can avoid it

"Trip" said...

Great post and I will be following you and your antics. LOVE the "doodling"and wondering how fabrics might look since I don't draw. Maybe printing different designs on the printable sheets. Hmmm....just thinking out loud. I have successfully printed sheets using a piece of masking tape carefully folded over the top, but your example sounds more secure. Thank you for the inspirations!

"Trip" said...

Great post and I will be following you and your antics. LOVE the "doodling"and wondering how fabrics might look since I don't draw. Maybe printing different designs on the printable sheets. Hmmm....just thinking out loud. I have successfully printed sheets using a piece of masking tape carefully folded over the top, but your example sounds more secure. Thank you for the inspirations!

Lorna McMahon said...

Hi Jill, Thanks for posting about your success with a homemade solution to use when printing on fabric. Let me see if I have this straight.... To make the solution
- 2 tbsp soda ash
- 2 tbsp alum
in 2 cups of VERY HOT water
Soak your dampened fabric in this solution for 20 minutes, squeeze out excess then hang fabric to dry. Prepare the fabric for printing. After printing, let fabric dry overnight and then rinse. Do you rinse it in just plain water? Should you iron it to heat set it before or after rinsing?

Quilt Rat said...

Hi Lorna, send me your email address if you have questions that I can help you with.
You don't need to heat set the fabric after printing. I do add a drop or two of Retain to my rinse water. Look for the follow up post to this one for that info

Lorna McMahon said...

Thanks for getting back to me, Jill. My email address is mcmahonclan at sympatico dot ca.

I noticed you had a couple versions of the solution. Is this the one that worked best for you?
- 2 tbsp soda ash
- 2 tbsp alum
in 2 cups of VERY HOT water
Soak your dampened fabric in this solution for 20 minutes, squeeze out excess then hang fabric to dry. Prepare the fabric for printing. After printing, let fabric dry overnight and then rinse.

I was not successful in finding any soda ash, but read that PH Plus for pools or spas is also made from Sodium Carbonate. I bought that at Canadian Tire.

Where do you buy Retain?

Thanks Jill!

Bead and Trim - USA Beading said...

Fantastic blog, Thanks for sharing. Keep posting like this.
Digital Printing on Fabric NYC
Bead and Trim

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