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Recommended products for printing on fabric using an inkjet printer

Posted on April 10, 2014

As I mentioned in a previous post, I print on fabric using my inkjet printer using various different techniques, and I also use various different products to achieve the results I’m looking for. Let’s have a look at the products that I use. (Note that the links in this article will refer you directly to the product supplier where I get my supplies from.)

Printer

PrinterFor printing on fabric I use a dedicated printer which is an Epson WorkForce 1100 Wide-Format Color Inkjet Printer. I’ve considered upgrading to a newer model, but this particular printer (after a few initial problems) is still going strong after quite a few years and I have no reason to retire it just yet. This printer is a wide format so I can print up to 13″ wide by 44″ long, and it uses pigment inks which means I can make fabric prints that are permanent and washable.

With this printer I can print on plain fabric, but it also has an “envelope setting” which allows thicker paper to be fed through and I use this setting to print on textured fabric such as fabric paper up to about 1/4″ thick without any problems although I don’t recommend you try this at home unless you know what you’re doing.

This model printer has been discontinued by Epson however I think you can still pick them up used or refurbished here on Amazon, or you can check the Epson website for the latest alternative model.

You can also find additional information about printers here on the Inked Cloth website.

Fabric

For general purpose fabric prints I use EQ Printables Inkjet Fabric Sheets which are commercial fabric sheets that are pre-treated to ensure the prints are washable. I like using this fabric because I get a consistent and high quality fabric print every time. You can purchase these in standard size sheets or in a convenient roll which is what I use. You can find a fabric comparison test here on the Inked Cloth website that demonstrates the difference using different types of fabric including EQ Printables.

EQ Printables EQ Printables

For large size general purpose fabric prints I use Jacquard Fabrisign which is available from Dharma Trading. This fabric comes in rolls in sizes from 17″ to 58″ wide, is conveniently backed with paper so it’s ready to go through the printer, and is available in various types of cotton and silk. This fabric is pre-treated for water-resistance but is not waterproof so the prints are not washable.

Jacquard Procoat which is also available from Dharma Trading, is a fabric that is pre-treated for washability however it can only be used with special printer inks and requires special treatment to make the prints washable.

Jacquard Fabrisign

For printing images on sheer fabric, I sometimes use Extravorganza which is a silk organza with a paper backing ready to feed through the printer. This is really convenient for making quick prints.

Extravorganza

Fabric Pre-Treatments

If you prefer to prepare your own fabric rather than purchase commercial fabric, these products are recommended to ensure water-resistance and washability of your fabric prints.

Bubble Jet Set is a liquid that is used to pre-soak your fabric prior to printing, and which makes your images waterproof and washable. It’s suitable for use with 100% cotton and silk. Once the image is printed you will need to rinse it using Bubble Jet Rinse which will ensure that any excess ink is removed.

Once the inkjet print is washed and dried, you can then iron onto a piece of freezer paper which will act as a carrier so the fabric can feed through your printer. C. Jenkins Freezer Paper Sheets are heavyweight freezer paper sheets that helps to feed the fabric through your printer without jamming. Paper jams are a common problem when you use ordinary freezer paper which is quite thin and tends to curl up at the corners and edges and this can sometimes cause massive and messy paper jams in your printer. I no longer use these products as I find the preparation too time consuming and the results are never as good as when I use EQ Printables.

Bubble Jetset Bubble Jetset Rinse Freezer Paper Sheets

You can find more information about using Bubble Jetset here, and more information about attaching fabric to a freezer paper backing here.

Inkaid and Digital Grounds

Inkaid and Golden Digital Grounds are liquid solutions that are painted onto a flat surface to prepare the surface for printing using an inkjet printer. Using these products you can now print on any substrate that can fit through a printer such as handmade papers, metals like aluminum and copper, film, wood veneer, plastic, and glass.

Although you can easily feed fabric through your printer, when you pre-treat your fabric using Inkaid or Digital Grounds, it considerably enhances the color, clarity and quality of the printed image. As I’ve mentioned before, the difference between printing on plain fabric (left), and printing on fabric that is treated with Inkaid or Digital Grounds (right) is quite amazing.

How to make your inkjet fabric prints better

But not only can you use these products to prepare plain fabric, you can also use them to pre-treat fabric that previously was impossible to print on such as cheesecloth

Inkjet Print on Fabric - Cheesecloth

and lace fabric

Inkjet Print on Fabric - Lace

as well as to enhance the quality of images printed on sheer fabrics.

Inkjet Print on Fabric - Sheers

Inkaid and Golden Digital Grounds both have basic products in common, but they also have products that are exclusive to their brand. For example Inkaid offers iridescent treatments that Golden doesn’t have, and Golden offers excellent paint-on sealers that Inkaid doesn’t have. Between the two brands there is a whole world of fun and exploring to do and I plan to go into it in more in future articles.

In the meantime if you’re tempted to try them out, both manufacturers offer sample packs that are inexpensive and a great introduction to using these types of pre-treatments.

Inkaid Sample Set
The inkAID Sample Set contains 4 oz. (125 ml) of White Matte, Clear Semi-Gloss, Clear Matte, Clear Gloss, Clear Gloss Type II, Translucent Gloss, and Iridescent Pearl.

Inkaid

Golden Digital Grounds Sample Set
The Golden Digital Grounds Sample Set includes one 2 oz bottle of each of the following mediums: Clear Gloss Digital Ground, White Matte Digital Ground, Digital Ground for Non-Porous Surfaces, Gloss Gel Topcoat, and Semi-Gloss Gel Topcoat.

Digital Mixed Media Sample Set

Happy printing!

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How to Print on fabric using an inkjet printer

Posted on April 8, 2014

If you love to print on fabric using an inkjet printer as much as I do, then you know just how fun and creative it can be. And it’s easy to do using technology that everyone has convenient access to, starting with the simple home inkjet printer.

Printing on fabric is my personal favorite method of transferring images to fabric and I use my images in lots of different ways:

Memory Quilts – one of my absolute favorite ways to use images.

Photolicious Art Quilt Pattern

Canvas Art

Printing on Fabric - Photo Art: Remembering Summer

Journal Pages

Image Transfer Inkjet Print

Bags and Purses

Bella Clutch Purse Pattern

And I don’t just print images

I also print digital texture images. You might think the bag below has been painted, but you would be wrong. This is a photoshop texture printed on fabric paper.

Blush Art Bag

How easy is it to print on fabric?

Printing your own images on fabric using an inkjet printer can be as easy as adhering a piece of white fabric to a piece of freezer paper and then feeding it through your printer. You can find detailed instructions for making your own fabric sheets here.

Printing on fabric using an inkjet printer

Bubble JetsetThis do-it-yourself method is fairly quick and easy, but for fabric prints that need to be washed you will need to pre-treat your fabric with Bubble Jetset which is a special liquid that ensures washability for inkjet fabric prints. However if you have a printer that used pigment inks like my Epson 1100, then pre-treating your fabric generally isn’t necessary.

EQ PrintablesAn easier way is to purchase commercial pre-treated fabric sheets such as EQ Printables Inkjet Fabric Sheets. I like the convenience of having these sheets on hand and whenever I need to make a quick fabric print, I just pull one out of the packet and feed it through the printer. I’ve tried all the different brands of commercial pre-treated fabric sheets and these are my favorite brand and the only one I use these days. These fabric sheets not only ensure washability of your fabric prints, but you will also find that the color reproduction is much better than when using plain fabric. This is the fabric that I used to print out my grandson’s photo that I used in the memory quilt at the top of this page. You can see that the color on the printed image is bright and vivid.

How to get better inkjet fabric prints for use in artwork

For general purpose fabric prints that are intended to be used in memory quilts and general purpose fabric projects, printing your images on plain or pre-treated fabric is often the best choice, particularly if you want your fabric prints to be washable.

However for fabric prints that are intended to be used for artwork, there are special products you can use to pre-treat your fabric such as Inkaid and Digital Grounds, that will further enhance the clarity of detail and color saturation.

For example, the image on the left was printed on plain white untreated fabric. The image on the right was printed on the same type of fabric pre-coated with Inkaid. To make this a fair comparison, both fabric prints were made using the exact same settings on the printer and I didn’t do any tweaks to the image prior to printing (which is something I would normally do). Isn’t the difference amazing?

How to make your inkjet fabric prints better

This image is similar to the digital design that I used on my art bag “Daisy”.

How to Print on fabric using an inkjet printer

Want to learn more?

I love that there is simple technology available that allows artists to be so creative and produce such stunning work without too much effort, and because I get asked a lot about how I achieve such amazing printed images on fabric, over the course of the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some information about my favorite products and processes for printing on fabric. So if you love to print on fabric, or want to learn some advanced techniques (trust me – you *will* be amazed) then I invite you to join me and play along.

And in the meantime, if you’re not yet familiar with basic techniques for printing on fabric, you can find all you need to get started here on my Inked Cloth website.

Happy printing!

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Exploring Photoshop: Designing Repeat Patterns

Posted on March 19, 2014

Designing your own fabric patterns has never been easier with all the amazing tools that we have at our disposal these days. And making a repeat pattern design is one of the most common ways to create designs. Although there are special programs that make this task very easy indeed like Adobe Illustrator (which is also very expensive), you can make repeating designs quite easily using Photoshop Elements or Photoshop.

In Photoshop and Photoshop Elements you can of course make repeat patterns using several different methods. This one is my personal favorite.

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Designing Repeat Patterns

So let’s get started …

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The power of Pinterest for your business

Posted on March 4, 2014

Don’t you just love Pinterest? I do! I love it for both for casual browsing as well as for business and I have to admit that I probably spend a tad more time on there than I should. I’ve mentioned before that Pinterest has been good for my business, and it’s improving every day.

For instance, I was adding some pins to one of my boards today and noticed these pins so thought I would share.

What’s interesting about this particular pin is that it’s been shared 3,241 times and it’s been liked 241 times. I didn’t make that up. And I think that’s amazing! Who knew so many people needed a way to manage their cords?

The power of Pinterest for your business

However, that was just pin shares from my Pinterest board. In total this article has been shared 7,640 times.

The power of Pinterest for your business

And this pin for a fabric bin tutorial has been shared from my Pinterest board 2717 times and liked 175 times. (more…)

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WordPress for Artists

Posted on February 23, 2014

Learn how to install and setup your own WordPress website – for free!

For the last several years I’ve run an online class showing other artists how to create their own WordPress website and I’m asked constantly if I’m going to run it again this year. Unfortunately due to other projects and commitments this year I won’t have time.

However …

What I have done is put together a free set of basic tutorials showing you how to install and setup your own WordPress website and you can find it all here on the WordPress for Artists website.

I hope you find this a useful resource for getting your WordPress website up and running, and of course if you’re not up for the challenge of setting up your own website, I still offer custom WordPress installation and maintenance.

Wordpress for Artists

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Fabric photo frames, online classes and other things

Posted on February 14, 2014

I just happened to look up and discovered it’s Friday already! Oh my goodness! So what have I been doing this week to make it disappear so quickly?

Fabric Photo Frames

Firstly I’ve been trying to finish samples for some new patterns that I’m working on, in particular this pattern for fabric photo frames. I love making fabric frames for my photos; it’s such a creative way to display photos that you cherish and it’s also a great way to coordinate your photos to your frames because you can use any type and color of fabric. I have a few more design samples to finish, but hopefully this pattern will be ready for publication within the next week or so. In the meantime, here are a few samples that I’ve finished.

I’ve added some embellishments to this frame which I think is perfectly suited for an old black and white photo of my grandparents.

Fabric Photo Frame

I absolutely love the color of this fabric and it looks great with this photo art print. (more…)

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How to make quick and easy fabric trays

Posted on February 6, 2014

As I was cleaning up the sewing room the other day I realized that most of the mess on the sewing table was made up of small piles of “works in progress”. Normally I keep all the bits and pieces for my projects together in plastic bags, and although this is a convenient way to store things I find it quite uninspiring to see my precious work jammed into a plastic bag.

I’ve been meaning for ages to make some fabric storage boxes or trays but most patterns are quite time consuming and then I remembered seeing this tutorial for quick and easy fabric trays. So I adjusted the pattern slightly so that I could use some of my injured prints, and in only a few hours I had sewn a small collection of beautiful fabric trays.

How to make a fabric tray

If you want to make your own fabric trays using a printed image or other type of focus fabric, here’s how to do it: (more…)

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Exploring Photoshop: How to make textured edges for your photos

Posted on February 5, 2014

Exploring Photoshop: How to make textured edges for photosTextured and decorative framed edges for your photos, can really set the mood and turn your photos and images into something memorable, don’t you think?

There are lots of different ways to add textured edges to your photos using photoshop or photoshop elements, but the easiest way I’ve found is to make a separate image and use it as an overlay mask. Using this technique you can accumulate a very nice library of textured edges that you can use over and over on your other photos as well.

This tutorial demonstrates the basics of making this type of textured edge using the basic round brush that can be found in the brush library, and once you know how to do it you can go crazy using other different types of brushes.

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Free Machine Embroidery Tutorial – I Heart You

Posted on January 31, 2014

Free Machine Embroidery Tutorial - I Heart YouWith Valentines Day quickly approaching, I thought this would be an ideal time to revisit my tutorial for making a “see through” heart design using machine needle-lace.

Machine needle-lace is a very versatile technique and one I use often, particularly for making embellishments. But you can also use it for other applications and one of my favorites is “see-through” designs. This needle-lace heart design is a simple project that demonstrates this technique.

If you’re not familiar with machine needle-lace, it’s made using free motion and sewing small, pea-size loops which overlap themselves. You will also need to use an embroidery hoop to help stabilize your fabric.

Free Machine Embroidery Tutorial - I Heart You

You can download this heart shaped template by right clicking on the image and saving to your desktop.

Free Machine Embroidery Tutorial - I Heart You

Generally you would use this technique on one or two layers of fabric, or a quilt block. Transfer your heart shaped design to the top of your fabric, hoop your fabric in an embroidery hoop, then stitch one or two rows of straight stitch around the design to stabilize the fabric.

Free Machine Embroidery Tutorial - I Heart You

Using small sharp scissors, cut away the center of the design close to the stitching line. (more…)

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How to personalize your camera cozy with a photo printed on fabric

Posted on January 22, 2014

I’m always thinking of new and creative ways to use my photos, and after spending the day out and about photographing things last week-end, and ending the day with my camera banging about with the rest of the junk at the bottom of my tote bag, I decided it was finally time to make a camera cozy.

Never one to reinvent the wheel if I can help it, I searched the internet for a cute camera case or camera cozy pattern or tutorial that I could use, and although I found quite a few I was also surprised to see that none of them incorporated photos into the pattern design. Printing photos onto fabric is so easy and seems to be an obvious and creative way for a photographer to show off his or her photos.

I finally ended up using this camera cozy tutorial and I modified the design to fit my own camera which is a Canon G12. Although the G12 is a big step up from a point and shoot camera, it’s not quite an SLR although it still has just enough controls to almost confound me. I chose this camera over an SLR camera because it’s compact and lighter than an SLR camera and doesn’t have as many adjustments, but it still takes excellent photos, particularly macro photos.

How to personalize your camera cozy with a photo printed on fabric

How to personalize your camera cozy with a photo printed on fabric

So after I decided on the pattern, I knew I wanted to use one of my photo art designs printed on fabric as the flap for the camera cozy. The first thing I did was to dig through my pile of injured prints to see if I already had a photo printed on fabric that I could us and amazingly I found this photo art design which was almost the right size, and as a bonus it was already embellished. I can’t remember exactly what it’s original purpose was, but I’m glad that I kept it!

How to personalize your camera cozy

I like this particular photo art design and I’ve used it previously as a design for a bag flap and also on a piece of canvas art.

So I modified the pattern for the camera cozy pattern and simply attached my photo art image printed on fabric to the flap end. I had to chop a few inches off one end but it still looks quite good. (more…)

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