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.
Bags and Purses
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.
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.
This 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.
An 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?
This image is similar to the digital design that I used on my art bag “Daisy”.
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.
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