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.)
Epson P400 Wide Format Inkjet Printer
This is the printer I currently use for printing on fabric. This is a wide format printer that prints up to 13″ wide and 44″ long, and it uses pigment inks which are water-resistant. I like Epson printers because they rarely, if ever, give me any trouble when feeding fabric through.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
and lace fabric
as well as to enhance the quality of images printed on sheer fabrics.
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.