So, you're interested in printing on fabric but want to try it using your own material. Well, you've come to the right place. In this article, we'll show you how to make your own 8-1/2 x 11 inkjet printer fabric sheets. Making your own sheets requires some planning, time and additional preparation, but we think you'll be surprised by how easy, fun and economical it can be.
To make your sheets, you'll need 100% cotton fabric and either freezer paper or full-sheet adhesive labels for the backing. You'll also need an ink fixative, such as Bubble Jet Set 2000, to make the fabric colourfast. Ink fixatives are available at local and online fabric and craft stores.
• Use 100% cotton fabric with at least a 200-thread count.
• Never use steam when ironing treated fabric as steam can cause water spots.
• Try ironing the treated fabric while it's still slightly damp, unless otherwise instructed in the manufacturer's instructions. We've found it's easier to remove most of the wrinkles if the fabric isn't completely dry.
• Remove as many air bubbles as possible between the fabric and backing since the bubbles can cause problems when printing.
• Laser printer adhesive labels are typically less expensive than inkjet labels and work the same.
• We don't recommend using adhesive labels that are designed for copiers. Copier labels are thinner than printer labels, and they don't adhere to the fabric as well.
• Use only full-sheet adhesive labels (one label per sheet) for creating fabric sheets. Do not use smaller labels (e.g., address labels) because they may peel off inside the printer.
• Adhesive labels can be reused several times before they no longer adhere to fabric.
• If you're having problems getting the adhesive label to adhere to the fabric, try using a small roller like those available at wallpaper supply stores. A roller is also great for removing air bubbles.
• When ironing the freezer paper to the fabric, we recommend using a cloth-covered table or a piece of shelving. Most ironing boards don't provide enough resistance to form a good smooth bond.
• We recommend using the cotton setting on your iron when bonding freezer paper to the fabric. Â·
• When bonding the freezer paper to the fabric, do most of the ironing on the freezer paper side to reduce the possibility of scorching the fabric.
• Brush each fabric sheet with a lint brush before printing. Otherwise, if there is lint on the fabric sheet, there will be white spots on your finished printout when the printed lint eventually falls off.
• We recommend using the fabric sheets immediately after making them. If you won't be using them right away, make sure the sheets are flat when you store them. You may need to iron the edges of the fabric sheet before printing if the fabric does not stick to the backing.
• If the edge of the fabric sheet that you put into the printer first (what we call the "leading edge") doesn't want to stay adhered, try folding a piece of masking tape over the length of that edge.
Fabric sheets step-by-step
Now that you've got your supplies and have read through the tips, it's time to start having some fun. The following instructions walk you through making an 8-1/2 x 11 fabric sheet.
• 100% cotton fabric
• Fixative for pretreating the fabric
• Firm, smooth ironing surface, such as a cloth-covered table or piece of shelving
• Scissors or rotary cutter
• Cutting mat
• Freezer paper or full-sheet adhesive labels
• Lint brush
1. Pretreat the fabric with an ink fixative, following the manufacturer's directions for pretreating and drying the fabric.
2. Iron the fabric to remove wrinkles. Use a dry iron on the cotton setting for the best results.
3. Cut a 9 x 11-1/2 piece of ironed fabric. By cutting the fabric slightly larger than the finished fabric sheet, you'll greatly reduce the possibility of getting adhesive or wax on your iron and ironing surface. You'll be trimming the fabric to fit the backing in a later step.
4. Affix the backing to the fabric using either freezer paper or a full-sheet adhesive label:
If using freezer paper:
a. Cut an 8-1/2 x 11 piece of freezer paper.
b. Place the fabric (right side down) on the ironing surface.
c. Centre the freezer paper (shiny side down) over the fabric.
d. Iron on the freezer paper side until it is bonded to the fabric. We recommend starting in the center and ironing out to the edge, making sure the corners and sides are completely bonded. Remember to use a dry iron with a cotton setting.
e. Turn the sheet over and iron on the fabric side, removing any remaining wrinkles. Note: Colored fabric is being used in our demo so you can see better. However, white fabric works best for printing images.
If using an adhesive label:
a. Place the fabric (right side down) on the ironing surface.
b. Peel the backing off the label.
c. Align one end of the label with the fabric; then apply the adhesive side of the label to the fabric, using care not to get any wrinkles or bubbles under the label.
d. With the fabric side up, use a roller or cool iron to remove any wrinkles or air bubbles.
5. Trim your fabric sheet to match the freezer paper or adhesive label backing. Make sure you cut (don't pull) any loose threads along the edges so they don't get caught in the printer.
6. Brush the fabric with a lint brush to remove any lint.
Fabric printing with inkjet printers is blossoming, and people are discovering new and creative ways to incorporate inkjet-printed fabrics into their projects. Visit HP Quilting to learn new and innovative ways you can incorporate fabric printing into your life.