I love to create my own fabric designs using my watercolors. I am so excited to see what they will look like on real fabric once I have completed the design.
One way to see your designs on fabric, is to use a company that will print your designs for you. I use Spoonflower to upload my designs, then print a sample and have it shipped. I have been very happy with the fabric and customer service from Spoonflower. You have to wait 2 weeks to have your sample shipped (or pay more to expedite) and it is costly per sample but you can get a designer discount and I have never been disappointed so far. This is a great option, but what if you just want to print something at home?
There are three options for printing fabric right on your very own INKJET printer! This is great for scanned pictures, children's art, or clipart that you want to add to your sewing project so you don't need a special fabric design or professional art to make something cool. I decided for this example to use my nephew's art to make a zipper pencil pouch just to show you what you can do.
Option 1 : If you go to a craft or sewing store you can buy printable fabric. They come in sheets that are sized for your inkjet printer (8.5 x 11) so be sure that what you are printing will fit on a standard paper size. In my opinion, this is the easiest option. I have never had a "fail" with this option and it prints beautifully, particularly on a white fabric where the colors really stand out. There are also darker fabrics available, which you can print white designs on.
I used this particular brand but there are many different options. They are all fairly comparable in price but just be sure to read all the small print since some are 'dry clean only', dark fabrics or fusible for example. I have come home with the wrong kind more than once because they all look pretty similar. HERE is an example of this on Amazon. Keep in mind this example has 25 sheets so it is more expensive. You can get these in as little as 3 sheets if you don't want to commit to that much.
It is SO easy to use. Just follow the instructions on the package. For this brand, you print on the fabric side, so in my printer that would mean you put the fabric side facing up. Simply print your image, let the ink dry for a few minutes and peel off the paper backing. That's all there is to it.
The image prints so nicely on the white fabric. This fabric sheet is great for small sewing projects, such as this this quilted pencil case.
Option 2: The second option is using a fabric adhesive to adhere the fabric to a piece of card stock, print, then remove the paper backing. This is similar in concept to using the printable paper sheets except you are applying the adhesive yourself instead of having it done for you. It is much more cost effective but a little more prep work.
Spray adhesive can be purchased at craft and or fabric stores and also online. HERE as an example of the one I used. There were so many choices of different brands and I am not married to any of them but this was the one I just happened to pick up and it worked great. Again, be sure to read the fine print on these to know what you are really getting. The reason I chose this kind was it showed an example on the back of using this product to adhere fabric to paper temporarily which is exactly what I was looking for. Some are meant to be permanent so choose carefully.
I used a piece of cotton muslin and a sheet of 8.5 x 11 card stock. I started by ironing out my fabric. Then I brought the ironed fabric, the piece of card stock, and the fixative to a well ventilated area. I sprayed the paper until it was just tacky and then carefully smoothed the fabric onto the paper, trying to rub out the wrinkles. You want it to be as flat as possible so it will glide through your printer.
Use scissors or a rotary cutter and a straight edge to carefully cut any overlap of fabric and make it as smooth around the edges as possible.
Pictured above is the sheet of paper, once the edges have been trimmed. The more exact you can make this, the better so it will not get stuck in the printer.
Now just put this paper in the printer with the fabric side facing the printer, which in my printer is fabric side up. It worked perfectly. This was a cotton muslin so it has a little off white tint to it but I am dying to try plain white cotton fabric. This is a great option and really pretty easy, plus you can pick the fabric color you wish to use.
The final option is one I thought was worth mentioning even if I did not have great success with it. It involves using freezer paper. Again, it is similar in concept to the last two in that you are fusing the fabric to the freezer paper and printing. I did have one out of three successful attempts using this method so it does work but it can be very fussy. If you are familiar with freezer paper (also know as wax paper) it has a shiny side and a paper side. The idea is that you want to fuse the fabric to the waxy side. HERE is an example of freezer/wax paper.
Cut a piece of wax paper using a standard sheet of printer paper as your guide (8.5 X 11 Inches). Lay a piece of cotton fabric slightly over lapping on top of the freezer paper (like in the previous example with the spray fixative). Use your iron (no steam) to press the fabric onto the wax paper. The heat from the iron should warm up the wax which acts like a glue. As in the previous example, make sure to do a very careful job cutting around the edges with a rotary cutter or scissors. Insert the paper into your printer as in the previous examples (with the fabric facing the printing side).
My printer usually is fussy about paper insertion so it's possible that is the reason for some of the failed attempts. The wax paper is less firm than the card stock and can wobble around a bit. Mine kept getting caught in the printer and smearing but I did have one successful attempt. I prefer the fixative method for it's ease of use.
Well I hope you have some fun giving this a try. I'd love to hear if it worked for you and what you made.
Thanks for stopping by!