Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Photo transfers

I have a friend, Mary Lou, who is trying to transfer photos to fabric...and she's having trouble getting a result that doesn't fade dramatically when washed or rinsed. (She wants to make sure that her project is washable.)

I've only used the printing-on-fabric process for labels, so I'm not at all expert at this. But here's how I do it:

1. Soak the fabric in bubble jet set (I use a cookie tray with a lip--a jelly roll pan, I guess -- to soak the fabric flat, then after I wring out the fabric back into the pan, I use a funnel to pour it back into the bottle.

2. Hang the fabric outside to dry.

3. After it's dry, press it to get rid of wrinkles. Then, iron it to a piece of freezer paper cut about 9 x 12". Make sure the freezer paper is adhered well to the fabric.

4. Trim the freezer paper/fabric to 8 1/2 by 11. (The trimming after the ironing on makes sure that the edges of the freezer paper are well-connected to the fabric and it won't come apart in your printer.)

5. Run the sheet through your printer to print what ever you want on the fabric.

6. Let that sit somewhere for 24 -48 hours to cure. After that, peel off the freezer paper, then iron the fabric with a hot, dry iron.

7. Rinse the fabric in Bubble Jet Rinse, then iron again.

If you've used the computer transfer process successfully to make fabric that doesn't lose its image with a wash or two, is this the process you've used? How would you do it differently to make sure it works?

I (and Mary Lou!) appreciate any help here! Me, I'm printing labels to go onto 4 quilts before they go off to the local guild show this weekend...


  1. Anonymous10:54 AM

    My images don't fade after washing following the process you've outlined. I don't let it set overnight or 2 day, just 30 minutes and I pop the printed sheet into my washer and dryer. It seems just fine. It could be the printer and inks she is using. Epson printers seem to work best. And possibly she could try over saturating the image in photoshop so that once printed and rinsed as it fades it will come out the desired color.

  2. Anonymous1:23 AM

    I really enjoy doing the whole printing on fabric process for printing labels it is really good fun. I have never tried transferring photos onto fabric but i might consider trying it one of the days.