This is by no means a new technique. There are any number of tutorials online on how to do this. I did an educational presentation to our area quilt guild some seven or so years ago. I compared the different print on fabric options on the market. My favorite technique was the easiest and least expensive: ironing fabric on to plastic coated freezer paper and then sending it through a printer. Mind you, freezer paper can be hard to come by, especially when you really want it. It falls under Murphy’s law of crafting under supply and demand. But once you do find it, a box will probably last you a lifetime.
My print-on fabric of choice is a tight weave muslin. The stuff is nearly free and comes in a variety of whites, off-whites, and downright beige. I prefer a light-off white because it shows the detail well and doesn’t muddy up the colors. I’m just doing this technique for crafting and not for long term wear so I don’t concern myself with being able to wash the image.
Here’s how I do it. I’ve used this technique on both Epson and HP printers over the years.
I iron my fabric first. I cut random pieces that will be useful sizes and will fit in my printer.
I put the fabric down, then the freezer paper, shiny side down on the fabric and then iron on a medium high. It doesn’t take much to fuse the freezer paper to the fabric so be careful that you don’t burn the paper..
Then I cut the fused piece down to fit on to a letter size piece of regular printer paper. I’ve found that it runs through my printer better if I have it mounted in this way. I’ve done this with both Epson and HP printers.
What to print, what to print…
My first stop was the Graphics Fairy. Karen has so many different styles of Christmas themed images that it’s hard to really just pick a few. I really like the sheet music. That’s what I used for the project up top. It’s a gift bag and decorated with flowers made from my Ribbon and Fabric Flowers eBook.
Then, Angie from ScrapScene pointed out Suzee Que over at Flickr. She has some great vintage holiday stuff including a lot of Christmas. Many of the scans are smaller, so printing is a little tricky. I’ve found that it’s easy enough to cheat with printing on fabric with a lower res image because some of the detail is lost because of the texture. If you print with smaller dimensions, that helps, too.
On many of the images I’ve found that it helps if I extend the edge with a soft clone brush in Photoshop. That way I get more area to work with and don’t have a sharp line to recon with. Another tip is to fill up any extra space with random images or words. Then you are making the best use of everything, right?
I’m still thinking on exactly what to do with all of these beautiful fabric images. I’ve got more ideas than time these days. While I had the iron out, I went ahead and made some embossed velvet ribbon using a script word stamp. If you’ve never done it before, you really must try it.