5 Tips On Making Custom Fabric With Your Home Printer

5 Tips On Making Custom Fabric With Your Home Printer

Sarah Rae Smith
Jun 21, 2010

Earlier today we featured a bit of fabric printed with photos from a home printer. There's many a craft project where a small amount of printed fabric could come in quite handy, but ensuring your printer doesn't turn into a fabric eating monster requires a little advanced preparation. Here's 5 ways to make sure things go as planned.

Although the process can be as simple as running masking tape around all four corners of your fabric (giving it a guide for the rollers), most printers will require your fabric to be slightly more stiff than that. As most aren't willing to ruin a perfectly good printer for something like this, there are things that can be done to ensure you'll get quality results each and every time — though a little experimentation might be in order, here's a few of our best tips for turning your home printer into a mini fabric print shop!

1. Card Stock: Try taping your fabric to a piece of card stock that fits the largest size paper your home printer will allow. Pull it taught and tape the edges to keep it in place and it should run right through!

2. Gel Medium: You can buy a stiffening medium at most art supply stores, usually used for artists canvas — just look for one that's water soluble. In a pinch you can use Elmer's glue which rinses out, just remember to wipe the top of your fabric off so the ink comes in contact with the fabric and not the glue.

3. Low Tack Spray Adhesive: You can find this product at most craft stores and some big box stores in either the craft or hardware department. It should allow you to adhere your fabric to a traditional sheet of paper and peel it right back off when you're finished!

4. Use Pre-Prepared Fabrics: They do carry some fabrics that are already geared to go in your printer, just as at your local fabric counter and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

5. Freezer Paper: Place the shiny side of freezer paper against the wrong side of your fabric and place a warm iron on the paper (not the fabric, otherwise there could be bleed through). The two will stick together and will slide right through your printer. Simply peel them apart when done!

Try using different printers or types of ink, some companies make ink that's stronger than others. We've used a medium iron to set the ink (with another piece of fabric on top) just in case it might lose its way in the wash. Do you have any tips to add? Let us know below!

(Image: Flickr member Spin Spin licensed for use by Creative Commons. You can also find her Etsy store here!)

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