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How to Print on Fabric Using an Inkjet Printer

Updated on June 19, 2013
Fabrics printed in my ink jet printer.
Fabrics printed in my ink jet printer. | Source

Printing on fabric using a inkjet printer is super easy and lots fun. It doesn't take long and before you know it, you have beautiful images on fabric to use for your craft and home d├ęcor projects. The best type of fabrics for printing on are thin, light weight fabrics such as cotton or muslin. You also want to make sure it's white or a very light color especially if you are printing something very colorful. If your image is black, then it is okay to use colored fabrics as long as they aren't too dark. Other than the fabric, and the inkjet printer, you will need just a few other things which you may already have on hand. Let's get going on the tutorial. I hope you enjoy!

What You Need:

  • computer
  • inkjet printer
  • fabric
  • freezer paper
  • iron
  • scissors

STEP 1

Take the freezer paper and cut it into a letter sized (8.5 by 11) piece. Try to make sure it is as neat as possible. It needs to look like a regular sheet of paper. The freezer paper is going to carry your fabric through the printer.

***Tip*** I actually bought freezer paper already cut into letter sized sheets on Ebay. The brand was C Jenkins Freezer Paper Sheets with 50 in a package but there are other brands as well. That is an option if you would rather do that instead of buying a roll of freezer paper.

8.5 by 11 inch piece of freezer paper
8.5 by 11 inch piece of freezer paper | Source

STEP 2

Now take the freezer paper and lay it down onto the fabric and cut around it making sure the fabric is about half inch larger around all sides. You want your fabric slightly larger than the freezer paper.

Now turn your iron on the cotton/linen setting and iron the piece of fabric that you just cut out. Iron both sides and make sure it is completely wrinkle free.

The freezer paper on top of the cut out piece of white fabric.
The freezer paper on top of the cut out piece of white fabric. | Source

STEP 3

Take the freezer paper and lay it shiny side down onto the ironed fabric piece. Make sure it is centered on the fabric and that you can see fabric around all the edges and then run the iron over the freezer sheet paying special attention to the edges. I run the iron over the sheet for a good 45 seconds or so. You will feel the sheet starting to stick to the fabric while you are ironing. Once you feel confident that it is adhered entirely on that side, turn the piece over and iron the other side, again paying close attention to the edges.

With shiny side down, iron the freezer paper to the fabric.
With shiny side down, iron the freezer paper to the fabric. | Source
Turn it over and iron the other side
Turn it over and iron the other side | Source

STEP 4

Now what you should have is a piece of fabric with a freezer sheet ironed on. Now go around each edge of the freezer sheet and cut off the excess fabric. Try to cut as neatly as possible around the sheet. You want the lines to be as even as possible with no snags or threads sticking out that could possibly get caught in the printer. Check all corners and edges to make sure the fabric isn't separating from the freezer sheet. If it is, run the iron over it one more time. This is extremely important. You want the entire surface to be adhered before running it through the printer to avoid the fabric getting caught in the printer and possibly damaging it.

Trim the fabric all the way around the contact paper. Cut it as neat as possible. Make sure you have cut off any stray threads from around the edges.
Trim the fabric all the way around the contact paper. Cut it as neat as possible. Make sure you have cut off any stray threads from around the edges. | Source
All cut and ready to print
All cut and ready to print | Source

STEP 5

Choose an image or pattern on your computer that you would like to print onto the fabric. Here are a few ideas of things you can print from your computer:

* Your own creations of digital art or word art

* Personal photos

*Free images and patterns from online

*Purchased images and patterns from online

Pick an image you would like to print on your computer
Pick an image you would like to print on your computer | Source

STEP 6

When you have selected the image you would like to print, go into the printer settings and make sure your printer is set to print at high or best quality and also that the selected print size is 8.5 by 11. Once you have done all that, load the sheet into your printer. Be sure you are loading it correctly so that the printer prints on the fabric side of the paper. In my printer, I load it fabric side down.


Place fabric sheet in your printer. I place mine in the feeding tray with the fabric side down. Each printer is different so make sure you are placing your fabric sheet properly so it will print on the fabric side.
Place fabric sheet in your printer. I place mine in the feeding tray with the fabric side down. Each printer is different so make sure you are placing your fabric sheet properly so it will print on the fabric side. | Source

STEP 7

Once you have it loaded correctly and the printer settings are all correct, all you have to do is click print and watch your lovely printed fabric emerge from the printer.

***Extremely Important*** It's important to stand near the printer during the printing process just in case the fabric gets hung up in the printer. If this happens, push cancel and carefully remove the sheet from the printer. I have never had this happen personally but I'm always extremely careful by making sure that the fabric is completely adhered to the sheet before running it through the printer. This is very, very important to insure that your computer does not become damaged by fabric being caught up in it.

About half way there....
About half way there.... | Source
All done!
All done! | Source

STEP 8

When the fabric is finished printing, simply peel the freezer paper from the back and now you have a gorgeous piece of printed fabric in your design or pattern of choice!

Peel off the freezer paper and viola!
Peel off the freezer paper and viola! | Source

Project Ideas for Printed Fabric

Lets take a look at some of the creative things we can do with the printed images. Here is a few ideas:

  • photo quilts
  • pillows
  • tote bags
  • scrapbooking embellishments and altered projects
  • table clothes and matching napkins
  • use fusible webbing on back to make transfers for t-shirts, bags, etc.
  • covered cloth bulletin board
  • sachets
  • book covers
  • use strips of the printed fabric to make wreaths, topiaries, etc.
  • fabric flower embellishments
  • small sized cloth goody bags
  • gift packaging
  • and much, much more!

Sealing Your Printed Fabric Images

Unfortunately, inkjet ink is water soluble so if your finished project is going to be something like a pillowcase, photo quilt or anything else that may need to be washed or that might come in contact with water, you will need to treat the fabric beforehand in a solution that will seal in the printed image and make it permanent. Luckily, there is such a solution and it's called Bubble Jet Set 2000 by C. Jenkins Co. It is actually fairly inexpensive and very easy to use! You simply soak your fabric in this liquid for five minutes and then let it dry. Then you go through the rest of the process as outlined above in the tutorial. What you end up with is a permanent printed image on your beautiful finished project that will withstand being exposed to water or repeated washings.

***Important Info about Types of Inks***

There is ONE thing you need to watch out for. This solution can only be used to seal prints that are printed with DYE based inks. Luckily, most inkjet printers use dye based inks but there are some, such as the Kodak ESP All-in-Ones, that use pigmented inks. You can still print on fabrics using the pigmented inks, you just won't be able to make them washable with this solution.


Jenkins 32-Ounce 2000 Bubble Jet Set
Jenkins 32-Ounce 2000 Bubble Jet Set

Pre-treating your fabric with this solution will make your printed images permanent!

 
Reynolds Kitchens Freezer Paper (75 Square Foot Roll)
Reynolds Kitchens Freezer Paper (75 Square Foot Roll)

You can just get a roll of freezer paper if you prefer.

 

More Fabric Prints

Source
Source
Cute pink lace print
Cute pink lace print | Source
Close up.. I love this one!
Close up.. I love this one! | Source
cute photo
cute photo | Source
Love how this turned out! It's my little boy with his pine cone turkey that he made.
Love how this turned out! It's my little boy with his pine cone turkey that he made. | Source

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. If you have a inkjet printer you can do this too! I had a lot of fun printing on these pieces of fabric and I've still got a ton of fabric and freezer paper sheets left! The project possibilities are endless! Just be sure to be extra careful and stand by the printer at all times while the fabric is printing. Remember also that you can buy a solution to treat the fabric with beforehand to make the ink permanent which is really important for your creations that will need to be washed or may get wet. Now go get some freezer paper and some fabric and start printing :)

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    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Interesting hub Jamie and very nice results! Thank you also about all the tip to keep it permanent! I love the picture of your little boy :-)

      By the way I still have your article with the machine that cuts all kinds of materials in my head.... and I think that before the end of the year I might go buy myself one!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      kdscrafts- Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it :) I really was impressed with how the prints came out. I just had to print out that photo of my son... he rarely wants his picture taken so I was so happy that he was willing to pose with his pine cone turkey! I'm not sure what I'll make with it, maybe a little pillow or something.

      About the Big Shot, I think you will be very pleased with it... it is a little bit of an investment at first but so well worth it! Thank you so much for dropping by :)

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Maybe you son can appreciate a little pillow with his picture on it for his bedroom?

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      I've heard of this idea before and have always wondered about the ink just bleeding. I am glad to know you can make ink jet ink color fast! The world may never be safe again, now that I know I can make my own colorfast fabrics.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Jamie,

      How super cool and sounds easy enough for me on the printer and copier side! I have never used the copier for printing fabric and love what you did! Remember hand painting silk for various things which whilst I love doing there is much work with sealing, sewing etc. . . Great interesting, useful, awesome hub as always!!! Votes ++ , Shares and Pinned!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      This is such a great idea..who would have thought? I am just concerned about the quality of the printer has anything to do with this working. The results are great and of course your little guy. Along with a vote UP+++ I am going to pin this..

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi my friend great craft idea, and your step by step instructions was so easy to follow. Well done !

      Vote up and more !!! Sharing !

    • tlpoague profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from USA

      I have never heard of this before, but looks interesting enough for me to try out. Thanks for sharing the easy step by step instructions on how to do this. Voted up!

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Wow, this is just so awesome. I loved this. The last picture of your boy, looks so pretty, the fabric gives a different feel and texture to the image. Voted up, useful, beautiful and interesting. Sharing, pinning and tweeting!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      kidscrafts- You read my mind... I was thinking about doing just that! However, it was a silly move on my part that I didn't treat the fabric first so it will be a problem if I need to wash it. I thought about maybe applying some Mod Podge (the one that's made for use on fabrics) It should protect the printed image some. That's what I will probably do :)

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      Natashalh- I know what you mean... I can't wait to print some more stuff! It makes printing on fabric even more appealing for sure! Thanks so much for dropping by!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      Suzie- I'm so glad you enjoyed this hub.. I had a lot of fun printing on the fabric.... What I really love about it is all the possibilities and selection of things you can print, whether it be a photo, free graphics and patterns on the internet or even something you have come up with yourself in a paint program. I love doing fabric flowers so this will make it super easy for me to customize my fabric to exactly whatever I want. I'm super excited about it! Thank you so much for dropping by and for your votes, share and pin :)

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      carol- That is a good point... if the print quality isn't very good, it's probably not going to look very good on the fabric so the printer has a lot to do with it for sure. I think most inkjet printers today are pretty good quality. Ours is a Kodak brand and not sure how well it does in comparison to other printers but it does a pretty good job. I was sure to put it on "high quality" before I printed it on the fabric and it came out pretty good but it may not have been as nice a print if I had left it on normal. I need to make a mental note of that. I think the black scrolling pattern is my fave out of the ones I've printed so far. Thank you so much for the votes and the pin.. I really appreciate that!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      kashmir- Thank you bunches for the votes up and for sharing! It is always nice to "see" you :) Hope you are having a good evening!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      tlpoague- You are so welcome! I hope you give it a try sometime. It is pretty neat seeing the printed fabric come right out of your home printer. Thank you for the votes up.. I'm so glad you found this useful :)

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks for this helpful look at printing on fabric via an inkjet printer and for the info re the C. Jenkins Co. Reproducing one's own art with this method is very appealing! Pinned to my arts and crafts projects board.

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      livingsta- Wow, wow, thank you so much! I appreciate the votes up, sharing pinning and everything. Thank you for the compliments on the photo.. I agree.. it does give it a different feel and look of texture. I'm planning on printing lots more photos too! I'm just waiting on my bubble jet set 2000 to get here. Thanks so much for dropping by!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      RTalloni- I am glad you found this useful! I had the package of freezer sheets for a while so finally the other day I decided to give it a try...After I discovered how easy it was to do and how beautiful the results were I just HAD to do a hub. What an amazing way to be creative! Thank you for the pin and thanks so much for dropping by!!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      I was fascinated as soon as I saw the title of this Hub. I've never heard of freezer paper, but will look into this. I would love to print patterns on fabric with my printer. Great Hub--thanks!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      vespawoolf- You are welcome.. I am so happy that this caught your interest! I was super excited about giving it a try when I first heard about it. I am having LOTS of fun printing the pieces of fabric. Each one comes out looking even better than I suspected it would. Thanks so much for dropping by :)

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I had no idea that you could use an inkjet printer for fabric! How neat. Thanks for the detailed tutorial. There are so many possibilities for this concept.

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      Rose- You are welcome.. I agree, the possibilities are endless! The first few I printed, I did it without treating the fabric first but I've ordered the Bubble Jet Set 2000 and am planning on printing lots more and will probably use those to make some fabric flowers with... I can't wait! Thank you for dropping by :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I didn't realize that you could even do this. How nice! You always come up with some interesting topics. Thanks for the share on this new technique.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Jamie, this is awesome stuff. The pictures and the explanation are just perfect. Voted this up, useful and pinned.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Oh this is so cool, I love it! The things you can make, the pictures you can print! Tweeted, voted up, etc. This sure looks like a fun project!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      teaches- You are welcome.. I heard about this a little while back and finally decided to give a try to I am having a ball with it! Thanks for dropping by :)

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      rajan jolly- Aww.. thanks! I am glad you enjoyed this hub and thank you for the votes up, positive feedback and pinning. I really appreciate it :)

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      Dolores Monet- Thank you! I know what you mean... the possibilities are endless! Unfortunately, I didn't have any of the Bubble Jet Set 2000 when I printed these out but I've got some on it's way and I'm looking foreword to printing LOTS more! Thank you so much for dropping by and for the tweet, pin and everything :) I hope you try this.. it's SO much fun!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      This is awesome!!! This opens up all kinds of possibilities for my quilting. Up, awesome, useful, and pinned for future reference. Love this hub!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      Glimmer Twin- Thank you :) So glad you like this! I am having so much fun with this right now. I just got some Bubble Jet Set 2000 and I'm getting ready to print some more of these. Thanks so much for all the positive feedback and for pinning :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Now you say this is super easy but I have a headache from reading the instructions. LOL Blame it on a lack of craft gene in me and certainly not on your instructions.

      Cool idea, Jamie! wish I had the ability, but I'm passing it on to Bev.

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      Hi Bill, It really is super easy but I understand about the lack of craft gene. Thanks so much for dropping by and passing this on to Bev! Hope you are having a great day :)

    • seanorjohn profile image

      seanorjohn 4 years ago

      Hey Jamie this is simply magical. How on earth did you figure out how to do this. Really looking forward to giving this a go. Voted up

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      seanorjohn- Thank you so much. Glad you like it :) I saw this on some craft blogs and youtube, I think. I had always wanted to try it and finally did and I'm glad because the results were really impressive. Hope all is well with you :) Thank you for the vote up!

    • Maggie.L profile image

      Maggie.L 2 years ago from UK

      What a great idea. I'm very keen to give this to try this out with my daughter. She is always looking for ideas for gifts for relatives and I can think of a few projects she could do if she could print on fabrics first. Thanks for this fab hub. Voted up and super useful!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Jamie Brock

      I keep on thinking I would like to make some printed labels for my craft work and this could very well be the way to make them. Thanks for sharing this.

      Sally

    • profile image

      Heather 2 years ago

      Great tutorial, I've been printing on fabric for a while and love it! A note about pigmented inks, though: They don't need the Bubble Jet Set for permanence because they are nearly permanent on their own. Once dry, most pigment inks are highly water and UV resistant, which is why most of us who print on fabric recommend them. I use a wide format Epson with DuraBrite inks and have had huge success printing fabrics without any treatment whatsoever!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 2 years ago from Texas

      Maggie.L- Thank you so much for your super nice comment! Hopefully your daughter was able to give this a try :)

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 2 years ago from Texas

      sallybea- You are welcome! I'm glad you found this hub useful. Thanks a bunch for dropping by!!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 2 years ago from Texas

      Heather- Thank you so much for dropping by and also for the tip about the pigmented inks!! That is great to know!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 23 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Jamie, this is so cool. If only I had an inkjet, but now I have a laser printer. Lovely idea!

    • Oliver Stark profile image

      Oliver Stark 22 months ago from Sacramento, California

      Interesting hub!

      I will definitely try this.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 18 months ago from USA

      I always wondered how to print onto fabric. I'm thinking it might be fun to print some of my paintings on fabric to make a decorative pillow. Hmmm...Thanks for the clear instructions and the tips on how to keep the print permanent.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 18 months ago from Georgia

      Great tutorial. So many projects can come out of this! Your timing is great as well. With the holidays coming up, this could be the source of very personalized gifts. So glad you shared this.

      Take care!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 17 months ago from Texas

      Cyndi10-I'm so glad you found this useful!!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 17 months ago from Texas

      Stephanie Henkel-You are welcome!! Glad you found the hub useful!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 17 months ago from Texas

      Oliver Stark-Thank you! Hope you were able to give it a try.

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 17 months ago from Texas

      Kristen Howe-Thank you!

    • breathing profile image

      Sajib 15 months ago from Bangladesh

      A wonderful post on printing fabrics from inkjet printer. All the fabric lovers should read this hub to become inspired. We hardly think about such creative ideas in today’s busy hectic scheduled life. These kinds of creative work can not only entertain us but also keep us refreshed. Also printing fabrics can be a good source of income for the housewives who spend lazy, free and boring time in their house. This post is the perfect guideline for learning the entire procedure and start it on own. So the housewives spending lazy and boring time can think over this topic.

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 13 months ago from Texas

      Thank you breathing. Glad you enjoyed the hub!

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