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How To Print Directly on Fabric

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Printing memories
btrenkel/E+/Getty Images
If you've got an inkjet printer and you enjoy quilting, you'll love putting family photos onto a piece of fabric that you can quilt into a long-lasting memento. Sew-on inkjet fabric sheets are washable and permanent, and photos look great on them. Best of all, it's easy to do. So dig out your favorite photos, warm up your inkjet printer, and get started!
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 10-30 minutes (depending on how much photo editing you want to do)

Here's How:

  1. To print directly onto fabric, you need special inkjet fabric sheets (and an inkjet printer). These sheets are available at hobby and craft stores as well as fabric and quilting shops. They’re fabric with a removable paper backing.
  2. Choose the photo you want to print. The fabric sheets are 8.5x11, so the image you choose should be large and sharp. Do any necessary photo editing using graphics software. If you don't have graphics software, use Adobe's for free.
  3. Test the print with a piece of paper first (use inkjet paper instead of cheap copy paper). Set the printer to print at its highest quality. Check the results to make sure the photo looks good and is clear and sharp. Go back to Step 2 if you need to make any tweaks.
  4. Before you load a fabric sheet into the rear tray, make sure there are no loose threads; if there are, cut them (don’t pull). Then load one fabric sheet into the rear printer tray.
  5. Set the printer settings for Plain Paper. Then print the image and let the ink dry for a few minutes before you handle the fabric sheet.
  6. Peel the paper backing from the sheet. It’s now ready to be used for quilting.

Tips:

  1. Choose a sharp picture that will look good at a large size.
  2. Get some paper made for inkjet printers; it'll give you a better idea of what your printed fabric sheet will look like.
  3. Test print before you print on the fabric sheet; they're not cheap so you don't want to waste any.

What You Need

  • Sew-on inkjet fabrich sheets
  • Graphics software (or use Adobe's for free--see Step 2)
  • Pictures that you want to transfer onto fabric
  • An inkjet printer
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