Sunday, May 19, 2013

fabric image transfer part 2: ironing

So, you made it back! What's this all about? This is the second instalment of a tutorial on how to make fabric sheets for your printer.  The first instalment dealt with how to treat the fabric so that the colors would set and not bleed or run when exposed to water. Or coffee, tea, any other liquid. If you StumbledUpon this, or for whatever reason can't scroll down to the previous instalment and you are curious, here is image transfer part one. Of course, if you have a laser printer and not an ink jet, you don't have to worry anyway - you just have to load the fabric sheets. And I envy you. For the rest of us, we have to take more drastic measures.
If you're new to this, and you want to make a printable fabric sheet for your printer, what are you going to need? Do you want it to be permanent? See part one first. But I'm using professional photo inks, not the cheap-o ink cartridge, you say, it'll be fine. Trust me. You need to be a little more drastic if you aren't using a laser printer.Give photo ink development a few more years, and we probably won't need the stuff from the previous post. If you still don't care about it being that permanent, keep reading.


  • Fabric [100% cotton]* - I can't stress the cotton part enough - why later
  • Freezer paper [it does have to be freezer paper]
  • iron
  • ironing board
  • fabric scissors or rotary cutter, mat 
  • [acrylic] ruler
Okay, why 100% cotton. When you go to the store to buy your fabric, there are going to be a bunch of choices for you. You may even ask the sales associate for some assistance. And not to insult their intelligence, but fiber content might not be their specialty. Paint or crochet might be their strong suit. So why cotton? My first, first go round with an image-onto-fabric, I bought a 50/50 cotton polyester blend. And when I went to iron out the wrinkles, the squares puckered because the polyester, which is basically plastic, melted. And I didn't have my iron set to the highest setting. Cotton will not do that - the label on the bolt of fabric will tell you what the fiber content is [your clothes will, too, what they're made of].  I was using a different medium than the one described in part one of this tutorial - I've had much better success with this.


First, figure out how wide your freezer paper is - the box will tell you this - it'll be the smaller number. Mine is 18" wide. When I cut my fabric, I cut from selvage to selvage - these are the finished edges - giving me a strip of fabric that was 45" long, and I cut it 18" wide so that I had something the same width of the freezer paper.

Then all I had to do was cut a 45" long piece of freezer paper. Now, iron the two together.

This part takes a little getting used to. The setting on the iron will need to be set high for cotton. Unless you bought a 50/50 cotton poly, in which case tone the heat down. Make sure you are ironing with the paper part of the freezer paper on the board and the coated part of the paper touching the fabric. The freezer paper will not immediately bond to the fabric, so just check the edges to make sure it's binding. Continue ironing the whole strip; you can go back and check for air bubbles later, working them off towards the edge. Once you have your strip, you can cut off whatever size piece of transfer paper you need. Need a banner? You are set. Want to print two images that are 6" square side by side with some space between them? Oh, hey, you'll need a piece of fabric longer than 11". And you can do that. If you'd have bought the pre-packaged deal, no such luck.

I will post a third instalment a little later on running these through a printer. Keep an eye out if you're interested. Maybe track down friends with photoslhop/ a nicer printer than yours if you don't have it and consider shamelessly bribing them with food/babysitting/dishwashing/a new ink cartridge

Hey there Miss O, where are the pictures?

I'm working on that. I had a busy weekend. I helped move a house, a friend graduated There was a lot of catching up with a lot of very important people, not the least of which was 23 of my students and Miss Honey... I may have strep now... of course, it may also be something less drastic... You'll get the tutorial pictures, gimme a chance to recoup. 

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