How to Print on Fabric—Jam Free


Quilters are naturally concerned about putting fabric into a printer. They don't want to waste fabric or break the printer. If you prepare the sheets well and learn what your printer likes, jams are rare, printing is fun, and the benefits are awesome. Printing the cutting and stitching lines on fabric with Inklingo can change your quilting life. It sets you free.

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How to Print on Fabric—Jam Free

Quilters have been printing on fabric for as long as quilters have had Inkjet printers. Fabric feeds through a printer just like paper when it is ironed to Freezer Paper. Almost every quilter knows someone who has printed labels or photos for a memory quilt. Hewlett Packard even published a book about printing photos on fabric about 10 years ago. Nevertheless, quilters are naturally concerned about putting fabric into a printer. They don't want to waste fabric or break the printer. Many quilters print jam-free with Inklingo. There is no mysterious secret.

You can print jam-free too!


How to Avoid Jams


1. You will never have a jam if you never print anything.

That's a guarantee. LOL If you don't print on paper or on fabric, you will never have a jam. Over the years, two or three quilters have told me their husbands had forbidden them to put fabric in the printer.

That reminds me of a hilarious scene in Manhattan Murder Mystery when Woody Allen forbids Diane Keaton to print on fabric (photo). Actually, I think he forbids her to break into their neighbor's apartment to look for clues. Same thing. Woody: "I forbid you. I forbid you. . . I'm forbidding you. Is that what you do when I forbid you? I'm not going to be forbidding you a lot if that's what you do . . ."

If you are not forbidden, I know that if you prepare the sheets well and learn what your printer likes, jams should be rare, printing is fun, and the benefits are awesome.


Printing the cutting and stitching lines on the fabric with Inklingo can change your quilting life.

It sets you free. (And you will never get caught hiding under the bed in your neighbor's apartment.)


2. You can avoid jams by preparing the fabric sheets as recommended.

There are several tips in the first chapter of The Inklingo Handbook.

This info is so helpful that I included the whole chapter in the FREE shape collection for Diamond Triangle Square (pages H5 - H48).

There are several suggestions on page H38.

Most jams are caused either by the fabric feeding crookedly or by the FP separating from the fabric in the printer. Prevent that and you avoid jams.

Here are a few of my best tips:

a. Wash the fabric first!

Even before I started printing on fabric, I always washed my fabric.

I won't give you all the reasons for washing cotton fabric here but you can see my best tips on the blog. Let's just say I have a strong opinion on the subject. WASH.

I would never use unwashed fabric in a quilt anyway, but with Inklingo, it is easier to get a good bond between the fabric and the FP if you wash out the sizing and starch and extra dye and other chemicals. That prevents jams.

Our quilting ancestors used fabric from old clothing which had been washed many times.

I think they would have printed on fabric if they could.


b. Press on the paper side and the fabric side.

If you press on both sides you can get a good bond but the freezer paper will still peel off neatly so you can use it over and over again.

While you are pressing and trimming around one sheet of freezer paper at the ironing board, another sheet can be printing.

c. Use  a HOT, dry iron.


Otherwise, the FP may loosen from the fabric in the printer.

I had a horrible evening a few years ago when everything jammed.
You can read about it in the archives of the Inklingo Yahoo Group. (Message # 11093)

d. Move the slider so the fabric feeds straight.

It might look different on your printer, but there will be a way to ensure that the fabric does not feed crookedly.



Printer review



3. Learn what works with your printer.


With my favorite Canon printer (no affiliation) jams are rare, but I know what it likes.

Inklingo friends in the Yahoo Group have developed some tricks and tips that work for them.

You may find some of these useful:

  • Leave 0.25 inch of freezer paper without fabric on the leading edge.
  • Cut the FP a little long so you can score and fold 0.25 inch of freezer paper over the fabric on the leading edge.
  • Clip a small triangle off the corners of the leading edge.
  • Re-heat the leading edge before printing OR let the fabric cool completely before printing.
  • Use the setting for heavy or thick paper in the print dialog box. (This can really help!)
  • Feed the sheets one at a time.
  • Leave some paper in the tray OR leave the tray empty.
  • Use extra-heavy freezer paper made for quilters.


4. Don't be afraid.

You may experience a jam or two before you and your printer establish a good working relationship. Jams don't ruin a printer. They are simple to clear.

If necessary, you can refer to the online manual for your printer to learn about all of the little doors and openings that the manufacturer designs into every printer to make clearing jams easy.

Jams and misprints don't waste fabric very often. Since the 20 colors used by Inklingo are designed to wash out, you can usually rinse out the ink and print the fabric again.

If there are stubborn black smudges that won't budge, that tells you something too:

if it won't budge now, it won't budge later either. As long as the smudges don't show on the front, you can ignore them and re-print.

Click to play.

My Canon printer is happier when I leave a little less than 0.25 inch of FP bare on the leading edge. It actually makes preparation of the fabric sheets faster because I don't have to trim that side at the ironing board.

You will love how easy it is when you know how! There are more tips about printing on fabric on the All About Inklingo blog under the Top Ten Tutes tab.

Click to play.


Love a Mystery?

Now that we've solved the mystery of printing jam-free, maybe you're ready to solve another one!

We are having a great time with Clue # 1 of Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice Mystery.

My friend Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville runs a fabulous mystery every year. We are excited that she is featuring Inklingo this time.

Bonnie's Celtic Solstice is perfect for you if you are just learning to print on fabric. You can join the fun any time.


By the way, there is a hysterical elevator scene in Manhattan Murder Mystery.

The elevator is stuck and Woody's character is a world-renowned claustrophobic.

Diane: "It's probably stuck. . . Relax. . .Everything's going to be fine. I am hitting it. . . . . It's okay. . . . Don't Panic. Just don't panic. Just don't worry."

That reminds me. We have another favorite elevator scene—with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade.

Inklingo in an Elevator is one of the most popular articles on the All About Inklingo blog.

You can subscribe to the blog to get an email whenever there is something new.

I definitely recommend Manhattan Murder Mystery and printing on fabric with Inklingo!

Ultra-fine lines printed on fabric with Inklingo.


Intrigued? Try Inklingo FREE!

Quick Start Guide > Order the FREE shapes, download, and start printing!

The beauty of learning how to print on fabric is that it works for everything—appliqué, triangles, hexagons, Double Wedding Ring, Storm At Sea, Joseph's Coat, and other designs.

You can search for Franz or Inklingo to find more articles on QuiltingHub and there are more to come.

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Double Wedding Ring
Arced pieces of squares sewn together to form interlocking rings or circles.
Moving a hot iron while it has contact with fabric. Often ironing can stretch and distort fabrics and seams. A better alternative is to press, where you just lay the hot iron down and lift straight up from the fabric.

See Also: Pressing
Memory Quilt
A quilt with signatures from friends, community often for an important life event.

Same As: Autograph Quilt, Signature Quilt, Album Quilt
Method of using an iron to press seams and blocks. This means simply pressing downwards on the seam with the iron from above and not moving the iron back and forth which can distort the block or seam.
Picking a hot iron up off your fabric or quilt top and then putting it down in another place to remove the wrinkles. When you press your fabric, you do not slide the hot iron.

See Also: Ironing
Linda Franz

Linda Franz is the inventor of the amazing brand of Inklingo. It has revolutionized piecing and accuracy for the entire industry. Check out her brand page by clicking Inklingo

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