Printing On Fabric


Fabric that you can put into your printer is expensive, but is a do-it-yourself method any cheaper?

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Printing On Fabric

Fabric that can be put directly into your printer was a popular item at the Houston Quilt Festival. There are many different brands and types. Some can be used with your inkjet printer and some with a laser printer. Some need to be "set" when finished by following the instructions. Some aren't quite so complicated. Washing the fabric depends – some say not to wash with detergent. The package I have at home says it is intended for adult use only. (I wonder what that means?) There are reviews online that compare products.

Printing On Fabric


The reasons for printing on fabric are many. You want to include photographs in your quilt or need a caption or want to make your own labels for your quilt. There are also instances where a small amount of a vintage fabric was needed for repair of a family heirloom and the quilter was able to print it. Quilters also make pillows and fabric scrapbooks.



Printers aren't the easiest technology in the house, so there are several factors to consider. Should you use regular or photo quality settings? Online reports suggest that a photo quality setting will release too much ink and smudge the fabric. Purchased sheets direct the use of a regular setting.



Ink quality varies as well. I like to purchase substitute ink online because I use so much of it daily. However, because this is not the ink recommended by the printer manufacturer, you may be printing with an inferior quality ink. Dye inks, for example, will wash out and fade in the sun, whereas pigment inks are less likely to do so. Make sure you have plenty of ink in your printer before you begin. Nothing would be worse than getting halfway through a large photo and running out of ink!


For my own experiment, I decided to make my own sheets by using the method of soaking the fabric in Bubble Jet Set for 5 minutes and drying overnight. I then ironed the fabric onto Freezer Paper sheets to help the fabric through the printer. But no dice! At least not in my printer. This photo shows how the fabric detached from the freezer paper sheets and both got stuck in the printer. While purchasing brand-name printer sheets may be expensive, it isn't when compared to a printer repair or replacement bill.



Success! Next, I tried backing the same fabric with fusible interfacing – the kind made for applique that is sticky on both sides. Although the printer balked slightly and I had to help feed the sheet into the printer, I did get a label that I am happy to put on my quilts. The labels also have the added benefit of being iron on. Hubby was delighted with this when I created a sheet for him.



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Attaching individual pieces of fabric to a background to form a design.

Same As: Appliqué

See Also: Freezer Paper Applique, Needleturn Applique, Machine Applique, Reverse Applique, Shadow Applique
The fabric on the back of a Quilt Sandwich (Top, Batting and Backing).

Same As: Lining
Bubble Jet Set
A liquid product in which plain fabric is soaked and hung to dry. The dry piece is then ironed to a piece of Freezer paper and it can be printed on with an ink jet or bubble jet printer and the color is fast.
Various webs or interfacings which can be ironed onto a fabric for easier applique or to support the fabric.
Information some people attach to a quilt that may contain the your name, name of the quilt, town, year and pattern used.
Debi Warner
Author and humorist, Debi Warner, retired after many years as a clinical librarian and information specialist. She has her Master’s in Library and Information Science and achieved a Distinguished level in the Medical Library Association’s Association of Health Information Professionals. She has worked on teaching physicians to use computers and electronic resources. She also worked on several grants teaching the public how to use the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus public database and is co-author of several articles on health literacy. She took up quilting after retirement in 2012 and chaired the Rio Grande Valley Quilt Show in 2019. She currently teaches several quilting classes over Zoom and writes for QuiltingHub.
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