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Sunday, April 15, 2018

FAQ: printing on fabric --- english version

i thought it would be easier and clearlier arranged to make an extra post for the english Version...

because i´ve been frequently asked how i bring my Pictures onto fabric, i will give you descriptions of the options i tried so far.

1. many years ago i started with t-shirt Transfer paper. you Need an inkjet Printer and Transfer the motif by ironing it onto fabric.
my experiences with this method were very good.
be aware, esp if text is involved: the printed Picture must be mirrored to come out right. you can do this either by an adjustment in your Printer - or you can mirror it yourself in any photo editing program.
take care: when ironing the pic onto fabric, choose the high temperature Setting for Cotton (so you should not take fabrics that contain Synthetics), otherwise the pic might not Transfer completely. and the finer the Cotton, the crisper the outcome of the pic.
and: you should not mind that there will be a bit of a "film" on the fabric as a residue of the Transfer medium.


i got a very crisp pic here for my led zep book:

at my grateful dead cover i recognized too late that the Setting of my iron was not at full heat, so the foil did not Transfer completely:

the words were also transfered via t-shirt foil - here you can see the edges of the cut out strips:

2. Transfers with gel medium etc.
you can read about my experiments here:

actually not my favorite method, though my last results were better.
but i found out, if i stored my Transfers layered, they glued together over time.
i think the residues of the glues (all those mediums have glue in them) have been reactived by time, even if you let them dry very thoroughly (over weeks even) before.
conclusion: not apt for my fabric Journal scrolls - maybe limited useful for fabric books, if they are stored loosely, not in a way they get pressed down.

3. print Picture directly onto fabric
(works with an inkjet Printer only, a laser Printer probably would burn it)

a) there are din-a-4 Sheets (or even rolls) you can buy in stores, where the fabric is backed with release paper. you can print on the White Cotton and tear off the backing afterwards.
be careful that there are no fringes - cut them off thoroughly before putting the Sheets into the Printer.
These Sheets are quite expensive, so if i use them i try to fill the complete space with Pictures (taking a photo editing program) not to waste anything.

b) sometimes i don´t want to wait until i have a full sheet - then it Comes to the alternative, which also is much cheaper: i prepare a printable Piece of fabric myself. here i use freezer paper as release backing.

i cut a Piece of White Cotton (~ two Inch larger than the Picture i want to print) and a Piece of freezer paper, which i iron onto the back of the Cotton (highest Setting). the freezer paper is slightly larger than the Cloth, so i take parchment paper not to stick the freezer paper to the iron.

i pre-print my pic onto normal paper, positioning it quite centered (i use the "word" program of Windows; do not Change the Position afterwards!)
then i take the prepared fabric/freezer Piece and layer it above the print, Fixing it with adhesive tape all sides around. - if the Piece is larger, i might take a glue dispenser to put it flat on the paper. no fringes should be there to ruin your Printer.

after printing the pic i can tear off the backing and iron the fabric again.

pictured steps for this method:

pre-print your Picture, centered:

cut a Piece of fabric and a bit larger piece of freezer paper:

take a parchment paper to protect the iron when glueing the freezer paper behind the fabric with full heat (the plastic coated side will glue to the fabric)

sometimes i put a bit of glue on the back of the fabric/freezer paper to hold the Piece down over the pre-printed pic:

then i glue the edges down with adhesive tape
(take a strong tape, washi tape won´t do!)

if you did not do the previous step thoroughly,
this might happen: the adhesive tape obviously didn´t lay really flat, so i had some smearing in the Printer.
i didn´t mind too much, as this is a street art Picture;) i will use it anyway.

finally i iron it from the back
(not sure if this is necessary; and my scroll pieces won´t be washed anyway...)

if questions, i will answer them in the comment section:)


  1. This is really interesting. I have used the T shirt transfer and the print directly on cloth, but not the media technique. I have also used very very cheap printer paper, printed on an inkjet sheet, and then soak it and the fabric in water using a wet towel. The picture will transfer over onto the fabric, slightly fuzzy, but gives a cool effect. I enjoyed this post a lot. Happy new week. Hugs-Erika and thanks for the English version!!!!

  2. My first experience with image transfer was tee shirt transfers. To this day, that transfer holds up very well and has been washed and dried in a dryer many, many times. But after that, I couldn't find the same product, so have used alternative methods, like printing using freezer paper.

    My friend Patty S. sent me a couple sheets of TAP, transfer paper. I've never used it because I'm now using a laser printer exclusively.

    I could never get PhotoShop to print more than one photo at a time (or a picture package of the same photo many times on the same sheet). This was good for swaps, but not for individual art. Instead, I simply use my word processor (WordPerfect) to create and print numerous photos at once.

    Thanks for this wonderful post. I enjoyed it more in English, too (grin).

  3. thank you so much Johanna for this English version I need to try this out again but i need to buy some color ink the black ink did not work for me when I tried it


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