How to Print Photos onto Fabric

Written by deborah h. schreiben
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You can make one-of-a-kind creations by printing photos onto fabric. After preparing the fabric so the ink will be permanent, you can transfer photos from your computer onto fabric that can then be sewn into pillows, tote bags, quilt squares or clothing. The possibilities are nearly endless. To begin, you must have a digital image on your computer. This could be a new photo that you've downloaded from a digital camera or an image you've scanned into your computer. Always use high-quality pictures for best results.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cotton fabric
  • Bubble Jet Set 2000 ink fixative
  • Freezer paper
  • Iron
  • Computer
  • Ink jet printer

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  1. 1

    Cut a 9- by 12-inch rectangle of cotton fabric. Soak the piece in Bubble Jet Set 2000 for five minutes. Remove excess fixative and allow fabric to air dry.

  2. 2

    Using a dry iron, press the fabric to the shiny side of a piece of freezer paper. Flip the fabric over and iron the other side. Remove all bubbles.

  3. 3

    Cut the bonded fabric and freezer paper to 8 1/2 by 11 inches to fit into your printer. Cut off all loose threads to avoid jamming your printer.

  4. 4

    Open the photo on your computer and set it to print to the desired size. This process varies considerably depending on your computer, software and printer. If your printer has a setting for fabric or T-shirt printing, use this option. Send the photo to the printer.

  5. 5

    After printing, allow the fabric to dry for 30 minutes and then wash it with a mild detergent to remove any excess ink.

Tips and warnings

  • Prepared inkjet fabric sheets also are available (see Resources). These sheets eliminate the need to prepare fabric squares with Bubble Jet Set.
  • Printers do not print white ink. The fabric colour will show through where white appears in your photo. If your photo has white in it, use white fabric.

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