How to print on fabric with a laser printer

Updated April 17, 2017

Printing your own photos onto fabric is a popular way to personalise quilts and clothing. Before the digital age this process required using a liquid that destroyed the photo and wasn't the most permanent solution. Today it's quick and easy to run fabric through your printer and achieve professional results. There are several companies that sell packaged printable fabric but at a dollar or more a sheet it can get pricey.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions to pretreat your cotton fabric with an ink fixative. Otherwise the ink from your printer will smudge and wash right off the fabric.

Let the fixative dry, then iron the fabric flat.

Cut your fabric into 9 x 11 ½-inch pieces. Cut it bigger than a standard sheet of paper. This way when you iron the freezer paper to the back, you won't get wax on your iron. Trim it to size later.

Cut the freezer paper into 8 ½ x 11-inch pieces .

Place a fabric sheet right side down on a hard surface like a table or counter top. If you don't have any counter or table space available, you could place a piece of hard cardboard on your ironing board or even on the floor. Next, centre the freezer paper on top, shiny side down.

Use a dry iron on the cotton setting and iron the freezer paper and cotton until they're bonded together. Start in the centre and iron out to the edges, making sure to adhere the corners and sides completely.

Flip the bonded fabric and iron onto the fabric side, smoothing out any wrinkles.

Trim the bonded fabric to match the measurements of the freezer paper, then brush the fabric side with a lint brush to remove any lint.

Insert the bonded fabric sheet into the paper feeder of your printer.

Open the file you want to print onto your fabric and select print from the file menu.

Click on properties, under print quality choose best, and for paper type choose plain.

Click OK to accept the setting changes and OK to print.


The padding on your iron board will be too soft for the freezer paper to completely adhere to the fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Fixative for pretreating cotton fabric
  • Iron
  • Hard surface on which to iron (your ironing board is too soft)
  • Scissors (or rotary cutter) and ruler
  • Freezer paper
  • Lint roller
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About the Author

Amy Lyn has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and development. She has worked with nonprofit, arts, education and technology organizations. Lyn holds a B.A. in journalism from the University of Massachusetts.