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How to Set Inkjet Ink on Fabric

Updated November 22, 2016

One way to print photographic images or text on fabric is to use an inkjet printer. You can prepare the fabric for printing yourself, or buy pretreated fabric in packs. No matter which option you choose, nearly all fabrics will be handled the same way to set inkjet ink on fabric permanently. By setting the ink you ensure the images won't run or fade with washing, exposure to sunlight and use.

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  1. Spread an old, clean towel out on a flat surface. Keep it handy, because later you will lay the freshly printed fabric flat on the towel immediately after the fabric comes out of the printer.

  2. Peel off any paper backing or freezer paper backing (if you have prepared the fabric yourself) from the back of your fabric slowly. Avoid pulling on the corners of the fabric as you peel. If at any point the fabric still looks wet, set it on the towel to finish drying.

  3. Add rinse solution to a pan of water if your fabric was prepared for printing by you. Follow the manufacturer's instructions of your rinse solution for the quantity of rinse to water to use. Place your fabric gently into the water and lightly wash the solution over the fabric for two minutes without folding the fabric.

  4. Put a mild washing powder in a pan of water if you purchased your fabric already prepared for printing. Follow the directions on your fabric packaging for the amount of detergent to use. Lightly wash the fabric without folding or bunching it.

  5. Retrieve your fabric from the rinse or wash solution and lay it out flat to dry. It could take up to two hours, depending on the type of fabric and how warm or humid your home is.

  6. Place the dry or lightly damp fabric onto an ironing board face up. Lay an equal size piece of parchment paper over the fabric. Set your iron onto high heat. Press the paper over the fabric for five to 10 seconds, moving the iron as needed until the entire fabric has been heated, setting the ink.

  7. Tip

    Some commercially prepared fabric doesn't need to be rinsed. Skip Steps 3 through 5 if this applies to your fabric.

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Things You'll Need

  • Prepared, printed fabric
  • Old, clean towel
  • Fabric rinse solution (if you treat the fabric yourself)
  • Pan of water
  • Mild liquid detergent (if you bought treated fabric)
  • Ironing board
  • Parchment paper
  • Iron

About the Author

Amma Marfo
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