Day 87: Printing on Fabric


Supplies: Fabric, freezer paper, printer paper, iron, pen, computer, inkjet printer

Time: 20-30 minutes (plus time to design on your computer)

Warning: If you are 1) faint of heart, 2) reading this at a somber occasion (why would you be on the internet though?), or 3) not ready for your life to be altered please stop reading.  Prepare for your mind to be blown.  Seriously.  Are you ready?  You sure?  Okay.  Today I learned and will teach you how to print on fabric with a regular printer.

That’s right.  You can print your own words, designs, pictures onto fabric using your inkjet printer.  It’s very simple too!

Start by tracing an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper onto a piece of freezer paper.  You can get freezer paper in the wax paper section of the grocery store.  I don’t know what it’s used for in the kitchen, but it’s parchment papery on one side and wax papery on the other side.  You want to trace onto the parchment side.

Then you’ll cut out the rectangle.

Iron your fabric before placing the freezer paper rectangle on the fabric, wax side down.  If you’re using a fabric with a wrong side, make sure the wrong side and the wax side are touching.  Then iron the freezer paper onto the fabric.  The wax will melt, sticking it to the fabric, but it’ll come off cleanly later.

Then cut the fabric so the edges are even with those of the paper.  You’ll be left with an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of freezer paper attached to an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of fabric.  That’s all you have to do to get ready to print.  One side is paper, so it’ll go right through the printer.  The other side is fabric which is magically printable!

Print whatever design you like onto your fabric.  I’d only seen tutorials print in black ink, so I wasn’t sure if color would work.  Turns out it does!

I printed several designs to make into fabric button earrings for my personal Etsy shop.  Here they are straight out of the printer.

Then you just have to peel the freezer paper off and iron the ink to set it.  I’ve read that after the ink is ironed it can be washed, but I haven’t tested that.

I saw tutorials that offered two different ways of doing this.  One suggested using spray adhesive to attach the fabric to a piece of cardstock.  The other used freezer paper also, but the paper was reinforced with a piece of printer paper taped to the back.  I wanted to see if this could be done without the extra paper (and extra time).  Turns out it can!

And they look great!  I’m so excited by this revelation!  The swirly buttons above are a little lighter because I drew them on paper and then scanned them.  But look at those circles!  I made those on and they look like regular fabric.  I just… I… I’m at a loss for words!  I’m going to go ahead and leave you to start printing on fabric.  I’m off to make more designs.





3 responses »

  1. Great explanation! You made me laugh when you said you didn’t know what freezer paper was used for…? 🙂 In case you’re serious, here goes: Back in the stone ages before plastic bags, ziploc closures, and plastic containers, everything that went into the freezer was wrapped in freezer paper. I remember it was also what butchers wrapped the meat in when you went to butcher shops or meat markets.
    I’m loving your blog!

  2. I love how freezer paper boxes have the sides dedicated to promoting it as a tool for arts/crafts & quilting. They might as well just take it out of the grocery and plop it into fabric/craft stores.
    I loved your previous post about screen printing with freezer paper and now this. I went out and bought a box but I haven’t had the time to experiment. I appreciate your blog. It’s definitely going to help take my fine art to another level.

    • I know! I don’t think it’s used for the freezer anymore, but I guess they wanted to keep making it. I’m so glad you’re enjoying my blog! It’s always good to hear that people are reading. I checked out your site and your work is gorgeous!

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