How-To Print on Fabric Using an Inkjet Printer

Selection of fabric must be thin and drape-ee (since you are working at such a small scale) and possess a tight, smooth weave. I tested several types of fabric, but the 100% bleached muslin worked the best. Oak Hill makes a nice smooth muslin. Please be advised that Paper Minis can not be held responsible for the performance of your printer. If you prefer there are many fabric sheet products on the market that you can use instead. Type “inkjet printer fabric sheets” into the search engine of your choice and many brands will appear on your internet search.

1. Wash the fabric by hand to get all the sizing out of the weave. You don’t want anything to impede the ink.

2. You will need a roll of 18” wide freezer paper. This is paper coated with plastic. By cutting a piece 14” long you can easily get two sheets 8.5”x11” across.

3. Lay the paper on the fabric and cut to size–slightly smaller or larger doesn’t matter, for you are going to cut it all down to size 8.5”x11” later on.

4. Heat your iron to the cotton setting. Lay fabric down on plastic side of freezer paper and iron. You don’t have to go at it sheepishly. The purpose of this exercise is to completely adhere the fabric–especially around the edges–to the paper’s plastic so there is a stiff backing to send through the printer. Don’t test the adhesion until fabric sheet has cooled down. If there isn’t a good contact, iron some more.

5. Next take an 8.5”x11” piece of paper and trace two on the fabric. Very carefully cut perimeters with scissors. Be careful not to fray edges.

6. Take two pieces of scotch tape and fold over each of the two corners that will lead into the printer. This will help to keep stray things from catching as the sheet goes through the printer.

7. One more thing to do, pick every little stray thread off the fabric and tweeze any noticeable nubby imperfection. Stray threads and loose edges act as wicks for the ink and you will get ink blobs when that happens.

8. Next place sheet in the printer feed bin as normal (make sure fabric side is in print-side position)...and print away. Use normal paper print settings--you don’t want to over-saturate with ink. If you could zoom in on photo #8 you would see the wicking problem on the far right. This happened because the fabric separated from the freezer paper. Now peel off the freezer paper--it should separate easily.

Special Note: I had some banding on my prints and needed to run a print-head cleaning. If this happens to you, you will probably find print-head cleaning instruction either under the hood/cover of the printer or in the printer dialog box. I’ve found that many people think they are running out of ink when they see banding, when actually the print-head just needs cleaning. I also found a stray thread in the printer that was wicking ink to my other printing job, so take note in case this happens to you.

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