Friday, 11 February 2011

More fabric printing and a little giveaway!

Following on from yesterday's post, thought I'd share a few of the things you can do if you can cope with the stress of sending fabric through your printer!

First some felt passport covers.  These labels are printed on some rescued linen, then Bonda-webbed and appliqued on by machine.  The images come from this book...

I love these (Dover Publication) books of copyright-free images - no toes trodden on and I can easily choose a theme.

On the linen, the colours come out more muted than if they were printed on paper, but I like this as it gives things that 'used' look.  This does mean that it is worth choosing images that start off fairly bright and bold - I once made the mistake of doing some pastel, ethereal fairy tale images from this book...

...and they turned out too faint to use.  Boo-hoo.

Sadly, my supply of the linen I used for the above was soon exhausted, and also it is quite a long-winded process to prepare it for printing.  I had some new ideas but time was not on my side for all that cutting out and applique-ing of individual labels.  So I bought some 'Jacquard Print on Cotton' from 'Rainbow Silks', created a collage on the computer and printed the whole thing off!  With my printer, I found that I needed to attach the cotton sheet to an A4 sticky label to make sure the corner did not fold back as it printed (nearly gave myself a heart attack watching that happen - anticipating dead printer afterwards!).  So my 'Back to Blighty' covers and notebooks were born.


However, I do still prefer my original method.  Here's a Travel Journal from a piece of vintage French ticking and mostly French-related travel posters.

I have some of these items available in my Folksy shop - link on left!

Here's the method I use.  My printer is an inkjet printer - you may need to do something different entirely if you have a different kind of printer!  Follow at your own risk - I've done lots and had no problems, but...

First you need some Bubble Jet Set 2000.  I read somewhere on the internet that you can make you own, but this sounds like I'd have to do something with a Junior Chemistry Set - not my cup of tea at all!  It does seem expensive, but it lasts a long time - you can reuse whatever has not been absorbed by your fabric.

Choose your fabric.  It needs to be 100% cotton, it says on the bottle, so I was worried my linen wouldn't do, but it seems fine.  I wouldn't choose anything with too much texture - it probably wouldn't print very clearly.

Cut your fabric into pieces a little larger than A4. I normally prepare a few sheets at a time, but not too many as it says it is best to print them straight after preparation.

Soak the fabric sheets in the Bubble Jet Set 2000. I do this in an old shallow tray from school - you know, the kind of thing used now as a poor substitute for a proper desk!  They need to be thoroughly drenched, but as you can pour back into the bottle what doesn't get absorbed, don't be too stingy.

Because I really don't want to waste any of the precious liquid, I then prop my tray up diagonally for half an hour or so, so that most of the excess drains out before I put the sheets on the line to dry and the Jet Set gets sprinkled all over the grass!  Then pour the excess back in the bottle for next time.

The sheets then need to dry.  Next iron them well, before attaching them to an A4 sticky label. Trim the edges so the fabric is flush with the edge of the label.  Make absolutely sure the fabric is well stuck-down on the label and that there are no loose, unravelling threads, as this of course would be likely to lead to disaster!

Print your images onto the fabric.  For me, (not very brave!) this is a heart-in-the-mouth moment every time.  I would love to buy my own printer that I use just for this, as I fear the recriminations if it goes wrong! I only ever put one sheet in at a time, and I lightly 'frame' the edges with my hands to make sure it feeds in straight.

You then have to let the ink sit on the fabric for a while (can't remember how long off hand - it says on the bottle!) before washing in a mild detergent.

Then dry again, before ironing, Bonda-webbing and cutting up!

Et voila!  Labels!

Now because I have a few put aside at the moment, I thought I'd do a little giveaway.  The two sets featured above (UK travel posters on Jacquard cotton/chocolate on linen) will be sent to the winner, who will be pulled out of Mr U-t-B's stylish felt hat (not literally!) next Friday before I go to work.  To enter, just leave a comment on this post (1 entry) or become a follower (2 entries - anyone already following will automatically have their name in the hat).

Good luck!


  1. I have often thought of printing on fabric this way - but I am way to scared, I can already imagine the language if it were to get stuck! You are a far braver lady than me.
    Love all those tins in the last post too, and the new look is great!

  2. hiya- I won't enter the giveaway, but thankyou SO much for explaining how to do this process.
    Alas, having just blown £60 on a decent laser printer I don't think I dare try.
    Or dare I????

  3. Thank you so much for that info, I have wondered how it is done, it does seem very complicated to me though!
    Thanks for the comment on my blog.
    Tracey x
    ps you are probably closer to my angel, (problem teenager) as he is at Sparsholt College.

  4. They're so beautiful! You're so damn clever!!! xxx

  5. Just popped by to say thank you for your more than kind comment and was blown away by your post! I do some printing on fabric with the freezer paper method and love the results, but they are not a patch on your super journals and covers. I adore the Back to Blighty range. I am off to buy that dover poster book now. Can feel some more 'messing about' coming on.
    Jenny x

  6. When can I come and play at your house ?

  7. This post is so fab, thank you for explaining so clearly how to do this. I love what you've made, and the images you've used are so lovely. You can do a similar process with jewellery making, using images transferred onto polymer clay, (not with a printer but with a weird liquid painted onto magazine images!) and my heart is in my mouth every time I do it and reach the point where I have to peel back the image from the goo!
    I'd love to be entered into this giveaway and am already a follower. Hugs Em xx