my lovely sister has requested some instructions on how to print onto fabric for a few projects she has in mind so i thought i may as well make a post out of it in case it helps anyone else out there. this is a super easy method, perfect for items that don't need to withstand washing. (sorry it's not a proper tutorial with pics, it's night here but next time i do some printing i'll take photos an add them in.)
box cutter or exacto knife
A4, letter or legal sized paper (regular weight, not card stock)
1) choose your (light coloured) fabric. 100% cotton is best, linen also works fairly well, synthetic and blends tend to bleed. iron the fabric before hand or make sure there are no heavy creases or wrinkles.
2) lay the newspaper out, preferably outside, and place the A4, letter or legal sized down on it (as many sheets as you want to print). lightly spray the paper with glue and allow it to sit a few moments to become less tacky*.
3) place the paper onto your fabric, pressing down lightly to make sure it adheres. put fabric and paper on the cutting matt and, using the ruler and knife, trim the fabric around the paper edges, making sure there are no ragged threads hanging off the edge of the sheet. you should be left with a standard sized A4, letter or legal sheet with fabric on one side.
4) on your computer, set up your images the way you want them to sit on the desired size of paper. you can have one large full page sized image or a few smaller ones that you can later trim out.
5) put the paper with fabric attached into the inkjet printer, with the fabric facing the side that prints (if you're not sure which side this is, do a test first).
6) print as per usual except that you probably don't need to print with the highest photo quality settings, as the fabric will become saturated with too much ink and possibly bleed. because all printers are different, print at a medium resolution to start and see where to adjust from there.
7) let the ink dry for about 5 minutes then slowly peel the paper away from the fabric. voila!
* make sure you don't use too much spray glue on the paper or it will be impossible to peel away from the fabric in the end.
a note about the permanance of these prints: i have always used epson printers for my fabric printing and have had great results. for my most recent purchase, i made sure to get a model that uses the Durabrite inks - from the epson website "With Epson DURABrite Ink, you get bold, black text and rich, vibrant colors, for results you'll enjoy for years to come. DURABrite is also water and smudge resistant, which prevents accidental damage caused by moisture and spills. What's more, DURABrite is fade resistant, so your cherished photos and important documents will stand up to harsh outdoor sun or indoor lighting." to further protect my images, i always spray them with an archival matt fixative (available at art stores) after they dry.