Printing on a fabric used to be a chore. From treating the fabric to printing the design on the fabric, everything had to be done by hand. Manual work is always more difficult, and for some, it can be a clear put-off to starting a project.
However, be put off no more as you can do this at home using a laser printer and a computer. You can even create your own design with photo editing software and have that design printed on your fabric.
This process may sound a bit complicated but trust us, once you learn how to do this, you will be able to print your own fabric in no time. You can even start your own business if people like your prints.
Follow the steps described in this article to print on fabric using a laser printer.
Things You Will Need
- A computer/tablet
- A laser printer
- Freezer paper
- Plenty of toner in the printer
- Printable fabric
Printable Fabric And Freezer Paper
A. Printable Fabric
Printable fabrics are specially made so that they are strong enough to flow through a printer. Additionally, they are designed so that ink can set into the fabric and doesn’t get washed away easily.
You need to remember that commercially prepared fabric sheets are designed for inkjet printers only. So you can’t use it in a laser printer. Pre-treated fabric sheets are not fit for laser toners.
Therefore, to be on the safe side, when you buy the fabric, ask the seller if they are suitable for a laser printer. They should be able to guide you toward the best fabric for your needs.
B. Freezer Paper
Freezer paper is available in most grocery stores. It’s used as a stabilizer to guide the fabric through the printer.
Freezer paper is a stiff, sturdy paper ironed shiny side down to the back of the fabric so that you can guide the fabric into the printer without jamming it.
Now that we know what’s what. We can start our printing process.
The Printing Process
Step 1: The Design
A. Start by deciding on a design for your project.
B. There are many different options for your design.
1. Create your own design by drawing it on paper and then scanning it to transfer it to the computer.
2. Download any design or image from the internet. You can also edit them in a photo editing software.
C. It is advised that you use a simple design for your first project. But if you want to try out complicated designs and images, you can do that as well.
Step 2: Design Editing
A. Edit your design.
B. You can do so with an editing software of your choice. You’ll be able to utilize any of the free editing software like GIMP or buy a professional software like Photoshop. These can take some time to master, but once you have, you will be able to make significant improvements to any design.
C. Resize your design so that it doesn’t get distorted in the printing.
D. For best quality, choose the highest possible setting (DPI or Pixels). Keep in mind that the higher resolution your design is, the better it will look in print.
E. The color settings of the printer and computer may differ. If necessary, check these to ensure you have alignment.
F. To make sure you have the right colors, you can print your design on normal paper first.
Step 3: Check Compatibility
A. Check if your printer and ink cartridges are compatible with fabric printing.It is wise to use pigment ink as it’s water-resistant, and you won’t have to pre-treat your fabric with waterproof, chemical solutions.
B. Check if you have adequate ink in the cartridge. If you need to refill or change your cartridge, it is advised to do that at this stage.
Step 4: Fabric Preparation
A. Prepare your fabric for printing. You don’t need to pre-treat your fabric for a laser printer.
B. If needed, iron the fabric (dry mode) so that there aren’t any wrinkles or creases.
C. Extra fibers may have made their way onto the fabric. If needed, use a lint roller remove the unwanted fibers, dust, or lint on the fabric. They will get in the way of printing and will produce a smudged image if not cleared properly.
D. Most printers can print on 8.5″x11″ pieces of fabric. So you will need to cut your sheets before you put them into the printer. You can use a cutting scale or grid printed craft cutting mat to cut out your fabric accurately. You need to consider your design when you cut your fabric. It needs to be well suited for your design. Otherwise, you may not get the full image on your fabric.
E. As we are using freezer paper, you need to iron it onto the fabric. This should be done with the shiny side down.
F. Trim the freezer paper down according to the size of your fabric. Don’t make it the same size as the fabric. It is best to keep an extra 2-inches of freezer paper in comparison to the fabric. This will help the feed more easily into the printer.
Step 5: Insert The Fabric
A. If everything else is ready, you can put your fabric into your printer.
B. Place it gently so that the stabilizer or the fabric doesn’t get misplaced.
Step 6: Printing
A. Hit “Print” on your computer after choosing your printer from the Print Menu.
B. Your printer should start printing now. Feed your fabric gently through the printer. The fabric can easily snag, so you shouldn’t hurry at this stage. Be careful to avoid any issues. Any distortion will ruin your print, and you will have to print again.
C. As the fabric exits the printer, ensure you take control of it. Take it from the edge to prevent any folding or creasing, causing issues with the ink that lead to the fabric being unusable.
Step 7: Post Printing
A. Keep the printed fabric flat and wait for the ink to get dry.
B. After that, remove the freezer backing carefully.
C. You can wash the fabric after that to remove excess ink that you don’t want on your fabric.
Printing fabric at home can be a fun activity.
You can experiment with all sorts of colors, designs, and fabrics, whether a beginner or an expert.
Practice enough, and you can become so proficient that you’d hardly be able to tell the difference between a home-made print and a print using industrial equipment.
There’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to start selling what you make once you’ve become a master of this art!