How to print photos on fabric

How to print photos on fabric

I thought this was impossible without a tacky iron-on transfer... until I happened upon Prym Creative Fabric which is designed specifically to feed through regular old inkjet printers. Yes!

A bit on the pricey side, I decided it's worth it, at least once. The pack comes with 5 sheets but as I pride myself in being particularly resourceful I decided I could get well more than five images out of this pack. I picked this up with my usual haberdashery wholesale order but it's available on Amazon too.

STEP 1: Prepare your images

I picked a couple pictures I recently found on Pinterest and adjusted them in Photoshop to my liking. In this case, my dear flatmate said I just HAD to make a cushion with Bill Murray on it. Right then! I created a document the size of an A4 sheet of paper in Photoshop and placed the images I wanted to be printed and saved as a PDF. You can do this is any word processing program though, it doesn't have to be Photoshop. Then I set everything up for printing.

STEP 2: Load the fabric paper into your printer

The fabric paper needs to be loaded so that the fabric side up. This is the side that will be printed directly onto, so however your printer feeds the paper, make sure that your  fabric paper is loaded the right way.

Now hit the button, and print away! Make sure your settings are set to "Plain paper, best" and watch very eagerly as your fabric emerges from the printing tray. 

STEP 3: Let it set and remove backing

Now, before you go wild, touching it all over to see if it's really real, just let it sit for a few minutes so the ink can dry onto the fabric. You don't want to smudge old Murray's face! Once it's dry, you can peel off the paper backing. Then, run your cotton fabric under some cold water to remove any excess ink. Be careful not to squish or wring out the fabric, as this can still smudge the ink and distort the fabric. Just let the water run over the surface for a few minutes.

Set it somewhere flat to dry and then give it a little iron on the wrong side to prepare it for your sewing project.

 I added hexagons to the images in Photoshop to help me cut them out later, when I appliqué these babies onto some cushions.

STEP 4: Get sewing

Now, the hardest bit, deciding what to do with your printed fabric! I can imagine this is great to customise projects, like quilts or a magicians cape (remember the one they made in Stepmom with Julia Roberts?). It can also be embroidered (a bit like these ones here) and makes a great base for mixed medium textile projects.

What would you make with your fabric photos? What other techniques have you tried for printing photographs onto fabric?

Back to blog