Tutorial – Printing On Fabric

Printing on Fabric, quilts, TUTORIALS

Back to the Signature Wedding Quilt.  My next step was to get some photos printed out on fabric.  I don’t always have luck with this but I got some done last night and today.

So here is my tutorial on how to print photos on fabric – I’m sure there are other ways and some of them might be better than mine so if you want to try it out search around and and read up on it.  This is my way to do it.  This way involves treating your own fabric not purchasing the pretreated fabric that is ready to run through your printer – that kind is fine too but I find most brands are meant for machine sewing only and as we know I do more hand work than machine.

Step 1: Buy some Bubble Jet Set 2000.  You can find it at a variety of places and you can find it at some quilt shops and maybe even Hobby Lobby.  Everything you need to get started you can find at the link above – this is where I get my Bubble Jet from, the fabric and the freezer paper.


Step 2:  Cut your fabric to fit the freezer paper – 8 1/2 x 11 inches if you have not purchased the freezer paper from the above link.  This is a little more expensive than the big butcher rolls of freezer paper but it is already cut and it is a little thicker I find then the rolls of paper you can buy at the grocery store.  It is so handy and always ready to feed through your printer or to use to trace something out of a book – it is flat!!

Step 3:  Put on your rubber gloves – I don’t know what happens if you don’t do this but maybe your skin will burn?  I don’t think so though – it also says to use in a well ventilated area but I have never smelled anything from it.


Step 4: following the directions on the bottle place your fabric in a shallow pan and pour the chemical over it and let it soak for 5 minutes.  Make sure your fabric is completely covered with the liquid.


I always set my timer to make sure I do it right!


Step 5:  When the timer goes off take your fabric out of the pan, I squeeze gently to remove a lot of the excess liquid.  Lay the fabric on a towel and let it dry.  I always place the pan that I use the funnel in the dishwasher so I don’t forget they need cleaning before being used for anything else.


Step 6: Pour the used liquid back in the bottle – it is still good and can be used some more – it has always worked for me Smilealso a money saver – sorry I forgot to clean my sink before I took the photo – I wasn’t thinking far enough ahead.


Step 7:  I let my fabric dry over night and then this morning I got my iron out and found out it was no longer working – what is with irons – they never seem to last more than a year or two before they give out on you no matter the price – I always keep a small iron in the sewing room for pressing seams and it is also the iron I keep in the motorhome now I will have to find another for that purpose – I got out the iron I keep for pressing big pieces of fabric and clothes when they are too wrinkled to wear out in public.

Anyhow – I digress – iron your treated fabric to get all the wrinkles out of it.


Step 8 : Iron your fabric with a hot iron to the shiny side of the freezer paper.


Step 9:  Trim the edges so that there are no unraveled edges to get trapped in your printer.  If you are printing out something that is 8 1/2 x 11 inches make sure to only cut off a tiny bit on each side if there are raveled edges.


Step 10:  Have your photos selected the size that you want and insert the freezer paper/treated fabric in your printer – in my printer that is the fabric side down but depending on the printer this might not work for you.  I have also found that not all printer ink stays in fabric – you need to check and see if your printer does that before you print out a bunch.  I have two HP printers – one is a wireless scanner/copier/printer and doesn’t work on fabric – it is the more expensive of the two also so one would think it would work but I have found that the color washes right out – the one I use for fabric is my HP Deskjet D2545 that if I recall right I got for under $100 and it seems to always work.

Step 11: Now that you have your photo printed on your fabric let it set for 30 minutes.

Step 12:  Peel off the freezer paper and take your fabric photo to a bowl of soapy water – use as gentle of a soap as you have – I found some Orvis Soap for quilts that Wanda from Exuberant Color recommended to me and it worked great.  A tiny bit goes a long way – I put in less than a quarter teaspoon of the soap in the bowl of cold water that I used and it was plenty.

Swish the fabric photo around in the soapy water and then rinse thoroughly in cold water.  Put on a towel to dry or dry with a hair dryer.

This one of the photos that I printed.  I printed some that the bride had in black and white and some in color.  I found my black and white prints turned out much better than the color – you might have different luck so try what you want.  Yes the edges on the right side are not very large but I am going to be taking care of that with some appliqued “pictured frames” around the photos – it will be ok.


Step 13: turn your photo over and press with a hot iron – this is supposed to help set the ink.


Step 14:  Work on your quilt!!  I will show more when I know what I am doing with the photos Smile I have to now figure out how I am designing the next step of the quilt to include the photos, some appliqued vines and leaves – I changed my mind on the pieced leave border – too much work!!

(I am compensated for any purchases made through my links.)

10 comments… add one
  • Wanda Jun 12, 2011

    I wonder if the Bubble Jet Set gets old. I have some I bought a long time ago and have never used. Thanks for the photo tutorial.
    Wanda recently posted…A little sashing trialMy Profile

  • Linda V Jun 12, 2011

    Thanks for all the tips. I have never tried printing on fabric, but you made it sound easy! Maybe I will give it a try sometime. How do you know if the printer ink works? Trial and error?
    Linda V recently posted…Visiting Old FriendsMy Profile

  • You’ve made printing on a fabric so easy with this tutorial. Thank you so much for sharing! All the best!

  • Crispy Jun 13, 2011

    Interesting, I’ve never seen this done before. What a sweet picture of the two love birds :0)


  • Vivian Jun 13, 2011

    Thanks Karen. That doesn’t look hard at all.
    Vivian recently posted…Double Wedding Ring Quilt – RevisitedMy Profile

  • Beth Andrews Jun 13, 2011

    FYI – the company that sells Bubble Jet Set makes a special product called HP Bubble Jet Set, designed especially for the ink used in HP printers.

  • Karen Jun 13, 2011

    I had not seen the new product HP Bubble Jet Set – so glad to hear they have made one specifically for this brand of printer – thanks!

  • Vena Jun 13, 2011

    Thanks, I’ve printed on fabric with freezer paper before, but never heard of the Bubble Jet Set 2000! I will try it when I do printing with photos to get the best results!

  • Pokey Jun 13, 2011

    This was way helpful with your photos, thanks!

  • Pearl Jun 14, 2011

    Been using this method for bout 5-6 yrs. Still using same stuff, the bottle I’m now using is 3 yrs old and still fine. I was told when I first started using this product that the best fabric to use is EGYPTIAN cotton because of the high thread count. I also dont do the hand washing after the picture is printed on fabric and have never had any problems. Remember to treat the picture quilts gently and try to avoid direct lighting too much as this can fade not only fabric but the pictures as well.

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