transfer images on fabric? What is the best way to go?

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Original Post

I want to put images on my clothing. I don't know how to do screen printing, and I don't have money to invest in paying for someone else to make screens for me. I have tried the computer paper that they sell at Micheals. I didn't like how it washed. It didn't seem permanente. Does anyone have any ideas on how I could transfer images on fabric that would be durable??

Posted at 7:49 pm Mar 2, 2009 EST



Posted at 8:05 pm Mar 2, 2009 EST

stereoette says


Posted at 8:08 pm Mar 2, 2009 EST

I've played with a lot of ways of doing this. It really depends on what the image is, the clarity required and what flexibility you have with the size/type of the fabric you are wanting to transfer/print on.

When you say computer paper are you talking about an iron-on transfer or printable fabric? I'm not a fan of iron-on transfers because of the plastic feel. I've used iron-on transfer pencils but the design is limited.

I've had tons of fun actually printing on fabric with my regular ink-jet printer. All you have to do is iron on a stiff backer to allow the fabric to act like a piece of paper (I have used both interfacing and heat and bond with the paper left on). Cut it to a standard paper size and print. You can then applique the images onto your clothing.

Another trick is the acetone transfer. It only works for black and white images. Go to your local copy shop and find a copier that uses toner. Print your image in reverse and then you can put the image right side down on your fabric and use a cotton ball (dipped in acetone) and a little pressure and the image will transfer to fabric. Acetone is toxic though and if you are planning to do a lot of this take the proper precautions....mask, gloves, plant a few trees to assuage the guilt.

You can also try some low tech screen printing which basically involves making some stencils and using screen printing dye/ink.

With any of these, I'd suggest using a fixative to help seal the deal. Check your local craft stores next to the fabric dyes for fixatives.

In any case (and in all cases) visit your local library. You're bound to find tons of books on fiber arts and transferring images to fabric. I've found several that are really creative. The library is always the first place I go when starting a new venture.


Posted at 8:10 pm Mar 2, 2009 EST

Unfortunately, you will either have to pay someone to make you a screen and screenprint the image yourself, or you will have to use transfer paper which is awful quality. The other option would be to have a screenprinting company print on the shirts for you but you would have to make a minimum set order like wholesale buyers do. Hope that helps :)

Posted at 8:10 pm Mar 2, 2009 EST

When you print from your computer directly onto fabric, is it washable??

Posted at 9:09 pm Mar 2, 2009 EST

I print onto fabric a lot, it's my main interest. I have a lot of info on it at my blog:
and would be glad to answer questions.

There's a good yahoo group, inkjetfabricprinting (go figure), with lots of answers in the archives, and friendly people. My hero in printing on fabric is Gloria Hansen, her site I think is She has a new book, Digital Essentials, which is fantastic.

Sorry I'm referring you all over the place but that's a start anyway.

Posted at 10:40 pm Mar 2, 2009 EST

delanie1 says

please contact me regarding a current order..need to cancel an item

Posted at 5:47 pm Mar 4, 2009 EST

CoolBeans2 says

oh thanks so much for the printing on fabric advice. i was looking for something else when i found it. and i need that too!

Posted at 9:56 am Mar 5, 2009 EST

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