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Making Printable Fabric Sheets

  • PrintPrint

Introduction

Your HP Deskjet printer can print on fabric if you make or purchase printable fabric sheets. This document explains two methods to make 8.5 x 11-inch printable fabric sheets that can be used with your Inkjet printer.

Needed items

To make the printable fabric sheets, the following items are needed:
  • 100 % cotton fabric
  • Full sheet adhesive labels or freezer paper
  • An ink fixative for pre-treating the fabric, such as Bubble Jet Set 2000
  • An iron
  • A smooth ironing surface such as a cloth-covered table or counter top
  • Scissors or rotary cutter (preferred)
  • A cutting mat
  • A ruler
  • A lint brush

Helpful tips

Please read these helpful tips before making your printable fabric sheets.
  • Use 100 % cotton with a thread count of at least 200.
  • Never use steam when ironing treated and printed fabrics. Steam may cause water spots.
  • Try ironing the printed fabric while it is still slightly damp (unless instructed otherwise by the manufacturer). Most of the wrinkles are easily removed if the fabric is not completely dry.
  • Remove as many air bubbles as possible between the fabric and the backing. Air bubbles can cause problems when printing.
  • Consider the following items if adhesive labels are chosen for the backing:
    • Laser printer adhesive labels are typically less expensive than Inkjet labels and perform the same.
    • Adhesive labels designed for copiers are not recommended. They are thinner and do not adhere to the fabric as well.
    • Use only full-sheet adhesive labels. Smaller labels may peel off inside the printer.
    • Adhesive labels can be used more than once. They will continue to adhere to the fabric for more than one use.
    • It may be necessary to use a small roller to remove air bubbles and to get the fabric to adhere to the fabric.
  • The following tips may help if freezer paper is being used as the backing:
    • Use a cloth-covered table or piece of shelving while ironing, as most ironing boards are not sturdy enough to resist the pressure necessary to form a good bond.
    • Use the Cotton setting on the iron when freezer paper to the fabric.
    • Do most of the ironing on the freezer paper to avoid scorching the fabric.
  • Brush each fabric sheet with a lint brush before printing. If lint remains on the fabric during printing, white spots (where the ink hits the lint and does not hit the fabric) will remain on the fabric.
  • It is recommended to use the fabric sheet immediately after printing it. If the printed fabric is not used right away, ensure the sheets are flat when they are stored.
  • The edges of the fabric sheet may need to be ironed if the fabric is not adhered to the backing.
  • If the leading edge of the fabric (the edge being put into the printer first) becomes disconnected from the backing, try folding a piece of masking tape over the length of that edge.

Step one: Prepare and affix the fabric and paper

The following instructions will guide you step-by-step through making a printable fabric sheet.
  1. Pre-treat the fabric with the fixative, following the manufacturer's instructions for pre-treating and drying the fabric.
  2. Iron the fabric to remove wrinkles. For best results, use a dry iron on the cotton setting.
  3. Cut a 9 x 11 1/2-inch piece of fabric. Cutting the fabric a little larger than 8 1/2 x 11 inches reduces the possibility of getting either the adhesive or the wax on the iron. The fabric will be trimmed to size in a later step.
  4. Affix the backing to the fabric using either freezer paper or a full-sheet adhesive label.

Freezer paper instructions

  1. Cut an 8 1/2 x 11-inch piece of freezer paper.
  2. Place the fabric right side (to be printed side) down on the ironing surface (see Figure 1).
  3. Center the freezer paper, shiny side down, over the fabric (see Figure 1, second picture).
    Figure 1: Placing the freezer paper on the fabric
  4. Iron on the freezer paper side until it is bonded to the fabric. Start in the center and iron toward the edges, making sure the corners and edges are completely bonded (see Figure 2).
    Figure 2: Ironing freezer paper side
  5. Turn the sheet over and iron on the fabric side, removing any remaining wrinkles (see Figure 3).
    NOTE: The color fabric shown in the graphics is for illustrative purposes only. White fabric works best for printing images.
    Figure 3: Ironing fabric side

Adhesive label instructions

  1. Place the 9 x 11 1/2-inch piece of fabric (cut in Step 3 above) right side (to be printed side) down on the ironing surface (see Figure 4).
    Figure 4: Placing fabric right side down
  2. Peel the backing off the label.
  3. Align one end of the label with the fabric. Apply the adhesive side of the label to the fabric, using care not to get any wrinkles or bubbles under the label (see Figure 5).
    Figure 5: Aligning the label on the fabric

Step two: Trim and brush the fabric sheet

  1. With the fabric side up, use a small roller or cool iron to remove any wrinkles or air bubbles.
  2. With the fabric side down, trim the fabric sheet to match the freezer paper or adhesive label backing (see Figure 6).
    Figure 6: Cutting the fabric to size
  3. Cut, do not pull, any loose threads that might get caught in the printer.
  4. Brush the fabric with a lint brush to remove any lint.
    The printable fabric sheet is now ready to use. For best results, print the project on a piece of paper as a test. This may avoid wasting the printable fabric sheet. Then, when everything looks good, print the project on the printable fabric sheet.
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