Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Experimenting with InkJet Printing onto Cloth

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Several months ago I purchased a meter of "inkjet ready" 100% cotton fabric from our local quilting store. Today, I finally decided to give it a try to see how it measured up to the packaged inkjet fabric sheets.

I had read that attaching the fabric onto freezer paper with double-sided tape was a method that seemed to 'do the trick' for some. Unfortunately, I wasn't one of the 'some.' It could have been that I hadn't secured the cotton well enough, but I think it was more likely the weight of the freezer paper wasn't sufficient enough to thread through the printer. Luckily I dug it out of the feeder without mishap.

To test whether or not the flimsy freezer paper was the cause of the failed attempt, I persisted. This time with a regular weight piece of laser paper. I doubled up on the tape and created a grid with it and then attached the same piece of cotton from the first try.

Below is the result.
1. The digital image of what I chose to print.
2. The crumpled up freezer paper.
3. The final product - notice one corner didn't adhere and printed on the opposite side of the cotton.
4. It is fabric...scanned in a clump.

My recommendation is, don't waste your time. The cost/benefit ratio, if you value your time and can afford the cost,  weighs highly in favor of purchasing the ready made fabric sheets. What's also a consideration is the potential to damage your printer.   As you can see the saturation of the final product (and I had the ink volume turned to HEAVY) was hugely compromised. I happen to like the colors of the final piece, but I'd prefer to plan this rather than have a happy accident.

Next in line to try is the TAP inkjet product - which I've ordered and am waiting for.  Stay tuned.  I'm optimistic.

Hope this was of some value to you, if only to prevent you from making the mistakes I did.


Bea said...

I'm so glad you didn't damage your printer and I appreciate you doing the demo for us. LESSON LEARNED, now all I have to do is remember it. :)Bea

Terri Kahrs said...

As I read this, I felt your pain and angst when the printer got jammed! Been there, and it's NOT pleasant. Thanks for this great series. If it saves one hapless printer, it's worth it! LOL! Hugs, Terri xoxo

La Dolce Vita said...

I have ripped more papers and cloth from this old printer!!! LOL! now, the epson I would never risk, but the old Hp, who cares, sometimes it works, sometimes not, but art is always an experiment!
But, wouldn't it be nice if an art company made a crazy wacked out printer for all of our artistic experiments??? sigh.... one can dream!!

Heidi Rand said...

I agree with your findings. I print on fabric a lot, and using the pretreated products turns out much better than on untreated or on fabric I've treated myself.

Ironing to freezer paper has always worked fine for me though - but it is a pain and not really worth it for the savings.

I like TAP, it is definitely a good option for some purposes.

Kim said...

Now I had read about that freezer paper trick too, glad I haven't gotten around to trying it out yet either! Thanks for posting the results of this play, looks like I will save some time and money not bothering with the product. I'm with Cat, we art folk need a printer that will take all our weird surfaces, LOL!

Anji Johnston said...

I too have tried the freezer paper idea to no avail. What I found that does work is spray stencil adhesive. If you light spray the adhesive onto your cheap printer paper, lay your fabric onto the paper (I spray about 6 sheets at a time), smooth out and then cut to size. It goes through your printer really easily and when you peel the paper from the fabric there is no sticky mess! Voila - hope this helps a bit