Printing Your Own Fabric
Here are two simple methods of printing on fabric using your ink jet printer: Method #1 - Using T-shirt Transfer Paper: Simply follow the instructions provided with the transfer paper. This generally involves printing the image to the transfer paper, and then using an iron to transfer the image to fabric. Be sure to read the instructions and follow them carefully--- I didn't the first time I tried this, and got an ugly finished product. I got a much prettier result once I actually followed the instructions :) If you've never worked with transfer paper before, try some tests before you plunge into the real project, so you will have a feel for how it works. This method is the simplest way of getting your image onto your fabric. The down side to this method is that it stiffens the fabric slightly. However, once the image is transferred, the fabric is washable, so if you are working on a project for a child, this might be the best way to go.
Method #2 - Using Freezer Paper With this method, you will actually print directly onto the fabric, rather than transferring. Cut a piece of fabric the size of a regular piece of paper (8 1/2 X 11). Cut a piece of freezer paper the same size. (Freezer paper is available at most grocery stores, in the same aisle as paper plates or plastic wrap.) Press the wrong side of the fabric to the shiny side of the freezer paper, using an iron set to medium heat. Press just long enough to melt the wax on the paper, and fuse the fabric to it--- the whole thing will become slightly stiff. Trim if necessary, so that there are no fabric edges hanging over the paper. Put the fused piece into the printer tray with the fabric side facing the proper direction for the printer to print directly onto the fabric. Be sure the sheet is in straight, and that there is regular printer paper beneath it in the printer tray. You may want to experiment with your printer settings. If available, try special paper or transparency settings. Try setting to highest quality print, and darkest print level. If your printer allows for extra drying time, try this as well. Each printer is different, so once you get some settings that work for you, write them down. Once you have your settings ready to go, print the image onto the fabric. Once the sheet goes through, it's best to handle the piece as little as possible until it is really dry. Set it aside for a while, or use a blow dryer. This method can be a little tricky, but yields a very nice result, with good color quality. The down side is that the finished piece will not be washable. I've heard there is a product out there that will set the ink, making it permanent, but I haven't tried it yet.