The Enrichment Project

Badge Supplement

Photo Crafts: Fabrics
Many techniques can be used to put photos onto fabric. Transfers, printing directly on fabric and iron-ons make putting images on fabric fun.
A few techniques are in this handout for a variety of projects.

Photo Crafts

Be sure to explore the Web for a myriad of additional techniques for working with photos
and fabric.

Fabric Crafts to Make
Stuck on what fabric projects you’d like to put photos on? Try some of these!

Tote bag
Quilt squares
Wall art
Table linens
Pillow case
Eye pillow
Lunch sack
Bulletin board
Book cover
Wine bag

Printing Iron-On Artwork
1. Use a digital photo, artwork, clip art and/or text to create an appealing,
personal design.
2. In your photo-imaging software, flip your picture or design around to a mirror i
Image. Look for the option to Flip Horizontally or Mirror Image. Your software
might have a Wizard feature for easily creating iron-on transfers. Using this
feature is important, as otherwise your picture will come out backward after
you iron.
3. Print your image on paper first to confirm that everything prints correctly.
Hold it up to a mirror to get an idea of what it will look like on your garment.
4. Print your design onto an iron-on transfer sheet. Caution: Do not use iron-on
transfer sheets in a laser printer or any printer that heats the paper. These
printers can melt the transfer paper, which can damage the printer.
5. Load a flat iron-on transfer sheet as described in the paper’s instructions. If
the transfer sheet is curled, place it under a flat heavy object (like a big book)
until it lies flat.
6. Click on File, and then click on Print.
7. Click on Properties to access the Printer Setup box.
8. In the Printer Setup box, select Premium, Special, or Iron-On Transfer as the
paper type.
9. Select the Best print quality, and then click OK.
10.Click OK again to start printing.
11. Cut out your design from the transfer sheet using sharp scissors, leaving about
a 1/4-inch edge around the image. Be careful not to cut into the design itself,
or it may bleed when washed.


Ironing Your Transfers
For the best results be sure to choose the right fabric.
• To show off your design, choose a light-colored fabric like white or pale yellow.
Avoid darker fabrics or your transfer may not show up very well.
• Use a thick, high-quality, 100-percent cotton garment. Prewashing isn’t
• If possible, test your transfer on an old garment of the same material. Wash
the test garment to make sure the transfer doesn’t crumble or bleed on your
fabric of choice.
When it comes to iron-on transfers, the heat of your iron, the placement of your garment,
and your ironing technique all can affect the success of your transfer. To get the best results, follow these recommendations.
1. Set your iron to Cotton and let it warm up for about eight minutes. Turn off the
Steam feature and empty any water from the reservoir.
2. Place your garment in the center of a smooth pillowcase on a low, hard, flat
surface that will not be damaged by heat. Smooth plywood, Formica
countertops, and smooth workbenches all are good surfaces. Ironing boards are
not because they’re too soft and don’t disperse heat well enough. Iron the
garment to be sure it is smooth and dry.
3. Place the iron-on sheet, transfer side down, exactly where you’d like it on your
4. Use both hands and press hard enough to generate 50 pounds of pressure
(put your iron-on your bathroom scale to see how much pressure this takes).
Keep your arms straight and use your upper body for leverage.
5. Starting in one corner of the transfer paper, iron complete circles around the
outer edge of the paper, making sure the iron completely overlaps the edges
and corners. Keep the iron moving in large circles as you work your way toward
the center of the transfer. Follow the recommended ironing method and iron for
the full recommended time for your transfer size. It is about one minute for
partial-sheet transfers that fit completely under the iron and about three
minutes maximum for full-sheet transfers.
6. Remember, too much ironing can cause the image to melt too far into the
fabric. Too little ironing can cause the transfer to peel or crack.
7. Complete the transfer by ironing the edges in a circular motion.
8. Wait for the transfer to cool completely, and then remove the backing.


Washing and Wearing
To keep your transfers looking their best, follow these simple washing instructions.
• For the first wash, wash your garment inside out in the gentle cycle using cold
water and no detergent. After the first wash is done, re-wash your garment
inside out using cold water and detergent without bleach. If you are using
powdered detergent, make sure to dissolve it in the water before adding the
• Remove the garment immediately after the second wash to prevent bleeding,
and dry it on a low setting.
• For future washings, always wash inside out in cold water with a color-safe

Printing on Fabric Sheets
A fabric sheet is simply a piece of fabric bonded to paper. The paper holds the fabric
stable as it moves through the printer. Once the ink is dry, just remove the paper and
you’re ready to use your printed image. There are two ways to get fabric sheets – make
your own or buy them.
Most of the ready-made fabric sheets are pre-treated with an ink fixative to ensure the fabric is colorfast and washable. That’s important if you’ll ever need to wash your project or if
there’s a chance your project could get wet. Be sure to read the package carefully.
Helpful Tips
• Printers don’t print white. That means if you are printing on colored fabric,
the white parts of your image will be the same color as the fabric.
• White fabric prints the truest colors.
• The maximum width of your fabric sheet is limited by the width of your printer’s
paper tray.
• The maximum length can be varied by printing in banner mode if your printer
supports this function.
• Always verify that the leading edge of the fabric is securely bonded to the
backing paper before inserting it into the printer. If the fabric has separated
from it’s backing, it could jam inside the printer.
• Cut – don’t pull – loose threads from the fabric sheet before inserting it into the
printer. A rotary cutter and ruler work great for trimming loose threads, but you
can also use scissors.
• Practicing with plain paper first will save you money and frustration. If the
printed colors and placement aren’t quite what you expected, simply make the
adjustments, reprinting until you get what you’re expecting.
• Remove all plain paper from the printer’s paper tray and insert only one fabric
sheet at a time to avoid jams.
• Leave at least a 1/4" seam allowance on all four sides of your image if you’re
going to incorporate it into a larger project. If you print all the way to the edge
of the fabric, you may end up cutting off some of the design.
• Steam is your enemy – at least when it comes to fabric sheets. Using steam to
press pre-treated fabric sheets may leave water spots on the fabric. In addition,
the steam may cause the fabric to separate from its paper backing.
• Wrinkles and bubbles on the surface of the fabric sheet can cause printing
problems. Check your fabric sheet before printing and, if necessary, iron it to
ensure it’s smooth.
• Allow the ink to completely dry before removing the paper backing.


Photo Transfer Process
1. Select photographs that are clear and have good contrast.
2. Photocopy the photograph (enlarge or reduce if necessary).
3. Apply clear acrylic gloss medium to the surface of the canvas and to the surface
of the photocopy to be transferred.
4. Apply the photocopy to the canvas face down.
5. Using a fairly heavy piece of cardboard, rub the surface from the middle of the
image, out toward the edges. Excess medium will come out the edges. Press
gently and remove all excess glue from surface of canvas.
6. Rub the surface of the photocopy gently with fingers which have been slightly
moistened with a little water.
7. Wait for a few minutes - allow to dry.
8. Test the transfer by gently lifting the paper on a corner. If all of the ink is on the
canvas it has transferred. If some of the ink is still lifting off onto the paper, stop
and wait another few minutes and try again.
9. Gently lift and peel the paper off the canvas. A thin film of paper will remain on
the canvas.
10.Rub the surface gently with moistened fingers. The paper will begin to pull off.
Continue rubbing until all of the paper film is removed and the only thing left on
the surface is ink. The surface will feel smooth and there will be no white film
11. You can choose to seal the surface with gloss medium, but it is not necessary.
Helpful Tips
• Photocopies can be transferred onto almost any surface.
• Any text or image to be transferred needs to copied onto a transparency and
reversed. Reversed images and backwards words will transfer right way around.
• Stand when doing transfers to help reduce mistakes.
• When fingers get sore, an eraser will also work to remove paper from the
• You do not have to wait a whole day to peel. Depending upon how dry the air is
in the room you are working, it could be ready to peel in 5 minutes, or as long as
30. Just very carefully pull up a corner that doesn’t have anything really
important. If there is no ink left on the paper and the ink is totally transferred
onto the canvas, then you are ready to peel.
• Use a plastic squeegee tool in place of the cardboard and swipe off with a damp
sponge or cloth.

Check out larajla’s Enrichment Project
to start your own adventure.


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful