Introduction: Inkjet Printing on Fabric

Picture of Inkjet Printing on Fabric

Forget about printing on some transfer paper and then ironing it onto some fabric. With some freezer paper you can print right on the fabric itself. No need to reverse the image and it's faster, cheaper, and more effective.

Step 1: Materials List

Picture of Materials List

Cloth? Check.
Freezer paper? Check.

Step 2: Cut to Size

Picture of Cut to Size

Cut a piece of fabric a little bit bigger than the 8.5"x11" that your printer can handle. Or, if you have a bigger printer, go bigger.

Cut the freezer paper to an even larger size to give you a nice margin of error here.

Step 3: Iron Together

Picture of Iron Together

Place the working side of the fabric onto the ugly old ironing board you have lying around. Now place the plastic side of the freezer paper down on that.

In other words, the working surface is safely facing the bottom and the paper side of the freezer paper is facing you. Now iron it together. The two pieces will become one.

Step 4: Cut to Size - Part 2

Picture of Cut to Size - Part 2

Trim the combined fabric paper to something your printer can accept. For me, that's letter-size. For my friend, who bought a massive Epson printer while flush with cash, that could be two-feet by whatever.

Step 5: Stick It In

Picture of Stick It In

You now have a piece of fabric that is supported by the attached piece of freezer paper. This makes the resulting combination solid enough to be grabbed by the printer without flopping about. Treat the finished piece like a regular piece of paper and stick it into an inkjet printer. My printer flips the paper over and then prints on it so I placed the piece in the tray with the fabric side down.

Step 6: Print!

Picture of Print!

Find some image you want on a piece of fabric and print away. You'll be surprised at the level of detail. This Instructables logo in the picture is just over two inches wide.

You can print anything you want. I found this technique because a friend wanted to create some treasure maps for a pirate party. If you want the image to be on something that will get a lot of use you might want to treat it with this stuff.


PamelaH77 (author)2017-12-12

Two questions please: where are we copying a pattern to go on the fabric? Is it like copying a photo off the computer or do you have to use the copy machine on the printer? and after this is done...can it be put in the microwave? I want to make a herbal pack and it has to be microwaved. Thank you

mickey_chelle (author)2012-09-10

does anyone know if this will work with a laser printer ?
Dont want to mess up my printer - its a big professional laser printer I use to print business cards on.

freeluna (author)mickey_chelle2017-02-06

Another article I read said 'No', but the comments below speak for themselves. One other thing the article I read said that there's a product called bubblejet set, which apparently helps the ink stick to the cloth. Also indicated that 'pigment' ink is better than 'dye' ink. I have no idea what the difference is.

Actually when I first started looking for this technique, everything called for laser printers, so I tried it on my inkjet and it worked fine as I wasn't able to afford to go buy a laser printer. So yes it will work on a laser printer, just as with any printer, be sure that there are no fabric threads to get caught up in the printers. Trim neatly first before sending it through your printer. Good luck and hope it works out.

Also, when your finished and let your image set for about half an hour, iron your image with a thin towel or ironing cloth to help set your colors when done.

rooneal (author)Para_StudentCTU2016-08-31

I have tried a laser printer, not treated the fabric [cotton sheet from thrift shop]
and it was great [guy at post office helped-as it was the shop printer and i had to pay of course about 60p a A3 size print ] backed with freezer paper
came out great and i washed it in washing machine [with some dark towel case the colors ran , but it came out looking as good as it did before being washed
also tried inkjet not bad - but def not washable, faded to very pale black with no colors i was really disappointed-i would buy a laser printer-but they are so large [as i would want an A3]
i even tried a homemade pre-treatment [on the net] took time and results were abysmal and almost all of it washed away

i think the laser printing is beautiful [though check your colors i as the guy in post office sharpened up my pics and density and lightened them up a tad-what a difference that made
i would only use inkjet -if i never intended to wash the printed piece -end of

whatttt (author)mickey_chelle2014-11-28

dude I just did this with a laser printer and the image is great! I've read some places that toner is really waterproof too (I'm not certain of this statement's validity, as I have not personally tested it). Best of luck :)

thasshia (author)mickey_chelle2012-09-13

As you see, the title is: "INKJET printing on fabric". So, the answer is "no".
It only works with inkjet printers.

craz1 (author)2014-01-05

Hi! I want to ask if we could use "STICKER PAPER" instead of "FREEZER PAPER". We cannot find any freezer paper here in the Philippines. Thank you for your reply.

SuzeenS (author)craz12015-06-20

there no freezer paper here too. i suppose sticker paper should be fine but way way more expensive :/

Tgee48829 (author)SuzeenS2016-12-07

The first time I tried this technique was about 15 years ago and we used wax paper and it works great

zappy1333 (author)Tgee488292016-12-20

Wax paper would not iron to fabric

AlexB411 (author)2016-08-26

what printer is that

claire.grocott.9 (author)2015-11-07

Hi, no freezer paper here in Australia. I've had success with putting wide masking tape down all four sides of my fabric .. half width of tape on one side, fold over the edge and the other half on the back.... if you see what I mean!

Hi there, just thought I would let you know, in case you ever needed it, that Spotlight sell freezer paper. They keep it hidden away under the counter where you purchase fabrics and sell it by the metre.

Hi, Could you please explain your technique in more detail? For instance did you put masking tape down the edges of the fabric, fold it over and stick it to the other side and then feed the paper into the printer? You would have to keep the photo inside the taped edges then?

sgt_majorette (author)2016-03-10

My printer doesn't have settings for paper thickness, so I tried the paper types. It spit out glossy and crumpled up plain paper, but finally worked on matte.

k87jean (author)2016-01-02

I had some difficulty with ink blobs along the top edge, dragging down onto the image when I ironed the fabric all the way to the top of the freezer paper.. I cut the fabric slightly smaller all around, approx. 1/2" and it made a much cleaner transfer. Otherwise this is a great method to print on fabric. I also had purchased some 8-1/2" x 11" freezer paper sheets in the past which make this process a little easier.

EllE4 (author)2016-01-02

can i use calico instead of cotton?

ghau (author)2015-11-10

For those who cant get freezer paper, try using repositional tape or repositional adhesive spray. I have used this to print on ribbon. You can get it with scrapbooking supplies or art supply stores.

Heidi245 (author)2015-10-22

My printer was haphazard. It would accept 1 sheet of fabric then the next one would jam. So far i have resolved the problems by doing the following: I cut the fabric a little larger than the freezer paper. I set the iron on high heat, and layed the fabric on top of the shiny side of freezer paper. I ironed slowly, pressing from center towards the edges to get out air bubbles. (but not so long that the fabric burns!)

While its still warm i place the ironed sheet under a large book so it stays flat. Then I carefully trim all 4 edges using a quilt wheel and straight edge so it exactly matches the paper.

I set the printer to "best" quality print and chose "other photo" paper.

It has worked every time. Hope this helps!

KarenL26 (author)2015-09-21

I use muslin for my fabric and freezer paper. I trim the finished cloth so no frays are sticking out. Would Scotch Guard set the colored ink or would it make the colors run?

chris.webster.8420 (author)2015-01-30

I tried this on my PH inkjet and it crunched up the fabric on the rollers and now I can't use the printer at all - can't get at the rollers to remove the fabric.

So - do be careful and make sure that the printer is suitable for the thickness of the paper/fabric together, and that they are very well fused together.

Make sure you change your print settings. If you change it to a heavier duty paper like cardstock or something similar, the printer will have an easier time grabbing it.

janetdela (author)2015-08-17

I wonder if the image can be set by spreading a little modge podge over it. Has anyone tried that?

rena.smithwalker (author)2014-11-04

I am having a problem getting the fabric to adhere to the freezer paper by ironing it

SuzeenS (author)rena.smithwalker2015-06-20

probably you have to set the iron hotter

SuzeenS (author)2015-06-20

is there any option rather than freezer paper? i live in asia region and apparently freezer paper doesn't exist here :/

cmmarone made it! (author)2015-06-10

Worked great! Took a few tries - worked best when this was the only thing in the paper feed tray. Also, make sure you have a clean edge and no threads.

michell.johnson.771 (author)2015-03-12

need help. Inkjet photos on fabric without retreating. How can I save my photos printed already.

NancyP4 (author)2015-01-31

I've tried all kinds of transfer methods & this really works! Make sure fabric is not thick & not threads dangling. I found if you trim the paper, this keeps edges from fraying.

satoko68 (author)2015-01-13

Absolutely loving this. The hubster is a photographer so I'm going to try this out using some of his photos, for display purposes. Thanks very much!

AlissaM (author)2014-10-24

Does this work on thicker, interfacing fabric? I need to print right on some pellon 70 ultra firm. It's kind of expensive, so I'd prefer to not experiment on it :)

colemyst (author)2014-10-20

Is there a generic setting for the printers to all fabric and paper to slide through easily? I was trying "other photo paper" on mine. I have no card stock of depth choice.

colemyst (author)2014-10-20

I want to print on plain canvas. The ink wants smudge even with ironing it well before and after, I tried starching it and when it would go through the printer it was really crisp, just what I hoped for, but it made it somewhat impossible to set the ink and it didn't always want to go through the printer. Is that bubble jet set 2000 the only way to get a nice smooth image and set the ink?

Cilenia (author)2011-11-23

Make sure you wash your fabric first to remove any sizing from manufacturer, this will help your printer's ink absorb better and stay longer. Heat set after with hot cotton setting on your iron also.

Cilenia (author)Cilenia2011-11-23

OH make sure you heat set AFTER you take off the freezer paper backing!

mrsben (author)Cilenia2014-08-14

I also read some where (not sure if works) but if you put your 'completed printed' project in the freezer for a few hours it will set the ink so it will be colorfast.

shyrell (author)2014-07-07

From everything I've read you would need a printer that uses pigment
ink, not dye base. Dye based inks wash out. I'm trying to find out if it's still necessary to
prep the fabric first even with pigment ink. Maybe I'll find out as soon as I
get my inks and try it. Sometimes Google has no idea what I'm talking
about! :(

ZannC (author)shyrell2014-07-09

If you go to the last link up there to the Dharma Trading Co. site, it takes you to a pre-printing treatment product called Bubble Jet Set liquid. It is specifically for dye-based ink preservation on natural fibers, cotton and silk. It claims to make washable prints from dye-based ink.
It also recommends a rinse product, too.
I am getting ready to print on fabric for the first time, so I can't comment on how well it works yet. But this is the route I'm taking in my experimenting with the process.

shyrell (author)ZannC2014-07-21

Since my last post, I have printed on fabric with pigment ink, washed the fabric then pressed it. So far nothing has faded and the fabric looks great.

jhope2 (author)2014-05-14

Thank you! Thank you!Thank you!Thank you!Thank you!Thank you!Thank you!

I just tried this for the first time and WOW!!!!! This is EXCELLENT!

When I can, I'll post images. It's a super, secret project. Shhhhh!

craftyv (author)2013-06-09

Great Instructable: Now I can print my Cross-stitch charts onto my fabric But???????? How will I line it up to exactly match the stitch holes, oh well back to the drawing board.

fungus amungus (author)craftyv2013-06-10

You'd probably want to do a transfer with a solvent. Like this one:

deathsmileyinc (author)2010-04-08

OMG ive never heard or seen freezer paper! i dont have it at home neither does the shops (here in holland)

could i use something else? could someone describe freezer paper ( it could be lag of translation)

bwlservs (author)deathsmileyinc2011-12-16

wax paper

katiebegood (author)bwlservs2013-05-18

Not the same. Won't work.

Alamo Jo (author)deathsmileyinc2012-05-20

I'll add that freezer paper is not exactly wax paper as some have noted. It has a thin plastic coating on the shiny side. At least the Reynolds brand is plastic.

Alamo Jo (author)deathsmileyinc2012-05-20

Freezer paper is white and is shiny on one side and looks like regular paper on the other side. Sometimes a butcher shop wraps meats in that kind of white paper. We can buy rolls of it at stores like Walmart here in the US and some grocery stores. But I imagine a nice butcher would sell you some off his roll...maybe even give you some. When you iron it onto fabric, put the shiny side against the fabric.

Tony5 (author)deathsmileyinc2010-07-20

There's no translation, Freezer paper ispaper on one side and wax on the other. You probabilly dont have in your country. Just sew a paper sheet withthe fabric

wocket (author)Tony52011-02-17

what a great idea!

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.
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