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.

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

NancyP41 month ago

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.

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.

satoko682 months ago
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!
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.

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 :)

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

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

AlissaM5 months ago

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 :)

colemyst5 months ago
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.
colemyst5 months ago
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?
Cilenia3 years ago
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 Cilenia3 years ago
OH make sure you heat set AFTER you take off the freezer paper backing!
mrsben Cilenia7 months ago

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.

shyrell8 months ago

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 shyrell8 months ago

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 ZannC8 months ago

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.

jhope210 months ago

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!

craz11 year ago
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.
craftyv1 year ago
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)  craftyv1 year ago
You'd probably want to do a transfer with a solvent. Like this one:
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)
wax paper
Not the same. Won't work.
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.
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.
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 Tony54 years ago
what a great idea!
Hi, I live in Holland too and found it in my local patchwork shop ( They are in Haarlem, I don't know where you are but maybe you could find it in your local area too... just look for any patchwork or quilting supplier.

I have tried it and think it's great. The only problem is you are limited to the size of paper your printer can take... wish I had bought an A3 printer ;-)

thanks for the info, i live near haarlem and i will check out the store next time ill be there.

for printing on A3 paper i recommend checking out some schools, copy shops can be really expensive, at my school we have to make a lot of drawing on the computer using A3 paper you ill be using there printer for bigger images.

i hope i helped you.
Freezer paper is used to wrap foods for freezing. It comes in a roll from the food store, and is next to plastic wrap, wax paper and aluminum foil. It has a food-grade wax on only one side of the paper. You can also use masking tape folded around the leading edge of the paper to hold a piece of fabric on. Keep googling for other methods if you cannot find the paper.
I was needing to print on fabric one night and realized i did not have any freezer paper on hand so i tried another method on a whim and was happy to see it work perfectly. For those of you who are out of freezer paper (or had trouble finding it) . . if you happen to have quilt basting spray on hand just mist a light layer over a sheet of regular printer paper and smooth your fabric over top. no need to iron even . . . Voila!
Thank you soooo much for posting this! I totally forgot you could use freezer paper to stiffen the fabric. I was going to use double side tape underneath and regular clear tape around all the edges before I saw this. Awesome tutorial!
mattstroud2 years ago
Ok this looks pretty cool but i'm a bit confused. How would i print directly onto a T-shirt? As far as i can tell wouldn't you still need to transfer it from that print?
gomsmo3 years ago
Sadly, these are far from colorfast. You cannot use this technique with anything you plan to wear or wash. Not a good technique for quilts or...Still looking for ways to make the fabric colorfast without having to buy the chemicals designed to make the fabric colorfast. Maybe something you can find in your home...maybe.
ngshuert gomsmo2 years ago
This is a while later on the inkjet printing. Look to Dharma Trading Company. What makes it workable is the preparation of the fabric. The are two products one to make the fabric to fix the print and one to hold the fabric stiff to go through the printer. When you use a inkjet ink that is a dye base it is much more durable. And the products are getting better every day.
I can testify to this method and it works very well. We have an HP inkJet printer (nothing special, $100 or so). One word of caution... the ink WILL run if it gets wet.
If you try different inks, you might find that they don't run. The other option is to get some stuff that sets dye.
dancin2nite2 years ago
This is great! I am going to use it to recover a phone case. Print it out on fabric, and glue it and varnish it afterwards with ModPodge! My own personalized phone case!
Enjoyed reading all the preceding comments & will definitely try using TACKY or STICKY PAPER as recommended by a couple of you. I have been printing on fabric using freezer paper for several years. I pretreat my fabric with Bubble Jet Set and use Bubble Jet Rinse after printing to fix the ink. These products are available from quilt shops. I use these products to create labels for the backs of the quilts I make and include information about the quilt such as pattern name, why I chose it, type of batting used (wool?), washing directions and sentiments if it is being given as a gift for someone.

Caryl Bryer Fallert (a world renown quilter) has written an excellent book "Quilt Savvy-Fallert's Guide to Images on Fabric." She 'makes' her own fabric from images of flowers and photos. She uses the Bubble Jet Set & Rinse products and explains everything step by step with excellent photos.
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