I fully intend to try Spoonflower. It’s on my to-do list. I would totally like to design my own line. But in the nearer term, I need Ghostbusters patches for our family costumes. (Our little one will be Slimer, in bright green fleece with little wriggly slimer arms. It’s going to be so awesome.) I read somewhere that you can make your own printable fabric, and after paying a seemingly ridiculous amount for it and looking hard at it and thinking “there’s not much to this” I decided to set out.
Stumbling block: my regular inkjet printer is out of ink. Frustratingly, it has two black tanks and one of them is empty and therefore the whole thing goes on strike. Uh, seriously, with two sick kids and not feeling so well myself, *I* still go to work, right? Sigh. Not the printer. So, I set out to try it with my little photo printer. It’s a HP Photosmart 475, if you’re into these details.
So I cut a piece of laundered scrap white fabric. Happened to be white, but it sure doesn’t have to be. I plan on trying this on some assorted Kona cottons. My printer will print 5 x 7, so I go for that. I cut a piece of fabric that’s a little larger than 10 x 7 and iron it flat with a little steam, then turn the steam off and iron until it’s completely dry. (I’m ironing on this. It’s a helpful little gal.)
I tear off a piece of freezer paper to fit on my ironed scrap. With no steam, I iron it on both sides. Why? Because you want nooooo curl to this at all. Curl will separate the two pieces in your printer and jam it up. I have photos of this. It makes quite an unpleasant crrrruinnnnklecruuun ch ch ch in the printer.
This picture makes me sad. But we must go on.
After it’s super flat, lay it on your cutting board and trim down the two 5 x 7 pieces. The edges need to be nice and sharp and the fabric and the freezer paper cleanly adhered.
Carefully feed this through your printer. No matter whether you’re printing in Word or from iPhoto or from the fancy interweb or whatever, it works just the same as paper, but the manual feed tray would be best on most printers because it involves a less complicated paper path. Definitely feed one at a time, I say.
So once it’s printed, iron it again to set it. You can peel off the freezer paper and then sew it or attach it to fusible interfacing or whatever you like. I’m gonna make Ghostbuster arm patches. Who ya gonna call?
There are a number of things I like better about this than the printable fabric you buy:
1) It costs 1/20th as much.
2) You choose the base fabric.
3) You choose the size. Wouldn’t be all that tricky to print legal or tabloid size, if your printer will do that on paper.
4) It doesn’t automatically have fusible interfacing on the back. If you want to quilt with it, you can get on with your bad self.
March 11, 2010 Update: to make your fabric washable, see this.