You Ran WHAT Through Your Printer? - Printing on Fabric and Ink Setting Liquid Recipe

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I print on fabric. Nope, not the kind using stamps and stencils.  I run FABRIC through my ink jet printer!  I'm a big fan of using tools for things other than their "intended use" so I often use my printer for printing  fabric, burlap, corrugated cardboard, you know,...the usual stuff.  In fact, the feature that most interested me when I purchased my current printer was the "straight through feed".  This meant that I could feed heavy card stock, envelopes, and fabric, through the printer and it doesn't have to "wrap around" to come back out. Hello,  alternative media!

The fabric that I print on most often is 100% cotton, cotton canvas, or cotton muslin but I'm told that you can also print on 100% silk fabric. When printing on fabric that won't be laundered, simply iron the fabric onto freezer paper (the shiny side), tape or spray mount the fabric to card stock, then run it through the printer in the same way that you would paper. . Above is an example of  multimedia artwork that I made using an image that I found on The Graphics Fairy. 
When printing on fabric that will be laundered (like the flour sack towels above, which  I made last winter for the Vintage Market), you'll either need to use iron-on transfer paper or Citrasolv transfer, both of which I have done successfully in the past. Or, you can be lazy efficient  like I am, and you can simply treat the fabric with what I call "Serendipity Set It 2010". This is a homemade version of an expensive and hard to come by liquid that is used to set ink into fabric BubbleJet Set 2000.

Serendipity Set It 2010 - Ink Setting Liquid


  • 2 tablespoons Alum
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Washing Soda (NOT the same as baking soda. You can find it at Walmart and at some grocers.)
  • 1/2  teaspoon Fabric softener (I'm not brand loyal. This was borrowed from a neighbor because we don't use commercial fabric softener.)
  • 1 cup VERY HOT water
  • A foil pan or other flat, shallow, container (I use a plastic dish pan that I use when I dye yarn.)
  • 100% cotton (or silk) fabric cut or torn into rectangles that are the size of the card stock that it will be mounted to. Launder the fabric in a non-detergent soap, (I use my Home made Laundry Soap.) dry, and press.


Mix the first four  ingredients together in the pan. The mixture will foam (and smell lovely). Let it settle for ten to fifteen minutes. It will become an opaque liquid.  Immerse the fabric sheets in the liquid and let them soak for 15 to 30 minutes.  Rinse in cool water and hang to dry.  When dry, press, adhere to cards stock and print. Heat set the ink using a hot, dry, iron. Enjoy!

These are a few that I'm making for the Barn Sale this weekend!


Resource list:
Flour sack towels: MK Linen Supply
Images: Graphics Fairy 
Cotton Fabric: JoAnn Fabric
Supplies for Serendipity Set: Local grocer and my next door neighbor

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