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A Guide to Printing on Fabric: Rock Your Next Project

Printing on fabric is like unlocking a whole new world of creativity and self-expression. Like we mentioned in our previous post about the Rise of Non-Paper Substrates, it’s a whole new world of printing adventure out there! Today we’re talking about printing on fabric! It’s your chance to make custom rolls of fabric, funky wallpaper, and rocking t-shirts that scream “YOU!” It’s time to dive into this exciting world and uncover all the secrets!


Let’s start by exploring the different fabric printing methods. We’ve got digital printing, screen printing, and dye sublimation. Digital printing is the cool kid on the block, using fancy computers and inkjet printers to directly print designs onto fabric. Screen printing, on the other hand, involves creating a stencil and applying ink through it onto the fabric. And hey, don’t forget about dye sublimation, where you print your design onto transfer paper and then transfer it to the fabric using heat. It’s like magic!


Tips and Tricks for Printing on Fabric


Now, let’s spill the beans on some tips and tricks for printing on fabric. Rule number one: choose the right fabric for your project. Different fabrics call for different printing methods, so choose wisely, my friend. We’ll go over more on the best fabrics for printing.


Next, get your ink game on point. Some printers require special ink cartridges, so make sure you’re using the right ones. Don’t want any ink mishaps, right? Third, play around with your printer settings. Adjust the resolution, color settings, and print quality to get those vibrant and sharp prints. Last but not least, always, always, always test your design on a small piece of fabric before going full-on printing mode. It’s better to be safe than sorry!


What are the best printers for this fabric printing adventure? We’ve got some heavy hitters in the game. The Epson SureColor P800, the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000, and the HP Envy 4520 are all ready to rock and roll. These bad boys can handle a variety of substrates, including fabric, and deliver high-quality prints with colors that pop and details that dazzle. They’re the real MVPs of the fabric printing world.


Best Practices


Okay, so you’re ready to try this. What’s next? For a show-stopping fabric printing performance, here are some best practices to keep your fabric game strong:

Step one: Choose the right fabric. Not all fabrics are cut from the same cloth so to speak. Go for fabrics like 100% cotton that work like printing champs. Be wary of polyester-based fabrics that tend to misbehave and don’t hold the ink as well. We don’t want any ink rebellion, do we?

Some fabrics simply shine brighter in the digital printing spotlight. Depending on your printing method, you’ll want to read specifics for your printer and your fabric.


The star fabrics that are best suited for a digital printing adventure:


  1. 100% cotton steals the show. This plain cotton fabric is like the poster child for digital printing. It’s a dream to work with and holds the ink like a pro. No wonder it’s a crowd favorite!
  2. Silk struts its stuff. With its smooth surface, silk is a natural-born diva for digital printing. It allows for high-quality prints that pop with vibrant colors. Talk about a showstopper!
  3. Polyester blends sneak into the limelight. Yes, some polyester blends can play nice with digital textile printing machines and reactive inks. But before you roll out the red carpet, remember to test the fabric first. We want to make sure it prints like a charm and holds that ink with confidence.
  4. Natural fiber textiles take their cue. When it comes to print results, natural fiber textiles have their own rules. They rock less than full coverage designs like nobody’s business. On the other hand, synthetic fibers can handle both full and less than full coverage designs like a pro. It’s all about finding the right dance moves for each fabric type.


Step two: Stabilize, stabilize, stabilize! To ensure your fabric glides through the printer like a figure skater on ice, it needs some support. Enter waxed freezer paper. Use it as your trusty substrate for printing, and watch as it keeps everything smooth and steady. No fabric tantrums allowed!


Step three: Ready your file for the spotlight. When it comes to pattern designing, go for heavy hitters like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. These vector graphics editing programs will ensure your design is top-notch, high-quality, and ready to shine. Plus, they give you the power to scale your design up or down without losing that pixel-perfect resolution. One cool non-vector program to get you started designing is Procreate on an iPad. It’s only $10 in the App store and gives you so much possibility for designs and they can be imported and converted to vector graphics at any point as well.


Step four: Time to choose your printing weapon. Digital printing, screen printing, dye sublimation—oh my! There are various fabric printing methods at your disposal. Each has its own special powers and quirks. So, choose wisely, my friend. Pick the method that suits your project’s needs, and let the magic unfold.


Step five: Don’t forget the dress rehearsal. Print a small piece of fabric with your design to make sure everything is in tip-top shape. This little rehearsal can save you from potential design disasters and fabric fiascos. Let’s avoid any unwanted surprises!


By following these superstar best practices, you’ll ensure that your fabric prints are primed and ready to steal the show. So, get ready to unleash your creativity, create jaw-dropping designs, and make your next fabric project a resounding success. It’s time to shine!


Printing on fabric is your ticket to unleash your creativity and make something truly one-of-a-kind. With various printing methods and a range of printers to choose from, you have all the tools you need. Just remember to pick the right fabric, use the proper ink, adjust those printer settings, and test, test, test! Before you know it, you’ll be creating stunning fabric prints that will turn heads and make hearts skip a beat. So, get ready to rock the fabric printing world and let your imagination run wild!

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