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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Printing Pictures on Fabric: From Failure to Success

 There are so many tutorials for printing on fabric. I have wanted to try it for so long and I figured my Grandma's 80TH birthday celebration was as good a time as any to try it out. I wanted to get her something meaningful and I figured pictures of her wedding day turned into a pillow might just be the right place to start.
 I have to tell you I tried this so many times before I got it to work. I mostly used the tutorial from here. But after putting fabric and wax paper through my printer 5 or 6 times and continually failing I decided I needed a new plan. After all Einstein's  definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Time I listened. So, this is my journey from failure to success.

First off, you need,  high quality cotton, ink jet printer 9mine is an hp deskjet D2445- nothing special), a picture from your computer and matches/candle

Matches and a candle? Weird right ? This is why:
I cut out my piece of fabric and tried to get rid of any frayed ends, but as the fabric went through the computer ironed on to a piece of wax paper, the ends would still fray and the wax paper ended up separating from the fabric. I was determined to make this work however so I decided to try something drastic.

I lit a candle and carefully singed all the edges of my piece of fabric. this effectively kept all the edges from fraying and allowed the fabric to go through my computer without the wax paper and without any further problems. I was so excited! After i had the image printed on fabric, I ironed it, picture side down to heat set it a little. I don't how good that will work, but that is what I did.

This is my piece of fabric with the burnt edges and a picture of my grandparents wedding day successfully printed. In my photoshop elements program I added the lettering on the pillow.
I think this one below is what it looked like before I burned the edges.
This was their honeymoon car.
I then cut out another piece of fabric for the back of the pillow with this pint:
Pinned it together with the backs of the fabric turned out, sewed it leaving a little hole for stuffing batting in. Turned it right side out, stuffed it and hand stitched the rest of it closed.
It turned out like this:
It is a bit faded, but it was the look I was going for. I wanted a vintage feel. For the car pillow, I wish I would have put the lettering above the car instead of below so it would show up better, but hey, live and learn, right?
Right before my Grandma got married, she had a doctor's appointment to get medication for strep throat and my Grandpa had a college final. Not the typical way you would think tho spend the morning of your wedding. They met up to walk to the wedding together and they had to cross a busy street. My Grandpa yelled, C'mon Joan!" and he darted out into traffic to cross. My Grandma remained in the side walk with her feet firmly planted, not about to run into on-coming traffic. My Grandpa was sure this was a sign that meant she wouldn't follow where he lead. But she made it abundantly clear that she would follow him anywhere, except into on-coming traffic. The result of their happy marriage was, six daughters, 21 grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren and counting.
I hope that this works for you! It really is a fun gift to give.
Happy Crafting!


  1. Those look great Amy! What a great idea! I can't believe the fabric will go through the printer though without getting stuck! So it was just a cotton fabric?

    1. Thanks! Yeah it was just cotton. I crossed my fingers the whole time!

  2. You idea is really praiseworthy and this kind of printing pictures is rarely seen in the market. I know you want some vintage feeling, but if you had used colors, it would have been great for you art. Nevertheless, I loved you idea and keep on posting.

    1. Thank you! They were black and white photos. I would love to try color!