Thursday, September 24, 2009
Print on fabric with this homemade solution
Note* if you are looking for information on printing fabric with an inkjet printer and or, a homemade Bubble Jet Set solution......please click on the "Tutorials" tab above.......it contains the most complete and up to date info
Recently, I had tried a homemade solution for printing onto fabric using my inkjet printer with limited success. I have tried a few different things since then and have come up with a solution that actually works quite well.
I'll show you first what happens when you use a simple solution of soda ash mixed with hot water. This image in the upper right corner are test subjects side by side. These were printed using fabrics prepared with Bubble Jet set (left) and a solution of soda ash and water ( right)
as you can see, there is not a huge difference between the 2 after rinsing but I still seem to be losing a fair bit of reds and to some extent the blues. .....good...but not good enough.
Next is the result using the best recipe I have come up with so far. The first 2 photos is what the print looked like fresh from the printer. These were printed on fabric prepared using the recipe below. Then you see them again after not only being rinsed but also being washed with detergent. I deliberately chose images that contained a great deal of reds/pinks and while there still is a little colour loss I'd say that this really does work quite well.
So what is the recipe? well it is as follows:
1 Tablespoon of soda ash
2 Tablespoons alum powder
1 cup hot water.
Important!..............be sure to mix this in a large container......even though this is a small quantity of ingredients, believe me when I tell you that this mixture is really going to "fizz"
Once it has settled down it is ready for use. I gave my fabric a thorough 20 minute soak in the solution, left it to dry and then printed as usual. The mixture can be stored and used again just like the Bubble Jet set solution.
I have an inexpensive Canon printer that really seems to do a pretty good job, I am going to assume that since each printer and the ink used is different, your results may vary.
If you are planning to make an item using photo transfer that will likely be washed a great deal I'd probably stick to the tried and true commercial product.........but for art quilts and projects where they would not likely be exposed to a lot of laundering this just might be something worth exploring in your own studio. I have nothing against the Bubble Jet set solution, after all, it works great, but it is not always easy to find locally and I am not keen on using a product containing formaldehyde so for those reasons, I will continue working toward finding an alternative for my use and share with you the results of my experiments.
I have had a couple of questions put to me about my last post regarding this process.
........... what are these items, what is the cost and where are they found?
Okay so Alum, comes in a powder form (it's what gives pickles their crunch) and can be found in the spice section of your grocery store ( it is quite expensive in those little cans) so better yet is to purchase it at a bulk food store. To give you an example the little can ran about $3.49 Canadian funds for 65g while at the bulk food store 100g is only $1.32
Fabric dyers out there are familiar with Soda Ash, as this is what is used to prepare their fabrics to better accept the dye. I have seen many threads online about soda ash and washing soda being the same thing.........as far as I can tell they are not. I purchased this box of Soda Ash at Michael's Craft store. It was right around $10.00 but you know you can use your 40 or 50% off coupons and it then becomes much more affordable. Since only a small amount is necessary for each "batch"of solution, I think this box should give me a pretty good yield for the bucks
The images............I have been playing with my Photoshop Elements software and just wanted to show you how some of those photos printed onto fabric started out.
They really were pretty poor images, I cropped, adjusted, spent a little time playing with levels and filters to achieve those interesting effects.