Printing Photographs Onto Fabric

Bride and groom photo on fabric

From making a photo quilt to creating your own appliques from photographs, there are lots of reasons it's convenient and fun to print your images on fabric. Fortunately, it's an easy process to do at home.

How to Print Your Photos on Fabric

You don't need a fancy printer or a lot of special supplies to print on fabric. In fact, you can use your regular inkjet printer with a special printable fabric.

Things You'll Need

There are a few good options when it comes to printable fabric, and the right one for you will depend on washing instructions and budget:

  • June Tailor Printer Fabric, which retails for about $12 for 10 standard-sized sheets, gets good reviews from users at JoAnn Fabrics. Many crafters praise its ease of use and durability after printing. The fabric is dry clean only.
  • Jacquard Inkjet Fabric Sheets, which sell for about $17 for a 10-pack, also receive good reviews, although some users at report that the images aren't as crisp as they would like. The company does not specify washing instructions.
  • June Tailor Colorfast White Colorfast Printer Fabric is significantly more expensive, at about $26 for a 10-pack; however, this fabric is washable. Reviewers on Amazon praise it for its crisp detail, ease of use, and washability.

In addition to the fabric sheets, you'll need the following:

  • Inkjet printer with ink
  • Water for rinsing
  • Iron and ironing board

What to Do

  1. To get started, read the instruction on the back of the specific product you are using. The following instructions work for most products, but it's important to familiarize yourself with any specific requirements that go with the fabric sheets you are using.
  2. Use your computer to create an 8.5" by 11" document with your image. You can do this with a photo processing program or by pasting your photo into a word processor. Most fabric sheets are this standard size, so you can avoid hassles by matching your document size to the fabric. Print a test sheet on regular paper to be sure you like the layout.
  3. Load the fabric sheets into your printer according to the package instructions. Some products have a paper backing, which will require them to be loaded a certain way.
  4. Print the fabric. Allow it to dry or set as specified by the product instructions.
  5. If necessary, rinse the fabric with water. This softens the fabric and sets the ink. Allow it to dry.
  6. Iron as needed to create a flat sheet for your project. Sew or applique as you desire.

Getting Your Photos Professionally Transferred to Fabric

If you're planning a large project and need images bigger than a standard home printer can accommodate or if you need really durable results, consider having your photos printed professionally. There are several companies that specialize in transferring your images to fabric.

Fotos on Fabric

Lakeside Barn photo on fabric

Fotos on Fabric gives you the opportunity to print your images in a seamless panel up to 58" in width and at an unlimited length, perfect for panoramic images. You can also choose to have panels sewn together to create an even bigger fabric version of your photo. Finished images are washable.

Prices start at about six dollars for an image smaller than five inches by six inches. A 50-inch by 50-inch panel costs $250, and larger pieces require a custom quote. Delivery takes about two weeks.

Springs Creative Digital Printing

Springs Creative Digital Printing is a company that specializes in custom-printing fabric digitally. You can choose from several different fabrics, most of which are polyester blends. They promise the very best print quality and great customer service. Although they can do repeating prints, this company can also make fabrics out of your photos.

Springs Creative does not specify prices online. Instead, they ask that you contact them directly for a quote. There are low minimum order amounts, and most orders are finished within seven to 10 days.

Inspired Buffalo on Etsy

Etsy seller Inspired Buffalo specializes in printing photos on 100 percent cotton or linen fabric. You can contact the seller directly to create a custom order, or you can choose one of the standard sizes.

A 16.25-inch by 23-inch panel costs from $24 to $45, depending on the type of fabric you choose. Delivery time varies, so you must talk to the seller directly to find out when your printed fabric would be ready.

Endless Creative Possibilities

Whether you print your own fabric or have your image professionally printed, you'll find that the possibilities are endless. You can add another layer of creativity to your projects by using your own photos for sewing, quilting, applique.

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Printing Photographs Onto Fabric