Sunday, May 29, 2011

Experiments in Fabric Transfer Methods

I'd love to share the results of my experiments using four different products/techniques for transferring images to fabric. 

First of all, I use fabric transfers for mixed media projects that won't be washed.  Durability is important but they will not be used in a quilt or another work that will be washed.  I do use fabric transfers in books and wall art ...just to name a couple. 

My inkjet printer is an HP Photosmart 564XL.  This is a new printer for me.  I had a perfectly fine Lexmark that I loved but it no longer prints due to something being dropped into the printer.  The only way to fix it was to replace it so I'm still getting acquainted with the HP.   It seems like a good choice so far.  The printer settings were as follows:  General Everyday Printing - Plain Paper - Best Print Quality. 

The image I used to compare all methods was a vintage cook book cover available from Altered Pages on collage sheet #1006D.    All images used today are offered by Altered Pages.

 All transfers were printed or ironed onto a light to medium weight muslin.  Be sure and iron the muslin before beginning.  Wrinkles make it very difficult to get a good transfer and when using the homemade inkjet method, they will jam your printer.

The first transfer was made using Avery's T-Shirt Transfer Paper #3275.  This paper is for light colored fabrics and it transferred very well.   Directions for this method are easy and straightforward.  Simply print your digital images onto a sheet of transfer paper and iron the images onto your fabric.  Be sure and print the images as mirror images.  I'll definitely use this product for future transfers.
Avery #3275
 The next product I tried is called invent it! and is made by International Paper.  The transfers produced with invent it! were not very good.  I tried pulling the backing from the transfer paper while it was still warm and I also let it cool.  Neither method seemed to work better than the other.  On the other hand, if a grungy transfer is what you're after, this product would work just great.  I picked invent it! up at a large discount store and it was only $1.00 for ten sheets.  It's possible that the product was being sold in massive quantities because it didn't work well..  For what it's worth, I'll probably use these sheets for grungy transfers when the need arises.
Invent It! Iron-On Transfer Sheet #00063-2


TAP - Transfer Artist Paper
  My third effort went with TAP or transfer artist paper.  This was the Cadillac of all methods.  On my first attempt to get a transfer, I don't think I ironed one area as long as I should have and a bit of the image remained on the transfer paper.   All images after the first one transferred perfectly.  Here's another example of a TAP transfer:

The last method I tried today was making my own homemade ink-jet paper.  I've done this many times and part of the reason for today's experiments was to see how it measures up against other products.  

Homemade Ink-Jet Fabric
I used an 8.5 x 11 sheet of computer paper and sprayed it lightly with tacky spray.  I placed the computer paper onto a piece of ironed muslin and  smoothed to the edge and then cut around the paper.

Muslin ready to print on
I used the same printer settings with this method as I did for the transfer papers.  It is not necessary to print mirror images since you're printing directly onto the muslin.   After allowing the images to dry a few minutes, I spray them with a workable fixative. 

Another example of homemade inkjet paper

The homemade method prints directly onto the muslin and doesn't have the polymer coating that the transfer sheets use.  Because of this, the images using the homemade method are softer and lighter weight but on the other hand the TAP and Avery images are sturdier and heavier.   I have to say that I like the TAP and Avery products very much. I will continue to use the homemade method as well depending on the end result desired.  I'll reserve the invent it! product for those rough and grungy projects.


Margaret said...

I love transfer prints, great post as you can really see the difference in the different techniques. I use the iron on the most at the moment! mx

Jingle said...

This is really valuable information! Thanks for posting this!

libbyquilter said...

excellent post~!!~

thank you for the detailed information as well as the image results. i've been wondering a lot about the different products out there and this helped a LOT.

i currently use the homemade method with fair results but now i know what these other products can do for me.


DeeJae (Deb) said...

Hi Diane,

I've enjoyed looking around your blog again, especially at all your lovely painted paper. It's beautiful! It caught my eye first because I'm working on painted/stamped pages for my daughters journal.

I have never tried fabric transfers yet and just ordered some already made fabric transfer sheets on ebay that should get here some time next week. It's the Blumenthal Craft Photo Fabric Sheets. Have you heard of this kind?

DeeJae (Deb-CPA yahoo group)