Tips on How To Transfer Pictures from Fabric for Quilting

Nothing can be more invaluable than gifting your loved ones a beautiful quilt. That is too having their pictures printed on the fabric. Is it sounding? You may wonder how it is even possible? 

But yes, it is possible, and you can do it all on your own without any professional help. 

There are times when you may feel like getting a particular design on your fabric. Or maybe you get an order of a customized quilt. In that case, you have to print the desired picture on the fabric. 

At this point, you may ask, how do I transfer a design onto fabric? Well, there are a series of steps you need to follow. 

Keep on reading to learn the steps in detail.

1. Prepare the photo

The first step for printing a picture on fabric starts with preparing the image on your desktop or laptop. 

The following steps will guide you to prepare the picture on your fabric:

  • Edit the picture 

You can use any photo editing software to edit your picture. You can crop the picture according to your convenience. Also, you can change the brightness or contrast settings to make the image look perfect. There is nothing to worry about the editing part. It is almost the same as you in your smartphones. 

  • Check the format

Make sure your picture is in digital format. Be it from your digital camera or even scanning a traditional photograph. 

Check your camera or scanner manual to learn how to transfer pictures into the system.

  • Save the picture

Saving the picture in the correct format is essential. You will get many options of files for saving your picture. Always keep the picture in JPEG file format. 

  • Check the picture resolution

The resolution of the picture affects the quality of printing on fabric. Save the image to the size you will be printing on the fabric. Make sure you keep the resolution high. It will ensure good quality printing on the material. 

  • Arrange your pictures

Arranging pictures on your desktop is very important. It will help you print as many pictures on your fabric at once. You place the photos without any gap if you don’t want seam allowance. 

If you want seam allowance, then arrange the photos keeping a ½” gap between them. 

2. Get correct fabric

  • Not all fabrics suit printing. There are some special fabrics which you need to buy for printing. These fabrics are special because they have a paper backing. It stabilizes the material when it moves through the printer. 
  • It is better to buy printable fabric sheets online. If you are confused about which sheets to buy, check the link.

Tips on How To Transfer Pictures from Fabric for Quilting

Printing pictures on fabric is not as easy as printing things on paper. Yet some tricks and tips may help you do it effortlessly. 

Let us move on to our methods.

i. Using photo transfer paper

It is one of the easiest ways of transferring images on the fabric. Follow the steps below to learn how it is done.

  •  Select a photo transfer paper:

A particular type of paper is available to print pictures which prints the photos on the fabric. However, these papers are available in the market. However, you can also buy them online to get more options. 

Click on the link and check photo transfer papers and how much they cost.

  • Print and cut the picture:

Now, after you have selected your photo, it’s time to print your picture. You have already read how to arrange and edit your image. Before printing, do not forget to reverse the images using the softwares you use. 

Reversing is necessary because your picture will print reversed in the fabric. It will create a problem when your image contains fonts. 

After your printing is done, cut your picture using a scissor or a rotary cutter. Cut your paper, keeping a ¼” gap.  If you do not have a rotary cutter, then you can get one from Amazon

  • Transfer the picture on fabric:

After your printing is done, it’s time to transfer your picture onto the fabric. You will transfer the image to the material by ironing the paper. 

Keep the fabric on a hard surface. Do not use an iron table. if you feel hesitant putting iron directly over the paper, you can keep a newspaper over the transfer paper. It adds an extra layer of protection.

  • Peel off the paper

After completing the ironing, take out the photo transfer paper.  Finally, you can see your picture on the fabric. 

ii. Using freezer paper

You have learned how to print pictures on fabric using photo transfer paper. Have you ever wished to print photos on your fabric just by making it pass through a printer? 

Well, there is a piece of good news. It is possible. You need to use freezer paper for this. Yes, it is the same one you use in your kitchen. 

The following steps will help you learn this method: 

  • Prepare your paper and fabric:

The very first step is to cut the fabric and the paper. Cut them in a rectangular shape having dimensions of 8 ½ “x 11”. It is the ideal size of paper for printing. 

  • Fuse the paper and fabric:

After you cut the fabric, iron them together. Ironing them will paste them together, becoming a single sheet. 

  • Print your picture:

Prefer using an inkjet printer for this purpose. 

iii. Using gel medium

If your picture has a lot of complex colours and details, then gel medium seems to be the most reliable medium. But this method needs a lot of materials. 

Following are the materials you may need:

  • Liquitex Gel Medium – It helps you transfer your picture onto the fabric.
  • Paintbrush
  • Canvas fabric with no stretch
  • Dry-toner printed image – It means you can print pictures from the laser-jet printer or use a magazine cut out.
  • Spray bottle with lukewarm water.

The following steps will guide you throughout:

  • Make photocopies: 

In this method, you have to put the gel on the right side of the picture. So, you surely will not want to ruin your image for life. So make a photocopy of the picture. 

If the picture contains text, scan it, reverse it in your system and take out the print. 

  • Apply the gel medium:

Take a paintbrush and apply the gel on the right side of the picture. Now, press the fabric on the paper. Smooth the wrinkles if you find any. Then let the picture dry. Keep the material overnight. 

  • Take the paper out:

After drying the fabric, spray water on the picture and rub gently with your fingers. If you do not have a spray bottle, you can use a wet rag. Rubbing will take the paper off. 

  • Rinse the fabric: After taking off the paper, rinse the fabric to remove paper pieces if present.
  • Let it dry: Let the fabric dry in the open air under sunlight.

One question may come to your mind, Can you use regular Mod Podge on fabric? 

The answer is yes, you can use regular mod podge, and the process of using is also the same as gel medium. 

Final Word

Though quilt making is an ancient tradition, gifting it to someone makes it unique. And personalized pictures on them are like a cherry on the top. 

Also, the concept of printing pictures on quilt fabric is very creative. It helps you create designs and place them on fabric without any professional help. 

As you have read, the steps and methods of doing it are not challenging. Do the process carefully, select the correct materials, and you are there. 

So, go on and start making something even more creative, even more beautiful. Happy Quilting. 

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