Ready to custom printed cotton fabric? If you’re in the market for a textile printer, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll walk through the steps of getting your first print so that you can start creating beautiful fabrics with ease.
Test Your Colours.
Before you get started, test your colours. This is a good practice to follow when printing on fabric for the first time. To do this properly, you need a small swatch of fabric that represents what your final print will look like (i.e., if you want to print on black cotton twill with red ink, it’s best if your test swatch has those same characteristics).
To test colourfastness:
- Rub the fabric against itself in different directions; this will help determine if there are any colour bleeding issues or whether the ink has bled through completely (if so, try using less water).
- Place an object such as a pencil eraser or coin over any areas where colour may have bled through; if there is no discoloration under these spots after 5 minutes or so (depending on how much water was used), then chances are good that everything else will turn out fine as well!
Know Your Fabric.
Most people don’t know that there are multiple types of fabric, and even more don’t know what each type is used for. So, let’s start with the basics:
- Cotton: A natural fiber that grows on a plant and can be spun into thread. It’s soft and comfortable, but not always easy to work with because it has a tendency to shrink when washed in hot water or dryer heat.
- Polyester: Made from synthetic materials like coal tar derivatives, polyester is often blended with other materials such as cotton or rayon (a cellulose fiber)
- Rayon: Another cellulose-based material like viscose (see below), but made from wood pulp rather than cotton linters
Choose Your Printing Dye.
When you’re ready to start print custom fabric, you’ll need to choose your dye. While all dyes are not created equal, there are many different types and colours of dyes on the market. Each has its own characteristics that make it best suited for a specific application or material.
- Some dyes are better at penetrating through thick fabrics like canvas or denim because they have more open spaces between molecules. This is good if you want deep colour saturation but bad if you want a lighter shade of colour in thinner materials like silk or cotton jersey knit (unless they’re being used as an accent). In these cases, consider using another type of dye like reactive direct-to-garment (DTG) ink instead because those tend not require any pre-treatment before printing onto fabric, just apply directly from bottle onto clean cloth surface!
- If working with darker hues such as black or navy blue, then opt for darker shades instead; otherwise try mixing two different colours together so that one doesn’t overpower another entirely.
Create the Artwork.
Once you’re happy with your artwork, it’s time to move on to the next step: creating it!
- Create the artwork in Illustrator or Photoshop. You can also use other programs like CorelDraw and Inkscape if you prefer.
- Import the artwork into the printer software.
- Set up the printer software to print on fabric by choosing a size and setting up any options for cutting holes or adding texture during printing (if desired). If there are any missing colours or fonts, check those too!
Create a Test Print.
To ensure that you are ready for printing fabric, it is important to create a test print. A test print is simply a small version of your design printed on some scrap fabric or paper. This way, you can see how the ink prints out and what kind of quality it has before making larger orders.
You can also print test designs using various materials such as wood, cardboard, plastic, and glass as well as fabric!
Pressing the Print!
Once you’ve printed the design on your fabric, it’s time to press it!
Pressing is a crucial part of the process because it helps set the ink into place and makes sure that your design doesn’t smear or smudge when you wash it. If you don’t press properly, there’s a chance that some of your print will come off in the wash; so make sure to follow these steps exactly:
- Make sure your fabric is clean and dry before pressing. If there are any stains or dirt on your fabric, they could transfer onto other items during washing (and nobody wants their favourite shirt covered in paint!).
- Set aside about 10-20 minutes for pressing it’ll depend on how much material you have to work with and choose whether or not to use an ironing board (if so, be careful not to flatten out any wrinkles).
- Once everything is ready, turn up the heat setting of whatever tool(s) will be used until medium-high heat has been reached; then place one edge of each piece into its designated slot before closing them tightly together again so that no air escapes from between them while being pressed together at once.
Printing your own fabric is a fun, creative way to get your artsy side out. In addition to being able to create whatever designs you want on your clothing, you can also use it as an opportunity to learn more about dyes and printing techniques. With these tips in mind, we hope that you feel confident enough now to start creating something amazing!