Monday, March 11, 2013

Creating Dimensional Objects - Part One - Printing

I'm working on a crazy quilt block for Wilma, and the theme is "I Love Paris". My idea for this project is to add a CanCan dancer's legs...and a corseted lady somewhere on the block. So, I went to the internet searching for images that could help me to create my idea. This tutorial is about "what to do" with the images once I located them. Hope it inspires your own embroidery of dimensional objects in some way.
The process for dimensional work is not too different from other embroidery/crochet/tatted/etc motifs. You create the motif, and you stitch it down. For images...that usually means purchasing a special fabric to print an image on silk. These images are referred to as "silkies". But, that is not the ONLY way to work with an image...and today...this tutorial is about another process.
It involves printing on standard cotton fabric...and embellishing the final printed result with embroidery, ribbon, beads, etc.
Printing images on fabric is a pretty easy process. It can be done without special fabrics or solutions...if the item you are creating is not likely to get many washings. And, heavy encrusted crazy quilt you get in open round robins...won't usually be washed at all. However, for larger crazy quilt projects where you do intend on using the quilt often (and probably won't be using loads of beads, charms, ribbon, etc...use purchased fabric that has been treated to hold the printer ink longer.
Now, fabric does not easily feed into a printer, It has to be stabilized first. That can be done with freezer paper (a waxed type of butcher paper used to wrap meat for the freezer).
Step One: Cut a piece of finely woven cotton fabric and a piece of freezer paper that are both larger than a standard sheet of printer paper. 
 Step Two: Place the freezer paper, wax side down, on the fabric and press with a hot iron. This will temporarily fuse the fabric and the paper together.
Step Three: Trim this fabric/paper sandwich to the standard paper size for your printer. For me, that was 8.5" wide by 11.0" long.
Step Four: Test the print orientation of your manual feed tray. Mark one side of a piece of standard printing paper with a I've done here with a "squiggle mark". 
Load the paper into the manual tray or single sheet feed slot of your printer with the "squiggle mark" up...and print your images.
Step Five: Note the side of the paper your "squiggle mark" and you image is printed on. Is it the same side? Or, is it opposite sides? 
This is that you know which side of the fabric/freezer paper sandwich needs to be facing when placed into the printer. The image needs to obviously print on the fabric side...and not the freezer paper side. Another good aspect of this "test" is to see if your images are the appropriate size for your design plan.
You can trim the paper image you created in your "squiggle mark" test...and place them  on your project to see if they will be the right size for the space allotted on the project. If they aren't...then adjust your image files until you are happy with them. No wasting fabric that way.
Noe: If you want to use purchased fabric sheets...that is fine. And sometimes, as stated above, that is the ONLY way you should proceed. This part of the tutorial is just in case you don't have those...and want to use standard cotton fabrics because you will not be getting the images wet later on. Ink that comes directly from the printer on to standard cotton...will degrade over time...because it does not saturate the fibers of the fabric well enough to withstand time. It will be heat set and can stay adequately for some time. 
Another note, you can also use permanent extra-fine markers to "color over" your printed images to have them last even longer...but, your hand must be steadier than mine...cause I usually make a mess of that!
Tomorrow, we'll discuss how to work with the printed fabric image.


Pippas quilts said...

Thank you Kathy I have wanted to have a go at this for a long time but have always been worried about the fabric getting stuck. Feeding it from the back and not the tray makes a lot more sense. Look forward to tomorrows tutorial.

lifemyway said...

What a wondeful tutorial. I have often wondered if it was worth trying to print on cotton instead of silk. I can't wait to see the next part.

wendy said...

Thank you for sharing! I can't wait to see the next part!!