Fabric image transfers: t-shirt & transparencies

Technique Tuesday

Last week I talked about a couple of my favorite methods for transfering images from one paper to another. Today I want to look at transfering to fabric instead. There are two methods that I use more than any other, and I want to start by showing you side-by-side what the final results look like:

The first is a t-shirt transfer, and the second is a transparency transfer. It’s easy to see how much more pigmented and opaque the t-shirt transfer turns out to be. Both of these methods will reverse the image, just like the ones we saw last week, so keep that in mind when you are printing out your inkjet picture.

Step by step instructions for the t-shirt transfer method

Step by step instructions for the transparency transfer method

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    • S. Holman

      Does anyone know why my gel medium photo transfer (from inkjet printed transparency to fabric) turns green every time? Thanks.

    • http://www.mazeltovjewelry.com Cyndi

      I think that Inkjet ink is laid down in layers. My guess is that you’re only getting a partial transfer, leaving the greenish color showing. I’m not an expert on this technology though. Your images on the transparencies don’t look greenish do they?

    • S. Holman

      Images on the transparency are not green. I just found that even plain water will turn the ink green on fabric, when I accidentally wet some labels I printed on cloth. So apparently it is the ink at fault. Even printed in sepia or gray tones, it turns green when wet.

    • http://www.mazeltovjewelry.com Cyndi

      Ok, definitely the ink. I don’t know if you’d be able to use a different brand…or maybe you just need a new cartridge.

    • http://frazzledsugarplummum.spaces.live.com/ Shirley

      hi Cyndi
      Both of these transfers will be perfect for some historical fabric work I have been considering and holding off on because I have had no knowledge or understanding of what to do. WHoo Hoo now I know. Now I just need to find where I can buy these transfers, mediums etc in Australia or from the US where I get most of my fabric and threads.
      Thanks Shirley

    • http://www.layersuponlayers.com/ Cyndi L

      Hi Shirley! I’m glad these techniques will help you. You can check http://www.goldenpaints.com for availability of the mediums in Australia. As for the inkjet transfer papers, many companies make them, and I think the last set I bought was from Avery, a pretty widespread office supply company in the US. Hope your projects go very well!

    • http://frazzledsugarplummum.spaces.live.com/ Shirley

      Thanks very much for the links Cyndi. Visiting those links is a treat in itself, very educational. I was able to spend ages going through your blog while supervising some homework…great stuff.

    • http://AptitudesUnlimited.com Lakaya

      There is an excellent video on youtube of how to do this which took some of the intimadation out of it for me, but i have a question…can this be done, and done as well with a laser printed for a color printed transparency? my ink jet printer is down so I am gonna have to use Staples or Office Depot and thats what they have. let me know. thanks.

    • http://www.mazeltovjewelry.com Cyndi

      Lakaya, the simple answer is that I don’t know! The transfer papers are specifically designed for ink jets, and so are the transparencies that I use. Both are Avery products. Your question really has two parts: 1 are there laser printer transparencies and transfer paper available and 2 will they transfer properly. My *guess* is that the transparency method won’t work with laser prints, but I don’t know for sure. It might be worth trying one to see, as long as you don’t have to buy a whole pack of laser transparencies to do it.

    • http://luannkessi.blogspot.com/ LuAnn

      When transferring an image onto fabric using the gel medium on the fabric, does the gel medium leave the fabric feeling stiff? I am a quilter, and want to do threadwork on the fabric transfer to make a journal quilt.
      LuAnn in Oregon

    • http://www.mazeltovjewelry.com Cyndi

      Yes it does. I think that you’ll get slightly less stiffening from the t-shirt transfers, but I’ve done beadwork on both with no real problems. You just may have to use a thimble from time to time and occasionally wipe off your needle :-)

      You can print an image directly onto treated fabric using your inkjet printer. This is probably the least stiffening method, but even it stiffens the fabric somewhat. All methods do.

    • Monique

      I would like to know a company that does image heat transfers in Michigan. Can you help???

    • http://www.jewelryandbeading.com Cyndi L

      Not really…I don’t know of any companies anywhere that specifically do them. Can you check with local graphics shops? Most of them do some form of screening.