Printing on fabric

When I began printing on fabric a few years ago, the main product available was Bubble Jet Set 2000. You had to soak fabric (only cotton or silk) in the BJS, air-dry it thoroughly, iron it to freezer paper, and then you could print on it. You also had to apply an after treatment. I didn’t have much luck with BJS. I printed some silk scarves and some cotton squares, but had trouble with blurry patches and inconsistent results.

Luckily, other products quickly began appearing that worked better for me. Although the pre-treated fabric costs quite a bit more than treating my own fabric with BJS, the results were more consistent and saved me a lot of time and work (ironing, yuck!). The main benefit of BJS is that you can cut your fabric to the size you want, constrained by your printer’s specs, of course, and the size of the freezer paper or other backing. You can buy pre-treated fabric at sizes larger than letter size, but it gets very expensive.

For pre-treated fabric, I started out with rolls of silk and cotton made by Blumenthal, which the JoAnn’s store near me carried at the time. Every time I got a 40% coupon, I’d buy a roll, which made the price of the roll reasonable. I used a lot of the silk rolls for scarves, and used the cotton for purses. At the time I was printing the fabric on my Epson 1280, but soon realized that I needed to change to the 2400 for the pigment ink. The 1280, a wonderful printer, uses dye inks, which fade over time and wash right out of fabric if you don’t treat it. Eventually my local JoAnn’s stopped carrrying the Blumenthal rolls. Maybe they track whether people ONLY buy certain high-priced items using coupons, and if so, stop stocking those items. In addition, I was getting less-saturated prints on the Blumenthal fabric with my 2400.

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