How to Print on Fabric with an Inkjet Printer at Home

How to print of fabric video tutorial

How to print on fabric at home with an inkjet printer video tutorial

Here is a video tutorial for how to print on fabric using an inkjet printer and freezer paper all in the comfort of your own home. I’ve almost perfected my process for this and am very excited to share it with you all today. Below you will find my step by step video instructions for how to print onto fabric which also has an extra tip for helping that fabric retain more of the ink after it has been washed in the washing machine.

Did you know there’s 2 different types of ink for inkjet printers?? No? Neither did I when I first started experimenting. One type of ink is more colourfast, where the other washes out mostly on the first wash. Read on if you’d like to know more about it.

What You Will Need to Print on Fabric at Home

  • 100% cotton fabric
  • Freezer Paper
  • Inkjet Printer (I am using an Epson XP-410) Update 30th Sept. 2017 – I have upgraded my inkjet printer to an Epson XP 440
  • Pigment Basked Ink for your Inkjet Printer (I use the Epson Durabrite ink but be sure to get the right ink for your printer) See note about pigment based inks down a bit further
  • Sharp cutting tools (scissors or rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat)
  • Iron
  • Ironing board or wool pressing mat
  • Sticky lint roller (optional, but highly recommended)
  • A piece of your printer paper

What you will need to print on fabric inkjet printer logo

A Note About Pigment Based Ink vs Dye Based Ink

Oh the things I didn’t know about printing on fabric before starting this little adventure! Printer inks for your inkjet printer can come in two different kinds. You have dye based inks and you have pigment based inks. when it comes to printing on fabric I have learned that having a printer with Pigment based inks it far easier and more durable than a printer with dye based inks.

Pigment based inks tend to be more permanent. They are naturally more fade resistant and the fabric holds the ink better if you plan to wash your fabric in the washing machine. This post here by Gloria Hansen, has some great comparison photos of pigment vs dye based inks. Dye based inks are not water and fade resistant and will lose their colour quickly if and when you wash it. If you do have a printer with dye based ink then you can always pretreat your fabric with Bubble Jet Set first and then print. To get this product in Australia was going to be expensive for me, RRP of $35 and that’s not including postage costs,  so it was a much better solution to just buy a new printer (It’s even cheaper to buy the Epson Xp-440 if you live in the US). If you’re not sure if your printer has pigment based or dye based inks then check out this website for a great list of inkjet printers and the kinds of ink they take.

Want to make some fabric labels? Check out this video tutorial for an easy and cost effective way to make your own fabric labels

How to make fabric labels featured image

Watch the Video Tutorial for How to Print on Fabric

or watch it here on YouTube

How to Print on Fabric at Home – The Step by Step Instructions!

01 cut freezer paper and fabric

Step 1 – Start by cutting a piece of fabric slightly larger than your computer paper. Ensure you use sharp cutting tools to do this.

Repeat this step with the freezer paper.

02 iron fabric to freezer paper

Step 2 – You will notice that the Freezer paper has a dull side and a shiny side. place the shiny side of the freezer paper down onto the fabric and iron the two pieces together. The fabric should now stick to the freezer paper.

03 trace paper template

Step 3 – Trace around the printer paper onto the freezer paper side using a pen or pencil.

04 cut out on line

Step 4 – Using your SHARP cutting tools, cut out around the traced line. Sharp cutting tools will reduce fraying on the edges of the fabric. The more fraying the more chance of the ink smearing as it is going through your inkjet printer. You don’t want that!

5 press fabric to freezer paper

Step 5 – With the fabric side facing up, press the edges and corners of the fabric to ensure the freezer paper is adhering to the fabric well. Be sure to only press. Try not to move the iron from side to side while it is on your fabric, as this may cause fraying around the edges.

6 remove lint from fabric

Step 6 – Carefully roll the lint roller over the fabric side to remove any pieces of fluff, thread or lint. avoid the edges as they will fray if you go over them too many times. Defluffing will reduce the amount of smearing while the printer is printing.

7 place stabilised fabric into printer

Step 7 – Place prepared fabric into the printer. You may need to do a test first to see which way to put the fabric paper in. On my printer, the fabric side faces towards me. Prepare your images or text on your computer. (I’m using the Word program on my Mac)

8 choose best printer settings

Step 8 – If possible, change your printer settings to ‘Photo’ for media Type. The printer will be gentler and slower on this setting. I also have the option to change the quality of the printing to ‘Best’. This will all help you to get the best printing possible on the fabric.

9 print onto fabric

Step 9 – Leave your printed fabric to dry for at least a couple of hours or overnight. Remove the freezer paper from the back gently. You are now ready to add your printed fabric to your sewing project or you can treat it with Retayne to help the fabric hold more of the ink if you will be washing it.

In my video I showed you the difference treating with Retayne (or some other colour fixative) can make to the colourfastness of the ink on the fabric. Check that out if you’re interested in seeing the results!

So I’ve come a long way in this journey to print on fabric. From my epic fail to my victory made the adventure well worth it and i’m glad that I persisted with it. If I can help just one other person learn how to print on fabric successfully, then my job here is done. I would love to know it this video tutorial hashelped you in any way. Leave a comment down below here on the blog or even on YouTube. I’ll find it!

Happy printing on fabric! Yay!


This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you choose to click through one of my links and make a purchase. There is no extra cost to you and I thank you greatly 🙂

How to Print on Fabric Pinterest


Posted on

6 February, 2015


  1. Linda R.

    My new Epson printer has been a REVELATION. Finding this information about using my printer with fabric is FABULOUS!

    Thank you so much!

    • Domenica Tootell

      That’s great! I’d love to see your projects when you’re done. Thanks for stopping by
      Domenica ?

  2. Laura

    I was thrilled to find your tutorial as I want to be able to personalize some of my quilts. However, when I tried doing this, the fabric kept jamming. Can you shed any light on this issue? Thank you!

    • Domenica Tootell

      Hi Laura. Have you tried putting the printer settings onto a setting that will print slower like a photo setting? The printer tends to feed the material through slower and prints a lot better when it’s on a better quality setting.
      Domenica ?

  3. Leanne

    Wow! I’m so excited about how my project turned out! Thank you for the step by step, holding my hand along the way, tutorial! ?

    • Domenica Tootell

      Oh that’s fantastic! Glad I could help ?

  4. gulce

    thats fantastic :)) thank you very much

    • Domenica Tootell

      You’re welcome!

  5. Linda H

    Love love love the easy, detailed instructions! Thanks for the guide on pigment vs dye ink. Can’t wait to do this with pics of my Dad for my family. Blessings

    • Domenica Tootell

      Fantastic! All the best ?

  6. Linda L

    Thank you very much for this tutorial. I’ve been wanting to learn how to personalize my crafting/sewing projects. This is the simplest practical way to do it. I will do this as soon as I can.

    • Domenica Tootell

      You’re welcome! Glad I could help ?

  7. madeline newton

    yes i want to find out how to use my printer to print on fabric…wow this is so cool …can’t wait to try this …thank you for this …


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