The results are in after the first wash and I am happily surprised! If you didn’t see my first post explaining how I was testing for the best way to make fabric labels at home then check it out here.
Below is a photo I took of the label samples before washing (on the left) and a photo of the label sample after the first wash (on the right). The labels in the left column were all printed with my Brother dye based inkjet Printer and the labels in the right column were printed with my Epson pigment based inkjet printer.
The Brother dye based ink almost completely washed out after just one wash. I kinda already knew this would happen from my previous testing when I was working out the best way to print on fabric in general, but wanted you to see the results for yourself. So no surprises with this one for me. it would be fine to use a dye based inkjet printer to make labels that aren’t going to be washed, but if they are, you’d want to look for a different option (or keep reading because I think I’ve found a good solution or two!).
The Epson pigment based ink held up a lot better. There was some colour loss, but you can still read the label. It would be interesting to see how this label goes with a few more washes.
Now this next one surprised me. This one was the Brother dye based ink, printed directly onto fabric. The one difference here is I treated the fabric with a dye fixative called Retayne. This made a huge difference. The label sample that was printed with my Bother printer and not treated with Retayne pretty much completely washed out. Look at how much of the printing was retained from treated the fabric label after it was printed! Definitely helped.
This next label sample was of the Epson Pigment based ink printed directly onto fabric and then treated with Retayne. There was some ink loss, but overall this label held up better compared to the same label that wasn’t treated with Retayne.
I was happily surprised with these results. With this next one I used the Brother dye based inkjet printer to print onto iron-on transfer paper first then I ironed the transfer onto the fabric using the instructions for that particular type of transfer paper (I used the gloss kind). The only thing that bothers me about this is you can see the clear transfer layer on the fabric and it looks slightly off white. Not a huge issue. Overall, the ink was retained, making it a good option for a label. It will be interesting to see how well this method stands up to multiple washes.
The iron-on transfer paper labels made with the Epson printer held up pretty well too. I think the label must have moved while I was ironing it right at the beginning as some of the logo and dashed line around the outside is wonky. The yellowing around the ink stands out for me as well. I’m not sure if this is caused from the different type of ink used or because I over ironed it. I’ll have to test this further.
This next label sample was printed onto iron-on transfer tape then iron onto cotton/twill tape. i wanted to test this method as I thought cotton tape would be great for making labels because the edges won’t fray. It’s harder to see the iron-on transfer on this cotton tape and I like that. It also washed up pretty well. This is looking like a great option to me.
The Epson pigment based inkjet iron-on labels performed very well too. Not much change after the first wash.
The following label was backed with interfacing to test if that would help stop the label from fraying so much. It definitely helped with reducing fraying, but I like the ease of using the cotton tape when it comes to a label that doesn’t fray. The Epson label is pretty much the same as this so I won’t include that one.
My Conclusion for How to Make the Best Labels at Home??
So to me it looks like the best option for making fabric labels at home, that are also washable, would be the iron on transfer method on the cotton tape.
I’m going to put these labels through a few more wash cycles and see how they hold up. Once that’s done I’ll get going with making a tutorial for you all.
Do you have any thoughts to add? Leave a comment on my Facebook post (which you should be able to see below) or keep scrolling to comment on the website ?. It’s like a ghost town here so it’d be great to hear from you!
See you soon with a full video tutorial!