How to Print on Fabric

How to Print on Fabric

With a website full of great images like The Graphics Fairy, there’s a world of possibilities on how to use them. However, there are really only a few basic techniques that you can use to get them onto your project – and almost all of them require a printer. How you use that printer can be varied in so many ways – and my personal favorite is printing on fabric. I often share projects here on how to use the prints, so I thought it was time to share my step by step method of printing directly onto fabric. (You can find the Vintage Bicycle Graphic HERE.)
There’s a billion and one tutorials out there – but I’ve been doing it this way for years. It gets great results every time, it’s quick & easy, and I always have what I need on hand. Win/win, eh?

DIY Fabric Printing
You’ll need:
Print on Fabric at Home
First take your paper and cover your work surface. It’s best to do it outside, because the spray gets everywhere. Once you’re covered, place the sheet of cardstock down and lightly spray over the whole piece.
graphics fairy print on fabric4
Next gently pick up the card stock, place it adhesive side down onto a pre-ironed piece of fabric, and smooth it all down with your hands so it’s wrinkle free. It works best to start from the center and work your way to the edges.
print on fabric tutorial5
Then trim around the cardstock with your fabric scissors. Now your fabric is ready to print on!
how to print on fabric graphics fairy tutorial6
Select your image and use the fabric facing the print direction of your computer. {Mine is face down.} After it prints, give it about 10 minutes or so for the ink to dry.

Print your own fabric7

Then peel the paper off of the cardstock and you’re ready to craft up a storm! If you want the ink to be more permanent, then soak it in a vinegar bath for 5 mins then let it air dry – it sets the ink.
Now you can make pillows…. or flower pins…. or whatever you can dream up!
See ya next week for another Graphics Fairy DIY project! In the mean time, I’d love for you to visit me on my blog at The Shabby Creek Cottage.

*This post contains affiliate links* 


  1. gracias por las explicaciones , son muy utiles



  2. Oh that’s wonderful. I saw one of your tutorials recently and printed some script onto fabric for making a flower to put onto the silverware sleeve/holder that either you or Karen posted. It looks divine. I am having trouble getting hold of any jute webbing here in the UK. They are all 2″ wide and I guess yours was perhaps an inch wider. Any suggestions would be helpful.

  3. This is great! Can’t wait to try it!!! Thanks!

  4. Great tute thanks

  5. Hello inspiration,

    I would like to thank you for your tip!!
    I have tried (with succes) to print on fabric but the problem is that it is not washeble if I do wash it the black (printer)inkt came out green:(( the you have a tip to make is stay black?

    Hope to here from you

    warm greetings,

  6. Hmmm I wonder if you could print wedding invitations onto vintage hankies yourself with this method? It would save about $500 to DIY!

  7. I just heard of the vinegar tip last week and I’m so happy you mentioned that again as I surely won’t forget. I have a great project in mind for this tutorial. THANK YOU!!!

  8. Is this ink jet printers only? Has anyone does this with a laser printer? I only have a laser printer.

  9. I did not add those links in my comment! I don’t know why it did that!

    • That’s okay! It’s some code that I have on my blog, I’ve never seen it do that to comments before though. Funny! Sorry I can’t answer your question, I only have an inkjet.

  10. That’s great. I will have to try the vinegar bath, I hadn’t heard of that before. I’ve been using the freezer paper method for ironing on your fabric and printing. Thanks for this tutorial.

  11. I have been ironing fabric to freezer paper, then printing it out. This seems like a much sturdier method, and I didn’t know about the vinegar bath. Also, with the old method, I had to clip the corners so it didn’t jam in the printer. Thanks for your tips!

  12. Oh, I didn’t know about the vinegar as a mordant, either. I’ll have to try that! Thank you!

  13. This looks so easy. I’ve been using the citra solv method, but I have to buy it online from the USA and its costing a fortune to ship to South Africa. I am so happy for this cheaper method. Thanks a mil!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Will this work on an inkjet printer? Which did you use in this project. Thanks, Susan

  15. I’m also really excited to give this a try as I haven’t had great success with the other methods I’ve tried. I have two questions that I’m hoping anyone might jump in on. 1. Karen has said inkjet is what she uses, has anyone been successful with this method using a laser printer? and 2. Gina, should I pre-wash and iron the muslin before I start this project? Karen and Gina, thanks so very much for sharing your expertise. I have been quietly absorbing your tips and tutorials in the background all summer and I’ve learned so much from you both! I wanted to make sure that I let you know. I am a total newbie at this stuff, but I sure love it! THANK YOU!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Gina, thanks for sharing this wonderful process!!! Would you be able to share with me where you got the bicycles image that you chose for your fabric…

    Many thanks, in advance,

    Lorraine from Brampton, Ontario, Canada

  17. Anonymous says:

    What type of printer was used?? Laser of inkjet?? Is it possible to use a Laser printer for this project??…..
    I tried the citra solv and was not happy with the results.

  18. Anonymous says:

    i did mine with a ink jet printer and it turned out great , just wondering if u use white vinegar : )

  19. Thanks for the tutorial! I would like to know what printer setting was used for fabric? Can we just leave the paper setting or do we use cardstock setting since that’s what is adhered to the fabric to give it some weight?

  20. My question is, does the back of the fabric retain the sticky spray after you peel it off of the paper?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Thank you! That´s a good idea!

  22. You said I’d need a laser printer. Will any of these work?

  23. Bonjour, merci pour ce tuto très simple, quelle bonne idée. Dommange que je comprends pas tout, parfois.

  24. Absolutely made my day finding your tutorial on fabric printing! Thank you so much for sharing.I’ve blogged a couple of things made from your tutorial with credit to you and a link to your site.

    A quick question though – the vinegar bath – do you use neat white vinegar or is it diluted at all?

    Thanks again – am delighted with this brilliant technique!

  25. Kathy Blackmore says:

    Thanks for this post – many people don’t actually realise that printers are not exclusively for paper and choosing thinner textiles – like muslin and cotton you can easily print onto fabric too, without ruining your printer.

    Kathy@Cartridge Shop

  26. Anonymous says:

    Would you mind elaborating on the vinegar bath step, ie: how much water to vinegar, white or other…..
    Love the tutorial & will be trying it out once I know the above.
    Thanks for sharing.

  27. Yahoo finally a simple way to print on fabric !! happy me. Thank you so much for sharing.

  28. Anonymous says:


  29. so once you set it in the vinegar bath, its permanent and you can wash it? if not then is there any way to make it permanent?

  30. Yes, I (and my human too) are curious if the vinegar makes it permanent? These directions are so easy, my human says she’s gonna try!


  31. i want to print a picture onto something so then i can put that picture onto a strip of ribbon. what would be the best way to do that, and what fabric should i use?

  32. Thank you so much for this much needed advice. Was looking into a less-time consuming process for painting doll faces on fabric. Will test this soon. Also with regard to vinegar bath, would this be just vinegar or is there a percentage mixture with water. Thanks again.

  33. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I tried it, and it worked perfectly :)

  34. Thank you thank you thank you! gotta go try this NOW!

  35. Has anyone tried washing the fabric afterwards?
    Is it washable or will the project be ruined?


  36. What a delightful breakdown of how to print fabric!

  37. Holy cow! This REALLY works great! Of all the tutorials I read today, yours is the best AND cheapest! I was worried my Epson printer would refuse to play nice, but it went off without a hitch! THANK YOU!! Now to work on this year’s Christmas gifts….. :)

  38. Some printers use pigment ink: some HPs and some Canons. Those printer inks do not wash out once they are set. Ask you printer manufacturer what kind of ink your printer uses. Luckily for me, my Canon uses pigment ink. I did ask. And they cost more.

  39. I savour, end in I discovered what exactly I used to be looking for. You might have was over my own 5 working day extensive hunt! Goodness Bless you gentleman. Employ a fantastic day. Bye

  40. When you say vinegar bath.. How much is the ratio of water to vinegar. Is that white vinegar?

  41. Fleur Wayman says:

    Fabulous – printed a background, and then inserted text, then printed on to paper to check design, then onto fabric using your technique, thank you so much. It was used to make a fabric postcard.

  42. lisa northey says:

    i was beyond the moon planning on what i might do with this method ! —spent lots of time making things and then gave them a vinegar bath—–waaaaaa-most of the ink dissolved away…..wish there had been vinegar to water proportions added.

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