DIY: Printing on fabric


Recently, I wanted to make some cute, vintage-style aprons for our granddaughters. They would both be made from the same fabric, but I wanted to be able to tell them apart (you know, who’s is who’s) so I decided to put a “custom design” on the lining of the apron’s bodice.  Here’s a snapshot view of the steps.

Making Aprons

Supplies Needed:

  • Light colored woven fabric (I used white Kona cotton). I recommend you pre-wash it so there is no sizing or starch in the fabric. It will probably print better if you do not use a fabric softener in the rinse or dryer.
  • Spray adhesive (I used Dritz, found at my local JoAnn’s store).
  • 1 sheet of light-weight card stock (I used a recycled promotional ad from the mail).
  • Scanner (only needed if you want to scan part of the fabric to use it in your design).
  • Inkjet printer.
  • Editing software (I used Photoshop, but you could use any software that allows you to add text to images, ie Word). NOTE:  In this tutorial I do not cover the topic of creating your design or how to use your software.

Printing on fabric


  1. Spray your cardstock using the manufacturer’s directions (I did this outside so the over-spray didn’t get on my crafting table or the floor).
  2. Place your fabric on the cardstock…try to align the grain with the paper’s edge so it isn’t stretched. Work out any bubbles or wrinkles in the fabric. Trim off any fabric that extends past the edges of the paper so it doesn’t get jammed in the printer.
  3. Set up your “design” in the software you are using. As you can see below, I imported a scan of the fabric, then added personalized text for each of the girls.
    Maya's Design
  4. Load the cardstock/fabric into the printer.
  5. Print.  You know, sometimes I can get the “cart ahead of the horse” and this was one of those days. I got so excited about my project that I cut the bodice linings before I printed. No worries! It worked out okay … I just had to be careful that the fabric didn’t catch as the printer feed it through. Normally, I print first, then cut. Much less worry!
  6. Heat set the ink with a dry iron and assemble your project.

Enjoy! You can print anything you want on fabric … just imagine all the possibilities! I’m thinking I will make some custom designs for the outside of a bodice next!

Here is one of the finished aprons … isn’t it adorable? Now I just need to get the granddaughters to come for a baking day!

Final apron viewIMG_2471

Happy Crafting!


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