Friday, September 7, 2012

Look! Ninjas! T–Shirt

I was intrigued with the recipe in Customize Your Clothes that makes inket ink stick to fabric. I like to put odd things in my printer (tissue paper and starched fabric), so why not more fabric?

This inkjet ink setting recipe is all over the Internet, but I'd always thought the ingredients looked difficult to obtain. Turns out I had everything BUT the fabric softener. I substituted hair conditioner, so we'll see.

2 tbs Alum
2½ tsp Washing Soda
¾ tsp fabric softener
1 c hot water

Soak the fabric for 10 minutes, and then let it dry. You're supposed to use the fabric within several hours of soaking it because alum can be damaging to fabric, but I let it dry overnight. You then iron the fabric onto freezer paper and then run it through the printer on the best setting. Lightly rinse afterward (some ink does come off), let it dry, and use it.

So what did I choose to print?

I made this graphic several years ago for my daughter. She had gone overseas to compete in a tournament and was completely worn out by jet lag the first night. She had a dream about ninjas. We knew she was dreaming about ninjas because she talked in her sleep and said, "Look, ninjas! Ninjas!" like ninjas were the most wonderful site she had ever seen. She loved the story, so we made a t–shirt to commemorate the dream.

We used an iron–on print to make the original t–shirt. Inkjet iron–ons don't have the longest life span in this house. The t–shirt got worn to death, literally. We tried to save it with fabric markers, but even that solution did not last.

So I printed out the Look! Ninjas! lady on the inkjet–set treated smooth cotton fabric. My first two prints turned out great. The printer did not complain until it ate the third and fourth prints. I did not kill the printer. I tested it, and it still works. I may try adhering the fabric to paper using repositionable glue spray next time.

I just trimmed the fabric and ironed it on to a new shirt using some Heat'n'Bond iron–on adhesive. I'm going to run a decorative stitch around the applique to help keep it adhered to the shirt. I told my daughter to wash the shirt as gently as possible. The black lines printed the most solidly. The color is broken in a few areas after rinsing.

We may print another Ninja! lady and stitch it to a messenger bag for her if the shirt dies in the wash. I'll let you know how it survives. People make quilts using this stuff, so it has to be somewhat washable.

While digging for the Ninja! lady in my graphics stash, I came across vintage word art. I printed it on the treated fabric and am going to paint it for a pillow. I need to do some experimenting with paint first.

My daughter is thrilled to have her Ninja! lady back in her t–shirt rotation.

Have you used the commercial or homemade inkjet setting solution? How did your print hold up?


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