Transferring Images Onto Fabric - The Process
Updated: May 28, 2021
Frustration is the best word to sum up the whole experience of transferring digital prints onto fabric!
It was always my intention to display my images on the bed itself and so I began researching ways in which to do this. The best option seemed to be heat transfer paper which essentially transfers a digital image onto fabric when exposed to heat.
Having bought a packet and tested it using an ordinary iron I was really disappointed with the results - It left a shiny residue on the fabric and wasn't bonding well with the fibres at all, the image didn't transfer evenly and the inks made the iron very messy which in turn messed up the surrounding fabric. After a great deal perseverance and experimentation with timings and temperatures and it still didn't work, I began to abandon the idea until Michael put me in contact with Sharon down in the textile department.
Sharon introduced me to the heat press, which gives even heat and pressure to the image and fabric, allowing for a more consistent and positive result. I was pleasantly surprised by how well this method worked and so decided to stick with the idea.
I transferred all the front covers for my book publication using the heat press and remembering to mirror the image before printing, due to the way that the image reverses when transferred, was a stumbling point with a number of prints which had to be discarded and started again.
Heat Press Front Covers
This lengthy and very frustrating process has been a huge learning curve in patience and perseverance so that even the day before hand-in I am still completing the work for degree show installation!
The final result, after all the lack of sleep, exhaustion and tears is four covers for my book and a fully printed duvet cover with daydreams represented on one side and nightmares on the reverse.
Final display piece