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DIY: Personalized Fabrics
Make your own textiles, wallpaper, gift wrap and more—digital printing is all the rage!

Who knew that creating personalized fabrics could be so easy? Anything that can be printed on paper can be printed on fabric, and the possibilities are endless. Put your favorite photo or drawing—of your dog, naturally—on a pillow or quilt, or make a nifty gift wrap. For a festive room decoration, sew or hang small cloth squares on a wide ribbon, à la Mexican papel picado. You can even print on silk—how sweet it is to have a scarf with your pup’s picture on it.

A big fan of “made in America” Pointer-brand denim jackets, I decided to do the ’60s thing and embellish one with a portrait of Lola, my own special Pointer. For the younger set, a photo of sleeping puppies printed and stitched onto a onesie makes an adorable gift. This charming craft started more than 20 years ago, and has been refined and popularized over time. The basic tools are a computer, inkjet printer and fabric. Printers that use the more colorfast, water-resistant, pigmentbased inks are preferred over those using dye (or standard) inks. Major brands such as Epson, HP and Canon have affordable models. For fabric, start off with paper-backed, pretreated and printer-ready cotton sheets. A number of companies, including Jacquard, EQ Printables and Avery, make standard paper-sized sheets as well as fabric rolls. Follow the instructions on the package for preparation and printer settings. More crafty DIYers can apply their own fabric to a backing (called a “carrier”), then treat it so it runs through a printer without jamming.

Go to YouTube for good “how-to” videos detailing all the steps, or find more information at Instructionals.com. Those interested in taking the craft up a notch may want to check out Inkjet Printing on Fabric by fabric designer Heidi Rand, an e-book full of invaluable tips and examples of inspirational creations. There are also many on-demand services that assist you in designing customized textiles. See websites Spoonflower.com, FabriconDemand.com and TheFabricStudio.com for more information.

Try your hand at fabric printing and send us your ideas and examples of your projects—we’d love to see your fabric pooch.

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This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 76: Winter 2013
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