Printing Quilt Labels (part one)

I am finishing the binding on a quilt and need to get some labels made. I like to print the labels and sew them on the quilt’s back before washing. Sometimes I am just too anxious to get the quilt done, but labels always, eventually, get sewn on. As you will see, I am several labels behind!

The treated fabric I have, stored in a baggy, is pretty old, so I started from scratch this morning. You can print fabric on your printer and it will print but will not be washable; it’s more like a smear or a stain. To make the image permanent, you need Bubble Jet Set and I buy mine from Pro Chem. I bought a baking sheet with sides some years ago and it’s perfect for the small amount I do. I put the fabric pieces (I did 4 today) in the pan and then, after shaking the solution, poured it over the pieces. Using rubber gloves (I am not clear on how toxic this stuff may be) I make sure all the layers are wet. It sits for 5 minutes and then is ready to dry. I spread a towel on the table on the patio and laid the fabrics, smoothing them down, on the towel to dry. They need to air dry. (This process is not unlike pre-treating fabrics for direct dye applications.)

While the fabric is drying, you can work on the labels. When designing labels to print on fabric, I have found that it’s best to use a clear typeface and a large-ish font size. I have lots of fun fonts that I download from scrapbook sites, but if there is too much detail the print comes out blurry. Remember, fabric is much more absorbent than paper is. Try writing with a permanent pen on fabric and see how it bleeds….

I haven’t done a lot of printing photos, but I did do this one for the back of a quilt I made for my cousin. It’s called “Dreaming of Summer” and here we are happily paddling about in my grandparents’ pool (I’m on the right). The image is fairly simple and the colors strong, so it did come out well on the fabric. (Pretty good quality for such an old slide !!!) Again, I think too much detail can make the image unclear.

The fabric is drying and it’s a humid day… so tune in soon to read about completing the labels. It’s always a two-day process for me.

3 thoughts on “Printing Quilt Labels (part one)

  1. Debbie,
    I will have to send a link to my mother in law to your blog. She too loves to quilt. She would love to try this printing technique with the Bubble Jet Set. Thanks for staying in touch and checking in on my blog. Hot days like we’re having here make me think of summer in Wycombe and longing for a pool in our backyard.


  2. I wish I had read your post before the struggle I went through last year for the quilts I entered in QuiltFest. It was (sadly) the first labels I had done. I ended up just doing them by hand with a Pigma pen.


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