How To Print On Fabric Yourself Professionally

Printing is fun when it comes to printing some attractive design. Suppose it is about printing an excellent design on fabric, the fun and enjoyment increases. If you know how to print on fabric, you will get the chance to modify your t-shirt or other fabric-made things. You also have the opportunity to change fabric to make some gifts for your friends and family.

There are several techniques to print on fabric. The most traditional and popular method is obviously screen printing. Besides, there are many things to print like photos, designed images or patterns, etc., you can print on canvas fabric. So, let’s know some methods and enjoy customizing fabric.

Different Ways To Print On Fabric: All Methods Discussed

Though there are many processes to print on fabric, we will know the primary and most popular platform. It doesn’t seem easy to print on garments, but you will see that you can be an expert after practicing when you learn how to print on fabric.

How to Screen Print on Fabric

Screen printing is the most popular and traditional method to print on fabric. In this method, you have to create the design on a screen and then transfer it to the fabric. To make the design on the screen, you will need a mesh-like platform. It is called “stencil,” the most critical thing for screen printing.

How to Print on Fabric

You have to make a separate stencil for each of the colors. The more paint your design has, the more stencil you will need. The cost of screen printing increases with this stencil use. The more stencil you have to use, the more money and labor you have to invest.

Before starting your work, clean the screen properly. Clean it with a hose providing high pressure. Make sure that all the dust goes out of the screen with the pressure of the air. Check the screen keeping it under the light if there is still any dust or waste. If there is, clean it well again with the air pressure.

When you have more than one color in your design, you have to register the design on the screen. You have to put the registration mark to define the color and line up colors that separate them correctly. Now, let’s follow the steps below to do the screen print process.

Step-1: Creating Design

At first, select or create a design and put the ink of different colors of designs on separate stencils.

Step-2: Preparation of Screen

Before placing the design on the screen, make a coating of the photographic emulsion over it. You have to do it in the darkroom. After placing the photographic fil, let it dry properly and check if any area can pass light. Then you have to coat the photographic film again to cover those areas.

Step-3: Placing Design on Screen

This is the time to place the design from the stencils to the screen part by part. Correctly lining up the registration marks while putting the design. Place the design on the backside of the screen. Keep the screen under the sunlight for 2 to 3 hours at least. The design will set meanwhile. Now wash the screen, and the space, where there is no ink, will be cleaned, and the design will bloom nicely.

Now your design screen is ready to print.

Step-4: Printing

Find a flat and clean surface. Lay your fabric on the surface straight and ensure no wrinkle or stretching of the material. Lay the screen over the fabric. Use pigment ink or dye-based ink along the screen’s bottom part. Pass the ink from one side to another side using a squeegee. After completely passing the ink to the fabric, lift the screen and see how the design is placed on the material.

Dry the fabric under the light. Your fabric is ready to sew.

How to Print Photos on Fabric

Customizing your t-shirt with a photo is fantastic and fun. You will like your work when you see the result after printing the image. All you need is the photo transfer fabric paper for printer and an inkjet printer for fabric. Then you are all set to place your favorite picture on your t-shirt or other material.

transfer printing on fabric

Let’s follow the steps and get your photo on fabric.

Step-1: Get the right Transfer Paper

To design the fabric by printing photos, you have to choose the correct transfer paper. There are both types of transfer paper for different printer types- the inkjet transfer paper and the Laserjet transfer paper. Do not use the wrong transfer paper as the inkjet transfer paper will melt down when operating on the laser printer.

The transfer papers are also different for the different colors of the fabric. The light-colored cloth needs light-transparent transfer paper, and the dark color fabric needs white background transfer paper. So, select and collect the right transfer paper depending on your printer type and fabric color. Inkjet printers are better for transferring photos on fabric.

Step-2: Printing

At first, select or create an excellent design or make some edits in the editing software to set the alignment, margin, or effects. If your design has any text, you have to put it in “mirror format” so that the design correctly presents the text on the fabric after printing.

Now set the printer for fabric printing settings. You will find this setting option on the “print properties” option under the “Print” section from the “Control panel” of your computer. Before beginning printing on transfer paper, run some printing tests on plain empty paper. Check how and on what side of the form the design has been printed. Then load the transfer paper correctly and command for printing.

Step-3: Iron on Fabric

Find a flat surface and place the fabric correctly on the surface, keeping the front side upward. Then place the transfer paper on the fabric keeping the design down to the material. Now keep a transfer tissue paper or thin cotton cloth on the transfer paper. Iron over it slowly and make sure that the heat is distributed evenly over the fabric. After completely ironing, remove the iron and let it cool for one or two hours. At last, peel off the backing of the transfer paper slowly from one corner. Let the fabric some time to set it.

Now your photo-printed fabric is ready to sew.

How to Print Designs on Fabric

To print the design on fabric, at first, you will need artwork. If you are a professional, you know how to make a design. If you are a beginner, you can make your own with some simple steps. Then you will need a sublimation printer for fabric to heat press the design through the transfer paper. Follow the steps below.

printing designs on t shirt

Step-1: Scanning the Design

Create your design on paper. Now scan the design with a scanner. You have to scan your design at 300 dots per inch resolution and RGB color. The recommended resolution for design printing is at least 150 dpi.

Step-2: Editing

Next, you have to open the design on better image editing software like Adobe Photoshop. Make all the changes you need to turn the design colorful, perfect and beautiful. Check the color effects, contrast, lining, margin, alignment, angles, etc., all design features. After making the necessary correction and modifications, you have to crop it to turn it into a rectangular shape. Now it is ready to print on fabric.

Step-3: Printing

You have to print your design on the transfer paper through a digital printer for fabric. The transfer paper should be correctly selected depending on the fabric color and printer type. Before printing, you should run some printing tests so that the design is placed on the right side of the transfer paper. After printing, your transfer paper is ready to set on the fabric.

Step-4: Sublimation

Sublimation is a heat press technique. You have to set the fabric on the sublimation plate, keeping the front side upward. Then place the transfer paper keeping the design down to the material. Set the temperature, pressure, and timer correctly. Now you have to press your printer and heat it. After 2 to 3 minutes, remove the heat and keep it for a while to cool it down. Now, remove the backing of the transfer paper gently.

Now your fabric is designed nicely.

How to Print on Canvas Fabric

Canvas fabric is a thick and unique type of fabric that is more durable than another fabric type. So, the printer has to have the capability to pass thick material and print on that. To print on canvas fabric, you have to determine the right canvas type and pick the right fabric side that is perfect to print.

printing designs on canvas fabric

How to Determine Canvas Type

If you want to print commercial quality artwork, the 17M gloss satin canvas fabric will be the better choice. It consists of 65% polyester and 35% cotton. This fabric is easily stretchable and also easy to print professional-quality design. But you will need a particular type of printer to print on this type of canvas as it is 350 GSM.

If you want to print historical arts, the 600MT matte canvas will be the right choice. It has 50% cotton blends. You will need the model printer to print this 300 GSM canvas paper.

If you have to print a monochrome design, the Silverado metallic canvas fabric is perfect that presents a fantastic finish. It is 380 GSM, and so you will need a printer that can feed this measurement.

How to Find Which Side of the Canvas to Print

At present, to determine the side for printing, most of the brands give a watermark on which side you should not print. If there is no mark, you can check the shine. The shiny side is suitable to print. If both the side is alike, you can check by your touch. If it is rough, it is not the correct side to print. Get the smooth side.

Now you have to print through the sublimation printing process that is mentioned above. Printing on a transfer paper, use the printer to heat press the design on fabric. You must purchase the right printer that supports canvas fabric printing.

How to Print on Fabric at Home

There are several processes to print on fabric at home. The easiest and most straightforward method is printing using a freezer paper. Though it is perfect for printing on thin fabric, you can customize your t-shirt, bedsheet, table cloth, etc. Follow the steps below and get your customized fabric.

Step-1: Setting of Freezer paper

At first, find a flat surface and lay down the freezer paper keeping the adhesive coated with backing downward. Place the fabric over the freezer paper so that the plastic-coated side of the freezer paper should touch the fabric. Now iron on the fabric until the plastic coat gets stuck with the fabric.

Step-2: Cutting

Cut the freezer paper stick fabric using a mat and rotary cutter. Make the fabric size like A4 paper size.

Step-3: Printing

Before printing, run some tests on plain paper so that you can find out what side the design is placed on. Load the fabric to the inkjet printer. Make sure the printer prints on the fabric side. Before commanding for printing, you should make all the settings for high-resolution and high-quality image printing.

Step-4: Peel the freezer paper

After printing, peel the freezer paper from the backside of the fabric. Do it very carefully from a corner. Let it sit for a while.

Now your printed fabric is ready.

Also Read: What is the Difference Between Ink and Paint


Fabric customizing opens many options to place designs on different clothing and garments. You can customize your t-shirt, cotton bedsheets, polyester fabric, etc. It is an enjoyable job and also you will get a chance to do a small business.

If you know how to print on fabric at home or professionally, you can have many areas to increase your talents and enhance your skills. Be professional by practicing the technique and have fun.


Alice covers platforms, policy and big tech at Printer Reviews. Prior to rejoining here, Alice was Senior Technology Editor of the TechDen. Alice first joined PrinterReviews in 2021. Before joining, he was the Tech Editor of the Daily Dot and a reporter and deputy editor at ReadWeb.

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