Photocopying onto Fabric

My thanks to Brenda Groelz for permission to reprint these instructions here.

I've been photocopying directly onto fabric for about five years now. I have my own photocopier at home, so it is easier for me to experiment.

The first technique I used was to iron freezer paper onto the back of my fabric, cut it to 8 1/2" X 11" and run it through the photocopier, using the manual feed tray. This works fairly well, but sometimes it "bubbles" and the image isn't perfect.

One day, while photocopying 40 identical images onto bleached muslin, I ran out of prepared fabric and was too lazy to walk back to the studio to iron more freezer paper. So, I simply cut a piece of muslin to the proper size, laid it on top of a sheet of copy paper, and fed it into the photocopier, with the copy paper leading the fabric by about 1/4".

The image was better than the ones on the freezer papered ones! However, using this technique, occasionally a corner of the fabric turned back on itself and ruined the image.

So, now, I use a good quality Scotch tape and tape the leading edge of the fabric at both corners and in the center, to the paper. This prevents the turn back of the fabric.

The danger of the tape is that it might melt in the machine (you don't want that to happen!) So, possibly the best tape to use for this purpose is the one sold in craft stores for holding applique pieces to backgrounds. I think it might be called "Hot Tape" or something like that. In any case, it's blue! It comes both on rolls and in sheets of tabs. This tape is formulated to withstand the heat of an iron, so it can easily handle the heat of the photocopier.

Once my images are copied, I allow them to sit for a day or two. Then I iron them by putting a pressing paper over the image, and ironing at cotton setting.

It is very important that you not have any stray threads hanging off the fabric when photocopying, or they will wind themselves around the rollers in the copier. (Ask me how I know this. )

Brenda Groelz
Quilter and Corn Farmer
Phillips, Nebraska USA

Questions or comments about this process should be addressed to Brenda Groelz, but I have lost track of her...

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