I’ve always wanted to have a go at transferring an image onto fabric. It used to mean messing around with screens, squeegees and ink, or else a fairly expensive trip to the local photo processing shop where a limited selection of products was available, perhaps just a T-shirt. But nowadays you can do it yourself up to A4 size at least, thanks to inexpensive photo transfer paper. You just need access to a colour printer, and perhaps some photo editing software such as GIMP (which is excellent and free).
I saw a pack of inkjet-suitable photo transfer paper marked down in a local shop the other day, and I couldn’t resist. But what to do with it? Then I remembered that a bibliophile friend’s birthday was coming up. I know that she always carries a foldable shopping bag with her, in case she sees a second-hand book she wants to buy – or anything else, for that matter. And she once told me that one of her favourite quotations is Groucho Marx’s
Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.
How about I make her a bag with that on it? She has a lolloping great Dalmation, so perhaps it ought to have one of those on it too, since Groucho mentions dogs. But not a photo, something simpler would be wise for my first attempt at image transfer.
I set about searching for suitable doggy images online, editing them and adding text. Then I reversed the designs for the front and back of the bag before tackling the scary bit: printing with my rather elderly printer and ironing the images onto each side of a cotton book bag. I did practise on a piece of cotton fabric first, to get a feel for the ironing process.
This is the end result. Please excuse the crumpled appearance. Since transferring the images I have somehow misplaced the iron.
I found it difficult to know how long to keep the hot iron on the transfer paper and I may have slightly scorched the cotton, but I’m pretty pleased with the result. I think my friend will be happy with her totally unique book-hunting bag too. Frankly, if I can do it then anyone can, so I’d urge you to have a go. Just make sure you buy the right type of paper, according to whether you’ll be using an inkjet or laser printer.
Now, what should I do with the other sheets in the pack of paper?