We did this workshop about heat transfer printing onto fabric a couple of weeks ago. This is a process that I previously knew nothing about really.
We started by making our images onto cheap newsprint type paper using disperse dyes. Once the dyes had dried, we literally just layered up the paper next to the fabric on a heat press, sandwiched the whole thing together at a really high temperature for a couple of minutes and hey presto, the ink was transferred permanently into the fabric!
It was completely bonkers and I have never seen anything like that before. Such a simple process and so quick to get results!
Here are some pics of my results. Firstly the paper with the dye on before doing the transfer – I made the pattern by applying the dye to the paper using a paintbrush and using masking tape with different layers of washes:
and here’s the fabric after it had been with it in the press:
It was a really fun process to work with and it is cool because you could totally just do it at home by yourself with an iron – you don’t really need any special equipment or anything.
Drawbacks would be that the colours are completely unpredictable (I was playing it safe with sticking to a bluey-grey!) and that the process only works when you use it on 100% synthetic fibres like nylons and polyesters. The fabric samples we had to test on were pretty rank and I don’t really know enough about fabrics to know what a nice polyester would look like. I couldn’t think of any applications for this method that I thought I would actually like – but I am pretty sure that I would feel differently if I knew a bit more about fabric…