Mixed Media: Inkjet Printing on Silk

I recently committed to writing new posts for this wonderful Melange Team Etsy blog. I love Melange and I want it to thrive and grow, and prosper would be nice too! It is a wonderfully supportive group of artists and I am proud to be a member. While I ponder about what to write in future blogs, I am posting this tutorial of mine from one of my previous blogs. My blog is at http://MaureenTillman.blogspot.com  and is called Sanctuaries, Dreams and Shadows. I am sure I will be pulling articles from there from time to time, but this isn't my personal space here and I will be looking for ideas involving or relating to this team as well as member tutorials. I may even be asking some of you to do as I did here and walk the reader through your process. I want to know what inspires you too, where you find your muse. So since my life is my art and my art is my life - here I am.

I love this new piece and the new media available now with the use of one's inkjet printer. This is a vintage photo printed on silk with my inkjet printer. You run it through the printer just like regular paper. It is available with other fabrics like cotton which I have also used, but I prefer the feel and the luxury of the silk. I want to share this technique with everyone because it is actually quite simple and one does not have to be an artist to create this work.

I started with an 8"x 8" canvas but really a simple piece of wooden board would also work. I prefer something with relatively deep sides. Find a piece of interesting fabric, I loved the French script this fabric featured plus the beautiful natural palette. You may want some special embellishments as I chose these paper flowers, but you could use anything you wish - maybe a piece of vintage jewelry. Most of my embellishments can be found wherever scrap-booking supplies are sold. I chose a vintage photo but it could also be a contemporary one - anything you wish to use. I added some crushed velvet ribbon to wrap around the sides to complete the look, but that is not  necessary - it is all up to you. You are the creator!

Most importantly you will need the fabric you
wish to print on. In this case I used fabric from InkJetPrinting by Jacquard in  silk, they also offer it in cotton sheets. The package contains 10 - 8 1/2" x 11" sheets with instructions. The sheets are paper-backed so they go easily through your printer. The printed fabric then attaches to the background fabric with an iron-on fusible bonding material like Stitch-Witchery. So choose the photo from your computer you wish to use. In my case that can be difficult since I have over 4000 images in my iPhoto Library, choosing one can be a bit of a problem! Load one sheet of the paper backed silk or cotton fabric in your printer fabric side up or image copying side to the fabric, just like you would any other sheet of paper, and print it out. It can be black and white (or sepia) as my example or full color, again your choice. The instructions say to peel the paper backing from the fabric before attaching it but in this particular instance I left the backing on because I thought it gave it more stability. It still remains translucent as you can see. Iron the background fabric to get rid of any wrinkles. I  then fused the fabric in the size I wanted (after trimming it with scissors) to the fabric background by ironing it together with the StitchWitchery bonding material. That would have been enough but I wanted the look of the machine zigzag stitching around the image so I machine sewed it on also.  Iron it all out again.

Apply a good layer of a matte polymer medium or decoupage finish medium, I prefer Royalcoat, to the accepting surface of the canvas or other substrate. Carefully lay down your sewn fabric over the canvas being sure to place the image where you want it - usually centered - and smooth out all the air bubbles or pooled medium. Repeat the smoothing out as long as necessary. Don't worry about the sides of the piece yet. Let the image side dry overnight. Then trim the sides to have just enough fabric to be able to wrap around to the back. Apply the polymer medium to the sides and wrap just like wrapping a present. I prefer to do one side at a time and let it dry before moving on. I actually used small nails pounded right into the wooden canvas stretcher bar on the back or sides at the corners to hold the fabric corners in place. After it is all dry apply a coat or two of the polymer medium to the entire piece letting it dry between coats. Finally it is time to add your embellishments and the ribbon. I used Crafter's Pick The Ultimate glue from Michael's to attach all the embellishments - even metal. When that is dry you may want to add one more coat of the sealer polymer medium to everything including the embellishments to secure it all.

There you have it! If you have the right materials anyone can create this artwork! With this medium anyone can be an artist!

To order the Jacquard InkJet Printing fabrics go to
< www.DickBlick.com>
and search the above words.

Maureen Kavaney Tillman


  1. Thanks so much for sharing this Maureen, you make it seem so easy! And the finished results are fantastic! Looking forward to more of your articles and tutorials!

  2. One of my absolute favorites! I now have this technique on my "must try" list!

  3. What a great tutorial! I've been doing some fabric printing myself onto tea towels; this way sounds simpler! Wonder where I can get those printer-ready fabrics...

  4. If you look at the bottom of the post there should be a DickBlick link to where to order the sheets. I recently ordered a package of 30 fabric sheets, somewhat cheaper than getting 10. Thanks for the support!

  5. Thanks Maureen, for this super tutorial. The picures show all the steps and make it seem so easy. Your final result is lovely! Looking forward to what you'll show us next...

  6. Wow, I am so inspired! The possibilities are endless with this. Thanks for sharing this project! Now I just need to choose an image out of the hundreds I've collected...

    :) Michelle