Ok, here it is, the tutorial I’ve been promising. This tutorial is for making a fabric banner using t-shirt transfers. I thought long and hard about how to make the banner, first I thought sewing a patchwork-type banner, then I thought fabric paints. In the end I thought that transfers would be a little easier and would have a sleeker look. Plus I’m not very good at sticking to painting within lines!
Knot by Gran’ma have a good tutorial here if you’d like to try the fabric paint method. The first part of the tutorial also has instructions if you’d like to know how to square out the piece of fabric and do the hems.
I started with a large piece of canvas (the kind you buy to stretch over frames to paint on) and ironed it to make sure there were no creases:
The next thing was to make up an image and create the pieces for the banner. I created my banner image in Illustrator. I made sure my document size was the size I wanted my banner to be which was 5 feet by 2 feet. (I made my banner 5 feet long because that was the length of my table at the craft fair. Next time when I have a longer table I can just attach it with longer string to hang it in the middle of the table).
I then created my image on the document, I simply used my logo. I think next time I would also like to include some information about my business too, like a tag line.
When the document is all laid out you need to print it out on t-shirt transfer paper. I bought transfer for light fabric which have a clear border around your print. The dark transfers have a white border.
To print such a large document you need to tile print your image so that it prints over several pages. Make sure you look at the preview first so that you can see how it will print out. My image printed out over 10 pages starting with the bottom row and then printing the top. Always print on your highest quality settings.
N.B You might need to ‘mirror’ your image in order that it prints properly on the transfers. I you have a proper transfer selection then you might not need to do this, check your printer settings and always test it out on one sheet first.
Next you need to cut all the pieces out:
If you want to keep a small border around your printed image then cut as close as you can (1mm to 5mm is the standard). The larger border you leave the more ‘clear plastic’ you will see around your printed image.
Now, this is tricky if you have a design like mine, but you need to match up all the pieces. I had a few letters which had been cut down the middle when printed. If you want to make things easier for yourself you can print out those letters separately on a spare piece of transfer paper (I slotted mine in a spare place on my original document). That way you can cut those out and use them instead of the ones cut in half.
The ‘T’ here was printed again, cut out and slotted back in!
When all the pieces are cut out, match them all up:
Now you can see how it will all look (even though it’s back to front!!)
Next you have to fix it! Turn all your pieces over and get ready to fix them. First you need to know where to put them. I measured the size of design and did a little maths to decide where it should fit on my 5’x2′ banner. This will give you a length of distance to measure down from the top of your banner. My measurement was 5″. (Don’t forget that this all depends on the top of your banner being straight – otherwise you’ll end up with your image sloping!) You could draw a line faintly on your fabric to line up your pieces but this might show. In the end I just measured down from the top and as I went along checked that it looked right.
Next, you can fix your first piece. I started with the far right hand piece as that section had more pieces that needed matching up.
Read your transfer instructions to see how long your paper needs fixing with an iron. Then depending on whether you want to image to be shiny or matte, you peel your backing off when the piece is totally cool or still slightly warm.
Next, the tricky part -match your image up!
Here you can see a piece ironed but not peeled off yet. Careful if you are matching pieces up because if you catch a piece you have already attached with the hot iron then it will remove some of the gloss from the print which will look a little different to the rest of the transfer. I did this a couple of times and didn’t worry too much about it though, it wont be see when the banner is hanging – no one looks that close!
Part Two coming soon…