It generally takes 4-6 weeks to print your custom fabrics because, unlike printing on paper, digital printing onto textile is a pretty complex proccess. But it's worth the wait! The print is truly permanent and will stay vibrant no matter how much you wear and wash it.
- To prepare it for printing, the raw textile goes through a pre-treatment coating process to ensure that the inks will absorb evenly into the fibers and create a permanent bond that won't weaken with washing. This process influences the color and keeps the inks from bleeding to much.
- Your fabric pattern is collected in a group of many other designs and printed on long rolls of textile with large digital printers. These printers, just like any home or office printer, print all colors at once, unlike screenprinting, where each color is printed one at a time. This is why you can use as many colors as you want for the same price!
- After printing the fabric is fixed using hot steam. This step makes the colors permanent and brings out their true color and sturation.
- To finish, the textile is washed many times to get rid of any extra ink and wash out the pre-treatment coating. This is the last part of the process where the colors might change a little bit.
- The washed textile will then be stretched on a tentering frame and dried. Throughout these various processes the fibers will shrink and stretch several times, slightly changing size and proportion (± 10%). So if you are printing a cut-and-sew pattern, give yourself a buffer and print a little more than you think you'll need.
If a problem occurs at any point in this process the whole thing starts over again, so don't cut it too close with your timing!
Last update on 2016-03-09 by Ellie Mutchler.