On the last project I posted, Mantle Clock Makeover, I redesigned the face of the clock and printed it on burlap. Here is a picture of it below:
I had several people ask me how the heck I did that so I thought I would put together this little tutorial to show you!
First of all I am using a regular inkjet printer. I currently have an Epson Artisan 810 all-in-one where the paper feeds up from a little tray on the bottom. My old (and more simple) printer is an Epson CX8400 where the paper stands up and feeds directly down from the back. If you have a choice on which one to try this technique out on, use the simple one. Not to say it will print better, but having printed burlap on both types of printers, I had fewer feed issues with the more simple paper feeding method. But, I did get my fancy new printer to work just fine after I figure out just how it wanted me to place the fabric in the little paper tray, so it can be done. If you have a laser printer, I can’t guarantee you won’t break it trying to do this, so continue at your own risk!
Ok, so before you stuff some burlap in your printer you are going to need a stabilizer to attach it to. For demonstration/experimental purposes I have decided to try out 4 different iron-on stabilizers – 1) Heat-n-Bond Ultra Hold, 2) Heat-n-Bond Lite, 3) Pellon 805 Wonder-Under, and 4) Reynold’s brand freezer paper. FYI – this was my first time using freezer paper for this but I thought I would give it a whirl since I know some people love it and I happened to have some on hand.
To get started, cut your stabilizer into sheets of 8.5″ x 11″. The better the cut, the better it will feed!
Then iron on the stabilizer to your burlap. I like to do it pretty close to the edges so I don’t waste fabric. Do pay attention to the grains of the burlap when you place your stabilizer on so that it doesn’t look all crooked. And turn the steam off for this…it will bond better!
You can see that I ironed on multiple pieces of stabilizers on one piece of burlap and left a teeny space in between. Now trim the burlap+stabilizer to the 8.5″ x 11″ size of the stabilizer. If you like this technique and plan on doing it a bunch, it is worth investing $15-$20 in a ruler like mine (an OmniGrid 8.5″ x 24″), because it makes the job go much faster.
So I have all my 4 stabilizers ready to go:
Before you insert it into the printer, make sure you understand which way you have to put in the paper in order to print on the burlap side. Now go and print that burlap! I chose a simple J to show you here.
After printing, here are the results of my experiment with different stabilizers (they are still attached to the burlap):
As you can see, the print quality is the same. Also, I didn’t notice any differences in how they fed into the machine either. Now I peeled off the stabilizers. The first three peeled off easily but the freezer paper (shown below) took a little pulling and kept some of the burlap fibers.
And some of the edges did start to unravel a bit once I pulled it all the way off.
Here are the pieces of burlap (from the back) after I took off the stabilizer:
Now side by side you can see the differences in adhesives that the stabilizers leave on the back of the burlap (#1-4 from left to right). The Heat-n-Bond Ultrahold leaves the heaviest adhesive and the freezer paper leaves nothing behind.
So which stabilizer should you use? Well, it depends on the application. If you want to iron fabric onto the back of it (since you can see through burlap!), the Heat-n-Bond Ultrahold will do the best, but you will be able to see a little bit of the shiny adhesive underneath the burlap. The good thing about the Ultrahold is that it doesn’t need to be reinforced with stitching (I use it for appliques all the time) so you can iron it onto all kinds of things. If you don’t want to attach the burlap to anything, this stabilizer will definitely be the most sturdy.
Most of the time when I print on burlap, I use the Heat-n-Bond Lite because I feel like it holds the burlap together well but you don’t really see the adhesive from the top. It will also stay on fabric pretty well if you iron it on. If you have never used them, the difference between the Ultrahold and the Lite is that the Ultrahold doesn’t need to be reinforced with stitching to permanently hold but the Lite does, especially if you are using them for appliques.
If you want to see no adhesive at all but you still want it to hold together a bit, then the Pellon Wonder-Under will do just fine. You can attach the Pellon to fabric but it won’t hold quite as well as the Heat-n-bond stabilizers. If you don’t care about it holding together at all or you don’t want to iron it onto anything, then use the freezer paper. If anything, I would personally use at least the Wonder-Under.
Looking at color, obviously some colors will print better depending on the color of burlap you use. Below I printed on the medium brown burlap (left), plain white cardstock for reference (middle), and the light straw-colored burlap (right). So if you want to see color better, I would use the straw-colored burlap to print on. But if you just want to print black or dark brown, I think the darker burlap looks better. Note – I didn’t peel off the paper here.
Also, pay attention to the thickness of the lines on your images. The thicker lines and fonts show up much better. An image with a ton of detailed lines may not print as well since burlap has such a large weave. And remember, whatever you print out is not water proof since you are using an inkjet printer! When I was making my clock face, I went a little crazy with the steam and it washed away some of the ink! I had to use a brown sharpie and go over all of it and make it look even again. The sharpie actually looked pretty good and made the image much darker…so that is an option if you want to go for a more defined look. If you do want to seal it, I have found that the archival sealers from the art store work pretty well, but spray them on lightly! Don’t use clear spray paint, it is too thick and will clump on the burlap…ask me how I know. If you are doing a craft and want to glue the burlap to something, then I am sure Mod Podge or something heavier will work fine. Play around with it and see what you like!
By the way, you can print on all types of fabric like this. I like to print on linen sometimes too, but burlap is definitely my favorite because it has a little more character. I didn’t want all my hard work to go to waste so I trimmed up one of my burlap J’s to 8″ x 10″ and stuck it in a frame on my desk. For an even larger picture, you can use an 11″ x 14″ frame and with a mat that has an 8″x10″ opening. What an awesome customized gift you could make for someone special!
***UPDATE*** – Contact-type adhesive papers works too! I can’t believe that I omitted an entire adhesive group! After a comment below, I tried it out to be sure. I used white Duck brand adhesive paper and it worked great and the burlap peeled right off. I think this type of paper is probably better for not damaging the burlap than the wax paper if you don’t want a permanent backing. I also tried some clear Contact brand adhesive paper but I couldn’t get my printer to print on it. It fed through but wouldn’t print. Weird…may just be my printer. Try it out for yourself though!
I hope this helps! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at jamie (at) sewrockin (dot) com. Now go out and make something! :)
Until later, happy crafting!
I’m linking up to these parties:
Monday: Craft-O-Maniac, Skip to My Lou, Lines Across My Face, Making the World Cuter, Home Stories A2Z; Tuesday: Tip Junkie, Today’s Creative Blog, A Diamond in the Stuff, Not Just a Housewife; Wednesday: Lil’ Luna, The Trendy Treehouse, Savvy Southern Style, Ginger Snap Crafts, Blue Cricket Design, Sew Much Ado; Thursday: House of Hepworths, Shabby Creek Cottage, My Repurposed Life; Friday: Romantic Home, Tatertots and Jello, Remodelaholic, Joyful Stamper; Saturday: Be Different Act Normal,Kojo Designs, Six Sisters’ Stuff; Sunday: I Heart Naptime, Flamingo Toes, Homemaker on a Dime, Under the Table and Dreaming, The DIY Showoff;