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Bubble Jet Set 2000 Instructions

If you intend to wash projects printed with an inkjet printer, the fabrics must be specially treated. There are many options available today. You can purchase ready-to-use fabric sheets available at many quilting stores. We list many of the ready-to-use fabrics on our Fabric Printing Resources page.

Preparing Printable Fabric Using Bubble Jet Set 2000
If you are a do-it-yourself type person or have a lot of images to print and wish to save money, you can use a product called Bubble Jet Set 2000 to make 100% cotton and 100% silk fabrics ready for printing. These products are for preparing fabric for printing in an inkjet printer or inkjet copier (also known as bubble-jets). Do not use this process for laser printers or carbon-based copying machines!

 
Treat the Fabric
Use only 100% cotton or silk fabrics, no blends or synthetics.
Pre-wash fabrics, unless they are sold as PFP (Prepared for Printing).
Iron the fabrics to get rid of all the wrinkles.
     
Cut the fabrics into sheets slightly larger than the size you intend to print.
  • If 8 1/2" x 11" is the desired size, cut the fabrics about 9 1/2" x 12".
  • Many printers can print wider or longer pieces of fabric. Add about 1" to both the width and length of your expected printing size if you are printing to these bigger sizes.
     
 

Pour a layer of Bubble Jet Set 2000 liquid into a flat plastic container which is big enough for the width of your cut sheets.

     
 

Carefully lay cut fabric sheets into the liquid one at a time. Press the fabric to ensure the entire piece is "soaked" before adding the next sheet of fabric.

Add more Bubble Jet Set 2000 liquid when you feel that there isn't enough liquid to cover more fabric sheets.

 

 
 

Numerous sheets can be prepared at once, saving time and making more efficient use of the Bubble Jet Set 2000 liquid. Avoid letting wrinkles form in the stack of fabrics.

(Notice: Even colored or printed fabrics can be used with Bubble Jet Set 2000, just realize that the printed imagery will be affected by the fabric print.)

     
 

Repeat the layering of fabric sheets and liquid until you:

  • run out of Bubble Jet Set 2000
  • have soaked as many sheets as you desire
  • or reach the depth of your container.

Soak fabric sheets in the Bubble Jet Set 2000 liquid for 5 minutes.

     
 

Hang the treated fabrics to dry. Try to avoid crimping the edges of the fabrics or letting wrinkles form in the hanging fabrics.

Once the fabrics are very dry, lightly press the fabrics to make them smooth again. Don't use steam and don't overpress, they are sensitive to heat at this point due to the chemicals.


Alternative Method
Instead of treating pre-cut sheets, you can immerse a carefully folded 2 to 3 yard piece of fabric into the Bubble Jet Set 2000 liquid and then cut the treated fabric into fabric sheets after it has dried. However, I find it difficult to dry such a big piece of treated fabric without getting wrinkles.
     
Now is a good time to thoroughly rinse the tub you used for soaking the fabrics. You'll need it after fabric printing to rinse the fabrics in Bubble Jet Rinse.
 
Stabilize the fabric sheets
Apply a stabilizer to the wrong side of each fabric sheet to help it feed through the printer. The following instructions specify how to stabilize the fabrics using Avery full-sheet self-adhesive labels, but the steps can be adapted easily to work with the other stabilizers such as: freezer paper, self-adhesive or iron-on embroidery stabilizers, and contact paper. The goal is to temporarily adhere the fabric to a surface that is flexible and thin enough to run through a printer while stiff enough to support the fabric so that it can easily feed through the printer sheet feeding mechanisms.
     

 

Avery 8 1/2" x 11" full sheet labels, product # 8165 work well and can be reused several times if you are careful.

Lay the treated fabric sheet face down on a flat surface and smooth it with your hands.

Align the label squarely over the fabric sheet.

 

     
  Slowly peel the backing sheet off to expose the adhesive side of the label sheet. Press the label smoothly onto the fabric as you gradually peel back more of the label backing sheet.
     
 

Work carefully to avoid wrinkling the fabric as you complete this process.

Store the backing sheets in a handy location so you can place the used labels back onto them after the printing and drying processes are complete.

 
Trim the stabilized fabric sheets
To prevent printer jams, it is critical that you trim away all fabric that extends over the edge of your stabilizer. This is why I directed you to cut the initial fabric 1" wider and longer than desired.
     

 

Lay the treated and stabilized fabric sheet face down on a cutting mat and use a ruler and rotary cutter to trim the fabric to the desired dimensions.

Be sure that the final sheet is completely covered by the stabilizer. If there is any fabric extending beyond the stabilizer, the fabric WILL jam as it feeds through the printer. I like to cut away just a hair of the label to ensure that I have no loose fabric.

Be sure to trim all loose threads!

     
 

As mentioned earlier, you can use heavy duty freezer paper as the stabilizer. Just be sure that your freezer paper holds onto the fabric. I have had freezer paper peel back as it entered the printer and it caused a very unpleasant printer jam!

Some freezer paper adheres better than other brands and you must test with varying iron settings to get the best results.

Again, trim the fabric/freezer paper combination so that all parts of the fabric are covered by freezer paper.

     

More Stabilizer Alternatives
Freezer Paper Sheets -
C. Jenkins, manufacturer of Bubble Jet Set 2000 and Bubble Jet Set Rinse now offers pre-cut industrial strength Freezer Paper Sheets. These have a special coating for adhering to fabric and are 54 lb. paper that is supposed to resist curling and rolling problems. You can find these on Caryl Bryer Fallert's website at: www.bryerpatch.com .
Embroidery Stabilizers -
There are numerous stabilizers available for machine embroidery that either have a temporary adhesive built-in or that can be temporarily held to a fabric with a spray adhesive. The trick is to find a product that is sturdy enough, yet flexible enough, to feed smoothly through the printer and that can be temporarily bound to the fabric with a strong enough bond to prevent the fabric from separating just as it enters the printer's feed mechanisms.

 
Time to Print!
If you prepared your fabric sheets in advance and they have been sitting around for a while, start by ensuring that all edges of the fabric are still adhering to the stabilizer. If necessary, touch up any iron-on stabilizer with a dry, hot iron to ensure a good hold.
     

 

The fabric sheets need to be placed into the printer so that the fabric side will be printed upon.

Typically, bottom loading printers such as the one to the left, should be loaded with the fabric face down.

Top loading printers, such as the one below left, should be loaded with the fabric facing forward.

     
 

If you don't know which side your printer prints to and you want to make sure, here is a simple experiment:

Place a large 'X' on one side of your paper.

Load the paper into your printer and make a note as to which direction the 'X' is facing (i.e. face up, face down, face forward or face backward).

Print anything to that sheet of paper. If the 'X' side has printing, you'll know to place your fabric in the same direction as the 'X' side of the test paper.

     
Important tips:
1) Insert the printable fabric one sheet at a time! Most printers have a difficult time picking up thick papers and placing multiple sheets in a stack compounds the problem.
2) Some printers will work better if the printable fabric sheet is placed on top of a regular stack of paper. HOWEVER, I have found that it is critical to put my hand on the stack of regular paper and hold it firmly until I know that the printer has picked up just the printable fabric sheet. Otherwise, a regular sheet of paper will feed through the printer and your print will be made on the regular paper instead of the fabric. (Or worse, it may print half on the fabric and half on the regular paper.
     

Printer Settings Suggestions
Although some experts and books suggest that you simply use a plain paper setting, I personally find that using "Best" quality or "Photographic Quality" settings on my printer along with settings for a "Heavy Matte" paper work best. My reasoning is that "Best" quality prints a more detailed image. I find that I need to use "Heavy Matte" for two reasons. First, my printers refuse to allow a "Best" setting if the paper type is set to "Plain paper". Second, fabric is very absorbent, so a Heavy Matte paper setting will cause the printer to put down more ink which will compensate for the amount of ink absorbed into the fabric. I have talked with other fabric printing experts who feel the same way. Be prepared to experiment and see which works best with your printer.

     

After Printing
Place each printed fabric sheet separately to dry, rather than stacking them. The inks will still be wet and may smear if you stack the printed sheets on top of one another.

Allow the printed fabric sheets to dry thoroughly. The Bubble Jet Set manufacturer recommends 30 minutes. I've always waited 24 hours.

After each fabric dries, take it off the stabilizer backing. (To reuse your Avery labels, I suggest placing them back onto the backing sheets they came on.)

Rinse each fabric sheet for at least two minutes in either mild detergent or in Bubble Jet Rinse (according to the instructions). Bubble Jet Rinse helps further set the inks onto the fabric and to remove any loose ink. Caution: protect your hands from the chemicals you are rinsing off these fabrics by wearing rubber gloves.

Rinsing in Bubble Jet Rinse:
Here's a tip from Caryl Bryer Fallert's book Quilt Savvy: Fallert's Guide to Images on Fabric. An easy way to rinse in Bubble Jet Rinse is to fill your flat plastic container with water, add the appropriate amount of Bubble Jet Rinse (according to manufacturer instructions) and then run each printed fabric sheet through this solution. Drag each fabric through the solution for two minutes, constantly moving the fabric sheet through the solution. Be careful not to let the fabric fold back onto itself.

It is trickier to wash the fabrics in the washer because of the twisting and wringing that the fabrics go through. You know how everything rubs together in the washer! Performing the initial rinse step in the washing machine increases the chance of fabrics bleeding onto one another before the inks are set. After the initial rinse step, these fabrics are machine washable in a mild detergent.

 

Dry your rinsed fabrics in a dryer. Caryl Bryer Fallert suggests adding an old towel to help the fabrics tumble better.

Iron your beautiful new fabrics and put them in your next quilt, wearable art, or home decor project!

Caution: printed fabrics are susceptible to fading in strong light. Printed fabrics are not the best choice for window coverings!

 

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