How to Transfer an Embroidery Design to Fabric with Solvent
Florula shows you her technique for transferring your embroidery designs to fabric with solvent, step by step
One of the most important steps in embroidery is printing your design onto fabric. There are many ways to do it. Here, we show you one of Mexican designer and textile artist Elidé Rangel Soto’s (@florula) favorites. She specializes in embroidered lettering and always uses this technique: transfer with solvent.
She assures us that it’s simple to do and quick. It does depend on a few things and should not be rushed. Here's how to do it:
- Design laser-printed onto greaseproof paper: the principal material on which the design will go. It’s important it is printed back to front (i.e. mirrored), and laser printed because any other ink will smudge.
- Solvent (or dissolvent): the chemical that will help you transfer the printed ink to fabric.
- Cotton: two separate balls, one to apply the solvent and another to remove it.
- Card to protect the table: working with solvent can stain a worktop. It’s important to protect it with card or something similar.
- Masking tape: to stick the protective card down and to fix the greaseproof paper with the design onto the fabric to stop it from moving.
- Folder: to press on the greaseproof paper so the ink transfers to the fabric, you can also use the back of scissors or even a coin, depending on the size of the design and what you find most comfortable.
Transfer step by step:
1. Protect the table and your hands.
It’s important to take care not to stain worksurfaces when working with chemicals and use gloves to prevent burns.
2. Place the design in the center of the fabric so that when you move the fabric to the embroidery frame it doesn't budge.
Make sure it is well placed before making the transfer. It is vital that the printed part, which contains the ink, touches the fabric.
3. Take the solvent and wring out the surplus.
This is the most important part: you must soak one of the cotton balls with solvent and then wring it out over the other so that there is not a drop of excess liquid.
4. Wet the fabric bit by bit in the area the transfer will go.
You can keep lifting the design to get an idea of the space it will occupy.
5. Let it breathe.
Before transferring the print to the fabric, let the solvent breathe a bit (without letting it dry completely). It’s important not to totally soak the fabric as that can smudge the ink and ruin the transfer.
6. Rub the folder until the ink is transferred.
When the fabric is ready, put pressure on the surface of the design. Bit by bit, the ink will leave the greaseproof paper and becoming visible on the fabric. You will notice how the paper loses ink, a sign that the transfer is working.
7. Remove the design from the fabric.
When you think the design is sufficiently clear, you can stop applying pressure with the folder. Take off the design and let the fabric dry for a few minutes. Then you will be able to start embroidering.
If you want to know more about Florula’s work, find it on her online course Embroidered Letters: Thread as a Graphic Tool.
You may also be interested in:
- How to Wash and Care for Your Embroidery.
- 7 Embroiderers You Need to Follow.
Hi, What type of solvent do you use? Thanks
Same as Catfailess: what type of solvent is used for this process?
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