Sometimes, finding the
right fabric is the hardest part of finishing a miniature
doll. Most printed fabrics are made in scale for humans,
and are WAY to large for miniature dolls. And when you
need a particular design, such as when you want to replicate a
well know garment, then you may just have to make it
With today's printers,
computer software, and some awesome products for printing on
fabric, designing your own fabric can be loads of fun, and
result in a product that is yours alone.
The instructions given
here are to print fabric using a design that I created to
simulate the green on white fabric used in Scarlett's famous
barbeque dress in the movie "Gone with the
Wind". The artwork for this fabric can be
downloaded here. You will need WinZip
to unzip this file. Left click on link below to begin
|About the designs... The fabric
design for Scarlett's fabric was created in Jasc Paint
Shop Pro version 7. This is the program that I
generally use when creating a fabric design. (It
is also the program used for backgrounds, headings, and
other design elements on this site!) While this
tutorial will not cover in great depth the steps to
create the fabric designs (I would make a horrible
software instructor....) here are two methods, and an
overview of these techniques to create mini fabric
1) Find a fabric in a print that you
like and print a reduction. Scan it in at 200 dpi
resolution. Open the scan in Paint Shop or other similar
graphics program. Crop the scan in a way that
retains all of the design elements that you want to use.
Bear in mind that you will need to be able to paste many
of these sections together, so crop carefully, to make
the pasting easier. Think wallpaper
patterns! Reduce the scan until you feel that a
printed sample of the reduction is in the proper scale
for your doll. Now open a new document, 8
1/2" x 11", at 200 dpi. Copy your
reduced scan, and paste it into your new document.
It is now, of course much smaller than the
original. You will need to repeat the pasting
several times to fill the 8 1/2" x 11"
area. Be sure to match the patterns carefully,
much like hanging wallpaper!!! When your 8
1/2" x 11" document is full filled with the
design you are ready to save and print.
2) Create your own design. This requires
more time and patience and experience in using your
graphics programs, but will allow you to make totally
original fabric designs. For one of my original
dolls, I wanted an antique teddy bear and flowers
print. I found a graphic of a teddy that I liked,
and also a pansy blossom. The colors in the two
elements went well together. I made sure that each
of the designs was saved at 200 dpi. Using
Paint Shop Pro, I reduced both elements until they
were the sizes that I wanted to use for my fabric.
I then decided on the color that I wanted the fabric
background to be. I opened a new document in Paint
Shop Pro at 200 dpi with my background color as a
fill. I used a grid, and copied and pasted the
bears and pansies in the pattern that I wanted, using
the grid squares as a guide to align the elements
properly. When the page was finished, I saved and
printed my fabric. Here is how it turned
out. The doll is 4 " in height, and the bears
on the fabric are only 3/8" in height, yet they
printed out highly detailed and clear.
For now, I will assume that you have
downloaded the Scarlett fabric according to the
instructions on the page, and have saved it in your
graphics program as instructed. Lets begin.
Please note that this fabric printing method works only on 100%
cotton and 100% silk fabrics, and light weight, lightly colored fabrics
work the best. While you may be able to print on other fabrics, you will probably
find that they are not color fast, as they will be following these
instructions with cotton or silk.
Jet Set, Bubble Jet Set Rinse, both available from Nancy's
Jet printer and computer and design artwork from download
Cutter and Mat - Optional, but handy for cutting fabric
and freezer paper.
||Cut two pieces of 100% cotton batiste
each measuring a generous 8 1/2" x 11". Also cut two
pieces of freezer paper 8 1/2" x 11". Freezer paper is
heavy paper, wax coated on one side.
Lay one cut fabric piece in a glass pan.
Fabric can be folded if necessary to fit into pan.
||Pour the Bubble Jet Set
liquid over the first piece of fabric. Use enough liquid to cover the
fabric well. I like to work the liquid into the fabric surface
with my finger tips.
Now lay the second piece directly on top of the
first, and add additional liquid to cover the second piece of fabric,
and again work in with fingers.
Allow the fabric to sit in the liquid for
20 minutes. Pour the excess liquid back into the bottle, for use
Remove the fabric from the pan and lay out flat
on clean white towels and allow to air dry.
||Although these products
seem a bit pricey, they go a LONG ways, and are MUCH more economical
than the prepared fabric sheets available at many sources.
You will feel more comfortable experimenting and sampling your designs
if you use this more economical method of preparing your own fabric, and
also have control over the exact type and quality of the fabric you are
|Gently press the dry
fabric. Place fabric on shiny waxed side of freezer paper.
If you cut your fabric slightly oversized, allow the excess to extend
beyond the edges of the paper.
Gently press the fabric onto the fabric
paper. You will need to set your iron to at least medium heat,
possibly high, depending on your iron. You want to make sure that the
fabric is securely bonded to the freezer paper by the heat. Especially
important - make sure that the edges are well stuck to the paper.
If necessary, trim any excess fabric or strings
hanging from the edges of the piece.
||Print your fabric!!
Insert your fabric into your printer as you
would a regular piece of paper. Do make sure that you will be
printing on the fabric side, not the paper.
Open the downloaded, unzipped scarlettfabric
artwork in your graphics program. (Paintshop Pro, Photoshop or
other graphics application) Make sure that you are viewing a graphic
that is 8 1/2" x 11".
Use your best printer settings. If you
have choices of paper, choose ink jet paper, high quality. If you
have additional settings that let you allow for ink drying time, use
that too. And if your printer software allows you to control how
heavy the ink is applied, I have found that the medium setting is
|Allow your fabric to
air dry for at least 30 minutes. If it sits longer, no harm is
done. But do NOT rush this step. You need to allow fabric to
sit, or you will loose too much of your ink in the next step.
Gently pull off the
freezer paper from the back side of the fabric.
Fill your sink with cool clear water, and a
teaspoon of Bubble Jet Set Rinse.
Immerse the fabric into the cool water, and
pull directly up out of the water. Don't swish, twist or
wring. This step just removes the excess ink from the surface of
the fabric. If you see a large amount of ink floating in the
water, skim that off or replace rinse water before rinsing your second piece of fabric, or all
that ink will end up just where you DON"T want it!
Dry your fabric in the
dryer, or air dry. Ink is now set, and will withstand machine
washing, but more importantly, will not run when glued, or draped with
That's all there is to it. The steps are simple,
and the possibilities are endless. Have lots of fun, and be
creative!!! And because I know you will ask, the printer I use is
a Hewlett Packard Deskjet 6122. I have also used an Epson printer,
with little problem, but find that the HP feeds the fabric paper better
than the Epson did, and allows me more control over features such as ink
quantity and extra dry time. If you have any other questions, please
drop me an email!
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copy-righted & are not to be used
as a tutorial of your own.
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