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  • Large Fabric Printing

    Hi everyone! I'm new to GDF and design in general, and so I hope this question isn't too naive.
    I want to create a large tote bag with an original artwork covering the entire fabric.
    But I have no idea where to go for large-format textile printing? It isn't really that big - just over a square foot of polyester. But every print shop I've called refuses and will only print on T-shirts and apparel.

    Is there any way to get large artwork printed onto a piece of fabric without the fuss?
    Any info or referrals would help so much. Thanks in advance.

    - Denise

  • #2
    You want to find a printer who does dye sublimation onto fabrics. Someone who does fabric banners. Not a t-shirt printer.
    What state/country are you located? There are printers all over the US and Europe that do this. You are just looking in the wrong place.

    FYI, it will cost you quite a bit for only a square foot of material. There is usually a minimum charge. You also have to use the fabrics they have in stock. You can't just walk in with a square foot of fabric.
    Last edited by PrintDriver; 02-18-2011, 06:24 AM.

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    • #3
      A screen printing department should be able to do this for you. Look for sports related companies, as they'd do quite large flags and things for the sporting events.

      "May your hats fly as high as your dreams"Michael Scott

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      • #4
        I'm betting the artwork isn't appropriate for silk screening. Just a guess.

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        • #5
          I used to do large format graphics for trade show booths, banner-stands, etc. and printed on fabric rolls with an HP larger format (60" wide) ink jet printer. This is simple and semi-inexpensive as it's just a glorified over-sized inkjet printer but they have pretty decent quality and the image only needs to about 120-150 dpi at final size.

          Look for poster shops and/or shops that make banner-stands. They will most likely have a large format printer and possibly rolls of fabric for inkjet printing (at least I did when I did this stuff). You can avoid screen printing but dye-sublimation as mentioned is also good but perhaps a little more expensive especially for your smaller size.

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          • #6
            We used to do full colour photographs onto fabric.

            "May your hats fly as high as your dreams"Michael Scott

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            • #7
              The difference between dye sub and an inkjet printer is you can wash the dye sub fabric. Even if the HP was a solvent printer, the polyester fabric the OP wants still has to have an ink-receptive coating on it that will crack, flake, crimp or shed if you wash it or abuse it too much.

              That said, there are many graphic vendors that do dye sub too. It's just a different inkset and having the press to do the transfer.

              The problem may just be that 1 foot square. My minimum print order cost has 3 numbers in it before the decimal point. More than a foot of full width fabric gets wasted on the take-ups and heating that press causes the electric meter to spin.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
                The difference between dye sub and an inkjet printer is you can wash the dye sub fabric. Even if the HP was a solvent printer, the polyester fabric the OP wants still has to have an ink-receptive coating on it that will crack, flake, crimp or shed if you wash it or abuse it too much.
                If it's polyester, dye sub would definitely be the way to go. But if the tote bags are made out of a canvas material or something like that, a digital print will come out just fine and wash just fine.

                To the OP: Do you want to print the image on the fabric before it's made into a tote bag? Or are you trying to print on a pre-made tote bag?
                "Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
                -Steve Jobs

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                • #9
                  The OP says 1 square foot of polyester.
                  Of course the OP probably hasn't been back since their first post.

                  Uh, have you ever tried to wash digital canvas? Vinyl coated canvas (ie scrimmed vinyl) maybe. With a hose. But not plain coated fabric canvas. In fact in the last year we've disqualified several canvas products due to ink adhesion and streaking issues. Some have been discontinued by the manufacturers too. This is on full solvent machines. I've seen better success with some of the UV printers onto canvas but if the coating is not good, even that scratches off. And you can't even begin to steam the wrinkles out of it. I'd never sell an inkjet product on fabric as washable.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
                    The OP says 1 square foot of polyester.
                    Of course the OP probably hasn't been back since their first post.
                    Ah, missed that part.

                    Uh, have you ever tried to wash digital canvas? Vinyl coated canvas (ie scrimmed vinyl) maybe. With a hose. But not plain coated fabric canvas.
                    I've seen tote bags like these printed on digital printers and they came out perfectly. They made it through several wash tests also.
                    "Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
                    -Steve Jobs

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                    • #11
                      Companies like cafepress.com do tote bags. Would that be suitable?
                      It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" – Winnie the Pooh

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                      • #12
                        If the prints are digital to fabric that is different from printing on 'digital canvas material' and making a bag out of it after the fact. A white bag like that can also be dye sublimated.

                        There is a difference between ready-made and raw goods when it comes to printed fabrics. I do scenic backdrops and banners all the time as inkjet (solvent only) on digital canvas material as a raw good. I would never put it through the wash. I wouldn't even use them outdoors. For outdoors I use scrimmed vinyl or vinyl mesh (wind load as well as sun and rain figure into that).

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                        • #13
                          You might need the Printing factory to make it.

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                          • #14
                            Hi ChinaBilly and welcome to GDF.

                            We ask all new members to read very important links here and here. These explain the rules, how the forum runs and a few inside jokes. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Your first few posts will be moderated, so don't panic if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay.
                            Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

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                            • #15
                              The OP has not been back to the forum since the day she posted this query.
                              Over 5 years ago…….

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