Sunday, January 10, 2010


Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
Fabric Softener (Like Downy)

Over the past couple of years I've loved being able to print my own graphics on fabric (both new and vintage) using my home printer. Through trial and error (and lots of tossed out cotton) I've finally achieved the results I was looking for!

A couple of days ago one of my blogger friends (thanks Tam!) reminded me of a recipe for FAUX BUBBLE JET that I have yet to share. (BUBBLE JET is a fairly expensive LIQUID that you dip cotton and/or silk fabric into before printing). I've been using this exact FAUX concoction for the past several months to help stabilize and permaTIZE :) my final printed images. I LOVE IT and IT WORKS!

This is what you need:

1. Arm & Hammer Soda Wash (this is NOT Detergent!). You can usually find this at larger grocery stores in the Cleaning Aisle. I found mine at CREST FOODS here in Oklahoma. But, I know you can get it (or order it) from most any ACE Hardware Stores.

2. ALUM I found this at my local Wal-Mart grocery store in the Spice Aisle.

3. Fabric Softener (like Downy, etc.). Available almost everywhere.

Here is the RECIPE I used:

2 Tablespoons Alum
2 1/2 teaspoons Washing Soda
1/2 teaspoon Fabric Softener

Mix all ingredients together. Your mixture will be very foamy and milk looking so let it settle down before using (about 15 minutes). Dip pre-cut fabric into mixture for several minutes (about 10 - 15), rinse and hang to dry for 24 hours.

If you'd like further instructions for Self Printing on Fabric look HERE! The recipe above is just something I now use before printing!

I will be sharing more vintage Valentine Images with you in the next day or so! Check back soon to see what's new.

Blessings to you for a wonderful, creative week...Rebecca


Anonymous said...

You are most welcome!! I thought it would help if we let these folks know this BEFORE they print on their fabric *wink*. Otherwise, they print...ahem... like me... then wet... and a MESS ENSUES!! Yikes.

I love that you have shared this method with everyone. My sweetie bought me a new printer for christmas and it is a dream to print with. I'm getting ready to dip in softner now so I'll let you know how it all turned out. Hugs. Tammy

Julie Marie said...

Darnit Rebecca... I though you were sharing a recipe for something yummy to eat! Tee hee hee... love to you... xoxo Julie Marie

June said...

You are beyond great to share this with us. Someday I will hopefully be trying this.
I love the pillow with the button beautiful, my friend.
What an amazing artist you are Rebecca girl!
love and big hugs

My Pink & Cream Cottage said...

Hi Rebecca I hope your weekend was a good one for you. I have been meaning to try printing out images for quite some time now but to be quite honest wasn't sure how to stop it from *bleeding* afterwards so thank you for this. OK now can you tell me please what on earth Alum is?????????? as I have never heard of it & am thinking we probably call it by another name *down under*. Can you let me know please....

Lyn xxx

Sue @ Not the Good Scissors! said...

Thank you for the "how to". I am going to dip my toes into printing on fabric this year. It has intrigued me and I am so smitten with vintage images. I thought I would incorporate them into my handbags. I am ready to do something a little different with them.
I have to you pre-wash your cotton/muslin?
Have a blessed week.
xxoo, Sue

Rebecca Nelson said...

SUE...I always PRE-WASH the cotton used for printing. This removes the sizing! I also found that 250 thread count sheets work GREAT! A higher thread count gives more of a SASHEEN type finish and it doesn't accept printed images as well.

I ALSO HEAT SET MY IMAGE after it is printed. Easy to do with a CLEAN, STARCH-FREE IRON!


Ginger said...

Rebecca you are so sweet to share your secrets with us. I will try that. Cant't wait to see your new images you are going to share. I just love all the little vintage children, always have. Finally getting a little warmer today, huh? I am so thankful.


Dolores said...

Rebecca you are so sweet and kind hearted to share your works and ideas with your fellow bloggers! Thank you,

Anonymous said...

How kind of you to share this Rebecca.I love this idea for the future when I can do it.Im always looking for new things new ideas and thanks again for sharing.

Anonymous said...

How kind of you to share this Rebecca.I love this idea for the future when I can do it.Im always looking for new things new ideas and thanks again for sharing.

Sue @ Not the Good Scissors! said...

Thanks Rebecca! I thought you might pre-wash but wanted to make sure. I wasn't sure if the sizing enhanced the printing method. Oh and thank you for the advice on the fabric weight.

I hope to give this a try soon. I will let you know how it turns out. I am thinking about my Spring bags and there are some cute, cute images that are perfect for Spring.
xxoo, Sue

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

thanks for sharing...loved the post....

The Feathered Nest said...

Rebecca!!! This is WONDERFUL!! I knew about the expensive Bubble Jet Set liquid but never that you could create your own! I've got to send everyone over to read this....thank you so much sweet friend for sharing this with us!!! Have a wonderful week, hugs and love, Dawn

GwendolynKay said...

I have never heard of this before. Thanks for sharing.
Blessings always!

{Bellamere Cottage} said...

Good morning dear girl!

Thank you so much for that tutorial. I sooooo appreciate it. I've used the ready-to-go stuff from Joann, but have never tried the do it yourself method. You're right....quality not so great and cost....high.

Have a wonderful week sweet chickie!


Elizabeth and Gary said...

Hi Rebecca,
How fun I must try this. I all ways love to visit you, you are so creative and full of fun ideas.
Take care and enjoy your week.
Happy New Year and God bless,

Diva Kreszl said...

Oh my, how happy I am to have come across your blog! I love it, just beautiful in so many ways!

Cherished Treasures said...

Dear Sweet Rebecca,

Thank you for the recipe. Any money saving tips are always welcome.

I do have a question though---
In your instructions you say to rinse & dry for 24 hours. Do you dry the fabric with the bubble jet in it , print & then rinse? Or do you rinse & dry before printing?

Anonymous said...

Love reading your blog! I also print on fabric...I found that the newer Kodak printer ink does not run and is permanent after printing without any kind of treatment. I purchased a new Kodak printer, kind of needed one anyway $120.00 (the refill ink is really inexspensive too!). Then I bought full page sticker sheets at Staples (100ct box) and 250 thread count sheet. Peel the backing off of one 8 x 11 sticker sheet, adhere to cotton sheet, cut-out and smooth flat, then print on it. Kodak ink is the only ink that sets permanent after printing. You can wash it and it won't run or fade.

Sue said...

Hi Rebecca. Many thanks for posting this. I am wondering if I need the Alum or would it work also without it? And is washing soda the same as sodium carbonate? I am having difficulties to source these things here in New Zealand!!

Keep up the lovely work :)

Rebecca Nelson said...

Sue...I wish I could help you with the recipe. I do believe the Alum is needed. Baking Soda is NOT the same thing as the washing soda. It is pure soap if I understand right!

I hope this helps my friend!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your quick reply Rebecca!

I found this while doing some research:

All we have to do to make a permanent bond between the dye and the cotton is to put the dye on the cotton and add washing soda. We can put the sodium carbonate on the fabric before or after we put on the dye. After we put the dye and the sodium carbonate on the fabric, we just have to wait a while. While we wait, the reaction is happening - chlorines are coming off the of the dye molecules and hydrogens are coming off of the cellulose molecules. If they do this right next to each other, the dye then attaches to the cellulose, and a permanant bond is formed. If we leave it in a warm room for a few hours, we can then wash the excess dye out. We have to rinse it in cold water and wash it with detergent in hot water to get all the extra dye off. After all the excess dye is out, the dye left on the fabric is permanant and looks like this.


They don't use any alum that's why I wanted to ask you - have you ever tried it without alum?

Until soon - lots of smiles..

Rebecca Nelson said...

Sue...I have never heard of this before. Very interesting indeed and I will have to give it a try. I'm a quite sure SOMEONE is going to come up with something that is easier to make before long...progress is always underway.

I'll keep you posted via my blog if I find out anything new. OK?


Anonymous said...

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Thank You, See Ya Later.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Diane said...

HI Rebecca
I hope you don't mind that I have a link to this post.....If you would like for me to remove it just let me know and I will.....
You used to call me friend and I am wondering what could have happened....

Darlene said...

I lost the recipe for Faux Bubble solution that I got at another site a few years ago. I was thrilled to find your recipe. Thanks so much for sharing.

Unknown said...

Love your blog thanks for sharing all the great info your the best :)

Dulce Chavez said...

You are amazing, I love you! You are the mother of crafts!!

Unknown said...

First off thank you for sharing this recipe with us. I do have a question however. I made up the solution and didn't get to it for a couple of days. The milkiness never did go away and it's a bit thick. I don't know if it will be good to use on my fabric or if the solution is messed up in some way. Helllllp?

Not Lost, just Wo/andering said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sweetsurely113 said...

I would like to know if I use this solution, do I need to add anything else to set the image from bleeding or this is all it takes?

Thank you so much

sweetsurely113 said...

Hi Rebecca,

Sorry for all these comments. I have turned out the no blogger reply feature and you should be able to response through this comment instead.

Thank you

debra said...

I am finding it hard to find arm and hammer washing soda. is there an alternative you can recommend?

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