Monday, March 23, 2020

Using TAP or Transfer Artist Paper on Fabric

I'll admit, I'm pretty impressed with TAP or Transfer Artist Paper (affiliate link), used to create my super fun The Second Life of Quilts project!

windsurfer using TAP or transfer artist paper

Images are crisp, clear, and vibrant, better than printing directly on fabric, and even on paper. Transferring was easy too - just had to make sure I reversed images and ironed long enough. But yet to be tested is it's colorfastness and crinkling properties when washed. Once I do that, then I can really be a huge fan.

So, here's a few tips I learned before running TAP through the ink jet printer, and transferring to fabric. Some are highlights from two videos,
How to Use TAP Transfer Artist Paper,
How to Use TAP Transfer Artist Paper with Fabric

and others are my own observations. I totally recommend watching the videos to make sure of how the printing and transfer the process works. Certainly don't want to misprint or goof up a fused image and waste this product!

Here's a couple things I learned:

for image processing,

  • make images and lettering in reverse
  • fit as much as possible onto the page before printing
  • think about what color/print of fabric the image will look best on as TAP is transparent, allowing the background to come through on the image

TAP itself,

  • trim away as much blank space of TAP as possible before transferring to avoid image-free excess TAP from discoloring the background
  • protect the transferred TAP image with a piece of fabric or silicon sheet from the hot iron
  • be sure to press, with a hot, hot iron, for the required amount of time for complete image transfer
  • if the image doesn't completely transfer, keep ironing till it does
  • excess clear TAP can be removed by ironing over with a scrap fabric piece or a silicon sheet
  • TAP images can be ironed over as long as there is fabric or a silicon sheet covering the transferred image 
  • a matte finish is achieved by removing the paper while still very warm. A glossy finish happens when peeling the paper from a cold image.

Let's talk about image processing. For The Second Life of Quilts, the three black sports icon images were reworked in Photoshop to all have patchwork in their sails. I'm not a pro at image manipulation, and it took a few Photoshop video lessons to achieve what I wanted, but I got there. 

Once the images were done, I moved into Word, creating the lettering and testing out different fonts (there are 2). Then resizing everything to get it all to fit on one piece of paper, with a couple of print tests to check image size and such. 

The above is the normal printing orientation, so that I could do a test run of the quilt layout. 

images on printed on paper for quilt layout

Once I was happy with that, I made sure to reverse all images and double check, because TAP requires all lettering to be in reverse so that when it's transferred (ironed on), the words read correctly.

reversed images on printed on TAP for quilt layout

When that sheet came out of the ink jet printer, I was super impressed with the print quality on TAP - wow! And with that, I planned my attack.

First, I wanted the sail colors to stay vibrant and not get muted by the blue background. So, I cut the images apart, trimming away excess white TAP, and leaving just enough to keep some pieces connected.

reversed images cut out from TAP

The colorful sail portions were transferred onto white fabric, 

colorful sails transferred onto white

then a 1/4" of fusible was applied to the backside edges, with the front image protected by another piece of fabric. 

fusible web to backside of a TAP transferred image

Once cut out, they were fused, again with a piece of fabric on top of the image so that it didn't transfer to the iron.

TAP transferred image protected for fusing

There was a bit of stickiness peeling away the fabric, but the image remained intact. Adding in the black images required covering the fused image, 

protecting a TAP transferred image

and lots of hot iron pressing,

transferring a TAP image

for a great transfer!

transferred TAP images

The final result is a transfer with a slight sheen to it, and up close, it looks like it's been inked into the fabric. The hand is soft, though the appliqued sails, which are double fabric, are stiffer. And it was well worth cutting away as much excess TAP as possible, as there is a very slight value change on the background. If you look really hard, you can see a line between this guy's knees, though it's barely noticeable. So far, two thumbs up for TAP!

Someday I'll dream up another project using TAP, (affiliate link) with the plan to wash the item. I'm curious to see how images hold up - I'll keep you posted!

Happy Quilting!

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  1. Thanks for sharing the info on TAP. I'm captivated!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing. My son recently started hang gliding and loves it. This will make a really cool mug rug for him.

  3. Thanks Susan. That was really interesting. I love your quilt!

  4. Hi Susan! The colors on the parachutes are sure vibrant and look fabulous. If you had put them on a different color background other than white, would that possibly have distorted the colors a bit? I think that's what you're saying to keep in mind, and what a great point. I look forward to hearing about how this washes up and if you notice any changes. It is a product that I'm interested in, for sure. Thanks for linking up today. ~smile~ Roseanne

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Thank you so much for just made my day!