The digital camera and print shop put a contemporary spin on craft so being creative has never been easier

At the digital print shop, a transfer print is made from the image on your disk.

Cut around the image and place it facedown on the fabric.

lAJhat you/ need

D a good-quality image (see right)

□ fabric item such as a hand towel to which to transfer the image

□ small, sharp scissors

□ masking tape

This is the simplest of projects, requiring no more than a photograph or other image, a hand towel or napkin to apply it to, and a trip to the nearest digital print shop. Many craft projects require weeks of work, but if patience isn't your strong point, this is the project for you. Whether you make it for your home, or as a gift for someone else, the results are impressive.

Choosing an image

You'll get the best results from an image that has a simple shape and not too many complicated areas, such as the bay sprigs used on the napkins here (see opposite). Avoid using dark images, as they tend to become darker during the transfer process. Images with a good contrast between light and dark will work best.

If photographing your own image, place your chosen herb on a white background and shoot from straight overhead. If using a digital camera, set it to the highest resolution you can. This will ensure a crisp, clear image.

Remember that white does not print; the fabric will show through any parts of the design that are white, so you will not, for example, be able to print white flowers onto a colored fabric. Images will show up best on white, cream or pastel fabrics; dark colors and busy prints, on the other hand, are both unsuitable.

At the digital print shop, a transfer print is made from the image on your disk.

Cut around the image and place it facedown on the fabric.

Because the image will be printed facedown, it will be a mirror image of the original photo. This means that you may need to ask the print shop to flip the image if you want it to be facing a particular way.

Preparing the fabric

Choose the article on which you want the print. We used hand towels and napkins, but other options are T-shirts or tablecloths. For the clearest print, choose a smooth, closely woven fabric in a

natural fiber, such as cotton or linen. Fine-knit fabrics work well, too, but textured fabrics, such as toweling or waffle weave, will result in an unclear ,mage, while synthetic fibers may melt under the high heat that is needed for the transfer process. If you are transferring the image to an item of clothing, put a piece of brown paper inside the garment so that the transfer does not go through to both the front and the back.

Next, wash the fabric to eliminate the possibility of shrinkage, which can cause the transferred image to crack, then iron the fabric smooth.

If you want the image centered but don't trust yourself to do this by eye, mark a crease by folding the fabric item in half in both directions. Using cotton thread and long stitches, baste along this crease. The point at which the stitches intersect is the center. On the back of the transfer, draw horizontal and vertical lines through the center of the design, then match these with the basting stitches. Once the image has been transferred and allowed to cool, remove the basting stitches.

Creating the transfer

Take the photograph or an image on disk to a digital print shop. If your image needs touching up or cropping, the print shop will be able to do this for you. They can also digitally manipulate your image and, if it is small enough, repeat it so that you get some spare images on the transfer sheet, thus saving money (transfer paper is expensive).

Ask for the image to be photocopied onto transfer paper at a size that fits your chosen item. Avoid handling the transfer paper while the ink is drying.

Carefully cut out the image around the outline (do this at home in an unhurried manner, then bring the project back to the print shop for the next step). Using masking tape, position the transfer print onto the fabric, facedown, ensuring it is in the desired position. Then get the print shop to transfer the image (they will use a high-pressure heat press).

Allow the item to cool for a few minutes, then remove the backing from the transfer paper. Embellish the item with ribbon, beads or embroidery, if desired.

Laundering

Using mild detergent, wash and dry the finished item on a cool setting only. Do not use bleach. Don't iron the image, as this can cause the transfer to move.

A note on copyright

If you take your own photograph, you own the copyright to it and can use it as you wish. However, if you use someone else's image, you may risk infringing their copyright; you cannot copy such an image for articles that you will sell.

Make sure you photograph your herb or flower on a white background.

Kitchen print triptych

Continue reading here: Take your favorite herb photographs from camera to canvas and decorate your walls with beautiful images that wont cost a fortune

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