So happy to have Jill back from Snugglebug University ……sharing the most DARLING little Dress-Up Dolls. But these dolls are made with FABRIC, not paper, and will last so much longer! The other cool thing, is that you can print these dolls on your home printer, which I’ve never seen before! Genius! :)
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Hi all! It’s Jill from Snugglebug University, and I’m back here today to show you how to make printable fabric dress-up dolls with your inkjet printer!
Did you know that you can print on fabric with your inkjet printer at home? If not, this post is for you! It seriously blew my mind when I first heard about it….you mean that I can make my OWN custom fabric at home? I mean, c’mon how awesome is that! The design possibilities are endless.
I discovered how to print on fabric a few years ago, and it’s completely changed the way that I approach projects. Suddenly projects that seemed super tedious seemed doable. Things like a quiet book for example. Or a kids game. Or these felt “paper” dolls. Soooo much easier when all of the detail is printed right onto the fabric.
Now, I used my own fairy tale paper doll designs for this tutorial, but there are lots of free paper doll printables available online that you can use. The instructions are the same! Basically, if you have a digital image you can turn it into an image on fabric. From there you can turn it into a felt doll. Awesome, right!?!
The dolls and clothes are all backed in felt, which means that they stick to the dolls’ felt “underwear”. Since the dolls are also backed in felt, it means that they will also stick to a felt board!
These dolls would be perfect for a quiet book, or a quiet bag activity for a plane ride or church. They make great gifts too!
Are you ready to make your own dress-up dolls?
- Prewashed white fabric for printing on (I use high quality 100% quilting cotton, pre-washed only with a mild detergent)
- Freezer paper (you can find it at the grocery store by the wax paper or online)
- Fusible interfacing (I used Pellon Wonder Under)
- Wool blend felt (because you can iron it)
- A paper doll printable
- Inkjet printer
FIRST, a few thoughts:
-A note about my printer: I have a Epson Workforce 845. This printer doesn’t have a simple feed mechanism. It has to pull paper from the drawer all the way through the printer, but IT STILL WORKS! If you have a printer with a simple feed mechanism you probably won’t get as many jams as I do. The important thing is that you are using an INKJET printer. My printer uses Durabrite inks, and I’ve found the printed fabric to remain bright years after I’ve printed it.
-In general I like to print on fabric for projects that aren’t going to have to been washed frequently, because they will fade. For projects that need frequent washing–like dishtowels–I upload my designs to a commercial fabric printing site such as Spoonflower and let them do the printing for me.
–If you’d rather not make your own fabric “paper,” you can actually buy printable fabric sheets at the fabric store or online. I have used the commercial ones, but I prefer making my own for two reasons: 1) it’s cheaper to make your own, and 2) I actually liked the results with my homemade printable fabric better.
Ok, let’s get started!
First, pick out the design that you want to use. As I mentioned before, there are so many great paper doll printables, both paid and free. If the paper doll outfits you choose have “tabs” it’s no big deal. You can either cut them off when you’re cutting out the outfits later on, or you can get rid of them in photoshop (like I did…I also removed the stand lines…well, except for one. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t recognize that one until too late).
After you have your design, you’re simply going to print the design out. You are just going to print on fabric instead of paper!!
Alright, time to make our fabric “paper.”
Cut out a piece of fabric and freezer paper to be the size that fits through your printer (In my case, this is an 8.5 x 11 inch piece). I’ve shown a picture of the freezer paper box below, so you can see what it looks like. This isn’t wax paper, okay? I found mine at my local grocery store in the same section as the wax paper, or you can find it online.
Iron your fabric to the glossy side of the freezer paper. I use a high setting with no steam. I iron on both the fabric and paper side to make sure that the freezer paper is well attached to the fabric, especially the corners.
Trim all of your edges so that the fabric perfectly lines up with the paper. If you’re sloppy here or there are strings, your printer will probably jam. So take time and trim very carefully, ok? (Not that it’s the end of the world if your printer does jam. I’ve removed lots of “fabric paper” from my printer, and my printer still works great!)
Now place your “fabric paper” in your printer, the way that you would normally put in a piece of paper. If you are unsure which side your printer prints on, mark one side of a test paper with an x and then print. You want your printer to print on the fabric side, not the freezer paper side. I print on the highest quality setting, which delivers a lot more ink than the regular setting.
Remove any paper you might have in the tray, otherwise the paper might get pulled through with your fabric and freezer paper. This isn’t a huge deal unless having the paper there makes the printer print incorrectly on your fabric. It’s easier to remove the paper and be safe.
Print like normal!
Once it’s printed, I remove the freezer paper and let the fabric dry overnight (usually 12-24 hours) and then I either rinse the fabric or wash it on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. This is just to make sure that any extra dye is removed before I give it to the kids to play with. The last thing I want is for dye to rub off on them…or my couch.
Here’s a tip: you can actually reuse the freezer paper multiple times by re-ironing it to a new piece of fabric.
Cut around the edges of the dolls and clothes. Cut a similar sized piece of fusible interfacing and wool blend felt. We’re going to use the fusible interfacing to attach your fabric dolls and clothes to a felt backing. The felt backing will help the clothes “stick” to the dolls, and will also make the dolls work on a felt board if you so desire. If you’ve never used fusible interfacing before, you might find this post on fusible interfacing helpful.
Iron the fabric to the fusible interfacing and remove the paper. I try to do most of my ironing on the reverse side of my image if possible, but I do iron briefly on the printed side.
Iron to the wool blend felt.
Cut out your dolls and clothes and then sew around the edges to make sure that the layers are all really well “stuck” together.
Now the thing about felt dolls is that the clothing sticks best to felt, and these dolls are just made of fabric. So I like to make little felt “underwear” to put on the dolls so that the clothes stick better. I sew around the edges just as I did with the dolls.
And with that, you’re done! Not too hard, right?
I sewed up a little bag to put them all in and dropped them in my purse for that moment when I need a little distraction for my kids. I think they’ll be a fun surprise! I hope you enjoy making your own printable fabric dress-up dolls.
If you’d like more information on my paper doll designs, or this sweet fairy tale pouch (pictured above), hop on over to my blog today for more details!
Thanks so much for having me as a guest contributor on Make it and Love it!
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Looking for a few more ideas for kids?