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Silhouette Printable Cotton Fabric Tutorial and Review (and the BEST part no one tells you)

A few months back I ordered a pack of Silhouette Printable Cotton Fabric. I had no idea what I was going to do with it so it sat in my 'To Do tutorials/reviews on" stack. (Think of it like the mail pile that's on the edge of your kitchen counter...yeah except it's in my craft room/office.)

Silhouette tutorial, printable cotton fabric tutorial, Silhouette Cameo

I think what held me back for so long was I was under the impression, even from the packaging, the Printable Cotton Fabric was pretty much just cotton fabric you could print on. I mean how much could I make with an 8x11 sheet...that would make one SMALL pillow (?) and I'd have to sew it to place it on anything larger.  OhEMMMMGEEE when I realized you can basically use this stuff as printable heat transfer (on items that won't be laundered)....except it has the feel of cotton. 
Here's a close up so you can see the fabric texture.

Cotton fabric tutorial

The best part is - it has a heat-activated fuse-able backing (think of it like built in Heat n' Bond but without the stiffness) that you can iron onto other fabric.  No where, however, does it say this on the packaging, instructions or online description. So today I'm here to tell you about this awesomeness and its hidden best feature!

For this example I'm going to show you how my daughter and I used the printable cotton fabric to make her First Communion banner.  She browsed Pinterest and found the design she liked..and then looked me like, "Can you make that girl with your machine?" Umm...can you imagine cutting all of that out on HTV and layering it? Silhouette Printable Cotton Fabric to the rescue!!!

I'm always an advocate of creating your own designs, but needless to say I'm not that good so I purchased a set of First Communion designs and we got to work first creating a life-size mockup in Silhouette Studio and then printing and cutting.

Silhouette tutorial, cotton fabric tutorial, Silhouette Studio
Once your design is ready, remove everything from the work area except what you want to print and cut.

Add registration marks to your work area and then set the design to 'cut edge' from the cut settings window.

Silhouette Studio, Silhouette tutorial, cotton fabric tutorial

Place a sheet of the Printable Cotton Fabric into your inkjet printer making sure it's oriented so it prints on the fabric side, not the paper backing.

Once printed, remove the sheet from the printer and place it on the Silhouette Cutting Mat.  Because it's fabric, I used my Silhouette fabric blade to be safe.  So swap out your blade if you have a fabric blade.

Cotton fabric tutorial, cotton fabric print out
You'll notice the top of the design and the cross are cut off. Due to the required size of the banner, I had to splice the design to print and cut it sections.
From the Cut Settings window, pick "Silhouette Printable Cotton Fabric" from the material list. I used the recommended cut settings and they worked great.

Now send your design to cut.

You should be able to easily remove/weed the excess cotton fabric away from your design leaving only the design on the backing on the mat.

Silhouette Studio tutorial, cotton fabric tutorial

When you remove the design from the thin paper backing, you'll see it has a shiny back which will fuse to another fabric surface when pressed with heat!  This is the important stuff my dear friends at Silhouette America don't tell you - but I DO! :)  

So place your design the fabric surface where you are going to apply it - in this case a banner made from a canvas painter drop cloth.  Simply heat an iron or heat press to adhere it to the surface where you want it to apply it.  I set my heat press to 305 and pressed for 20 seconds.

Cotton fabric tutorial, Silhouette tutorial
Important: Please know, you can not use the printable cotton fabric on items that will need to be laundered.  My first go at using the cotton fabric I made a shirt (see above) and when I laundered it to test how it would perform so I could report back to all of you - all of the ink was removed in the wash.
In combination with the Printable Cotton Fabric we used HTV to create the First Communion banner and my daughter could not be happier with how it turned out!

Silhouette Studio tutorial, cotton fabric, htv

By the way - the spliced area is barely noticeable!

The even better news is I only needed to purchase the pink HTV from Expressions Vinyl to complete the project as opposed to buying all of the colors that would have been needed if the entire design was cut on heat transfer vinyl...not to mention the time saved.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine!

Thanks for coming to class today at Silhouette School.  If you like what you see, I'd love for you to pin it!
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  1. Just wanted to let you know, that there are some liquids that are supposed to set ink and keep printed fabric from washing away. It's called Jenkins 2000 Bubble Jet Set, and Jenkins Bubble Jet Rinse. I don't know how this would play into the heat transfer part of the fabric, but, if you can sew it on, then at least you could make shirts! Hope this is helpful!

  2. This came out SO stinkin'cute!Thanks for the info!

  3. This came out SO stinkin'cute!Thanks for the info!

  4. Thanks Melissa. Awesome project and info.

  5. Your daughter looks so sweet, Congratulations! I've printed fabric on our inkjet printer, soaked the fabric in a cold water solution of vinegar and salt for 20 minutes, let it dry, then pressed it using the cotton setting to set the color. I couldn't even scrub it off after that. Worth a try!

  6. Wow. I've been trying to think of a way to make a cute garden banner and this post has inspired me. PS you're daughter is adorable just like you.

  7. I'm confused, isn't it better to use printable heat transfer paper for fabric? It's washable and costs $4-5 a pack of 10 in ebay.

  8. Just had a couple questions regarding when you cut fabric with the silhouette.. I was doing some research on how to cut it , and a few of the blogs had said to use a thicker mat when cutting, and using a fabric blade. First , can you use the regular mat to cut fabric without it cutting through? And second, can you use the black blade that it comes with to cut fabric? I have read that some people use the black one just for the fabric and another black for regular cuts, is that possible?


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