Leggi questo post in: Italiano
I love embellishing clothing and other fabric items. And one of the ways I love the most is with appliqué.
I’ve written a lot about how to machine appliqué, including a trick to appliqué perfectly on stretchy fabric. I sometimes freehand draw my designs, but usually I either copy them from images found on Google Images or I draw them digitally in Illustrator. So how do I get those images onto my fabric?
Excellent question! The answer is: Heat’n Bond Lite!
There are a lot of brands of sewable fusible adhesive for appliqué work, but I’ve been using only Heat’n Bond for years because it is excellent quality. I buy a 5 1/4 yard roll* and it lasts for a long time. But there’s another type: Heat’n Bond Lite in letter-size sheets* that you can print directly onto!
The sheets are just like the normal Heat’n Bond, with a paper side on the top and a “sticky” side on the bottom.
I’ve been working on a new project, some appliqué packs with designs that I’ve drawn myself. This “POW!” one is part of my Comic Book appliqué pack (still to be released) and the parts can be easily printed on one sheet of printable Heat n Bond.
Want to find out how to print on Heat n Bond to make all your appliqué work an absolute breeze? Let me show you how, as well as some great troubleshooting tricks!
First of all, it’s important to note that Heat’n Bond printable sheets are US Letter size and are to be used ONLY in an ink jet printer. If you have an ink jet printer that you usually use with Letter size paper, you can skip this next troubleshooting section by clicking here.
Oh no! I don’t use Letter size!
Guess what? I live in Italy, so our printer paper is all A4 size, so I’m in the same boat as you.
Luckily, most printers will let you print on different sizes of paper. Just look in the printing options box for a place to select the size and set it to “Letter”, as shown above (in Italian, sorry!). When you load the paper in the printer, make sure you adjust those little clip thingies that keep the paper in place. And that’s it!
Oh no! I have a laser printer, not ink jet!
And once again, I’m in the same boat as you. While preparing this post, I thought that I would try printing this paper in it anyway, and that was a BIG mistake because laser printers are hot inside. And heat and adhesive are not a good mix inside your printer. The sheet of fusible paper became fused to one of the rollers. Whoops!
My husband and I spent three hours trying to access that roller by taking apart half the printer and eventually gave up. And of course it was only when we’d given up that the paper somehow came loose and we managed to get it out. Miraculously the printer still worked after that, and I learned my lesson. You can’t see well in this picture, but the adhesive at the top of the sheet of paper was totally melted.
But this hasn’t stopped me from running Heat’n Bond through my laser printer, because I figured out a great trick that works perfectly!
All you have to do is tape the Heat’n Bond to a regular sheet of printer paper! It’s as simple as that! And you can use regular Heat’n Bond from a roll, too, not just the printable pieces.
I’m using a sheet of red printer paper so that you can see the difference between the two layers. Trim down the sides of the Heat’n Bond so that there is about a 1 cm margin all around. Center it on the printer paper (“sticky” side down) and tape down all the sides with regular transparent tape.
It’s important to make sure that the Heat’n Bond is perfectly flat and that you’ve secured ALL the edges smoothly. Then just stick it in your printer tray and print on it normally! Easy peasy, right?
In the picture above you can see the difference between how much laser printer printed on regular printer paper (on the right) and how it printed on Heat’n Bond (left). As you can see, it’s pretty smudgy. I am pretty sure that this doesn’t happen with ink jet printers. This is annoying, but it’s still faster and easier than having to trace very intricate designs.
What if I don’t want to use a printer?
No prob! Just trace onto the Heat’n Bond! The easiest way is to print out the page on regular printer paper, put the Heat’n Bond on top of it and trace the shapes.
Remember that appliqué shapes need to be backwards, like mirror images, to come out right!
Another trick I love is to trace words and images directly from the computer screen. Just put the Heat’n Bond on the screen and trace!
What if I want a different size?
Glad you asked! This happens to me a lot, for example to make the POW! design big enough to fit on this throw pillow. (Originally this was a horribly ugly Christmas pillow and a ripped velour skirt.) Here you have two choices:
- Print the design at a different scale. In your printing dialog box, just change the scale to a number higher than 100% for a larger appliqué, or at a lower number if you need a smaller appliqué.
- Enlarge the design on the computer screen. This is what I did for this pillow. I visualized the file at 150% in Adobe Reader and just traced it off of the screen like that. You can see the difference in the sizes below.
Now that you’ve printed…
Great, so you’ve printed your appliqué design onto Heat’n Bond! Now just cut out the parts and machine appliqué as you would normally. (Continue reading for a quick recap.)
If you used my double-layer trick, separate the printer paper from the Heat’n Bond and make sure that you’ve removed all tape from the adhesive paper.
Sewing the appliqué
At this point, just prepare and appliqué as you would normally. (Click here for more details on machine appliqué.)
First, cut out the shapes on the Heat’n Bond, then fuse them to the wrong side of the fabric as described in the packaging instructions.
You can see that my smudgy laser-printed designs further smudged onto the fabric, which is annoying, but not really a problem because those parts will get discarded.
Cut out the shapes. Use an Xacto knife* on a small cutting mat* to remove inside parts that will get discarded. I also used my super sharp embroidery scissors.
Next, position the appliqués sticky side down on the background fabric and iron according to the instructions. Start from the bottom layer and work your way up if there are pieces that go on top of each other. (top)
Then sew around the appliqués with a zig zag stitch or blanket stitch, again starting from the lower layers. I choose a thick zig zag to give the effect of outlined letters and shapes used in comic strips. (bottom)
Has it hit you yet? POW!! It’s as easy as can be! It actually takes a whole lot longer to explain all the troubleshooting than it actually takes to do it.
Once you know how to print on Heat n Bond, you’ll be finding all sorts of fun designs to appliqué all over the place! And stay tuned, because I have a whole bunch of great appliqué designs coming up for you!
Want to practice printing appliqués right away? Then check out this pillow made from felted wool sweaters with a free printable leaf appliqué template!
*This post contains affiliate links.
23 thoughts on “How to print on Heat N Bond for fast and easy appliqué!”
Cool- I love the comic inspired design.
Thanks, Toya! I really love comic-style things! They colors and geometric shapes really appeal to me and make me happy!
Such a great project and tutorial. I always get confused with text and which way is the right and which way is backwards.
YES, Cassy! Same thing here! My appliqué packs are also freezer paper stencil packs, and those are the right way around. You wouldn’t believe how confused I got working through the backwards and frontwards letters and shapes. Actually, the shapes are even more confusing, because sometimes they look similar, but when you go to make them, you realize they’re not right! Eek!
Oh my goodness. Your very sharp embroidery scissors will dull quickly when you use them to cut paper. Keep all fabric scissors far away from papers.
Haha! I know, you’re absolutely right, Sandra! This was just a few tiny snips, so I made an exception! 🙂
Thanks for sharing your experience. I live in Belgium and my printer is A4 size too, so your tutorial will be very useful! I love embellishing t-shirts and I have learned a great deal with your tutorials.
Maybe you could explain us how to manage freezer paper for appliqué.
Hi Nuria, I actually have never used freezer paper for appliqué, though my next tutorial will be similar to this one… about printing on freezer paper to use for stencilling! 🙂 Glad to hear that this was useful for you!
What a neat idea! I’d have never thought of doing the printing on the Heat n Bond.
It’s fantastically easy, so it’s perfect if you have problems tracing designs precisely. Give it a try, Ronda!
I’m following the directions for the Heat & Bond in my inkjet printer but the sheets keep jamming. I’ve wasted 5 sheets so far. Why am I having a problem?
Hi, Muriel, if you’re using an inkjet printer, you shouldn’t have any problems. The pages are on the thinner side, so have you tried setting the paper type to a lighter weight paper in the printing dialogue box? That may help.
Mine just wouldn’t work with our inkjet. I tried making adjustments, but no dice!! UGH>
Muriel, you can also do what Colleen mentioned in the comment below yours, to simply tape the piece of Heat n Bond to regular printer paper as I show in this post for laser printers, and put it through your ink jet printer. She finally had success with it that way!
THANK YOU is all i can say!! I destroyed 5 sheets of heat n bond LITE sending it through our inkjet printer. It just wouldnt handle the thin paper. I almost had the laserjet meltdown you describe, hense the reason I attempted with the inkjet…. UGH! Went back to the laserjet and taped each piece of heat n bond to a regular printer paper and Whaaa laaa!!! You saved me a lot of work!!
Yah!! I’m so glad that my disaster helped you avoid a similar one! Thanks for telling me, Colleen! 🙂
Help! Ok…so I had no clue you couldn’t use the Heat n Bond in a laser printer until AFTER it got stuck in my printer…. I was able to ease the HnB out of the printer and like you the top inch and a half or so of the HnB fused on to my printer roller. I tried to send a piece of plain paper through and now it is stuck….ugh! Is there a way to fix it? I would be grateful for any advice…
Oh, I’m so sorry, Julia, and I feel your pain!! I don’t know what to tell you. After quite a while of fiddling and trying to pick out the sticky stuff, it peeled off. But I was lucky, and another time that something else got stuck in there, not even the tech assistance could fix it. So I suggest bringing yours in to see if they can take it apart. Good luck!
My husband says I cant use out laser printer to print on my heat n bond. I already did by taping it to a sheet of paper and it worked fine. I used the roll kind. did you ever have any trouble after the first time you did it and it got stuck?
Hi Lia, No, I didn’t have any trouble after that, but I was lucky because I was able to completely unstick the Heat n Bond from the inner rollers. If you’re being careful to tape it to a sheet of paper, it should be fine if the printer is working normally with regular printer paper.
Have you tried fusing the heatnbond onto fabric then putting through the printer? Then you can cut out the printed shape