Printing on fabric

It seems that every time that we travel our luggage takes a serious beating. This last time it was my luggage tag, broken in half and my address (business card) missing. I already threw away the broken tag before I took a picture so here is what the tag looked like before. It is firm plastic. I thought that it would stand up to just about any abuse, guess not.

I was once told that every bag should have a second address written and placed in a zippered pocket on the outside of the bag. I can’t remember who told me this, but they were one smart cookie. Naturally i began my search on the internet looking for tutorials for luggage tags.

I found a few good tutorials for luggage tags and business card luggage tags at Skip to My Lou. The first tutorial involves printing on fabric. Have you ever done this? I have never printed on fabric with any inkjet printer, so I was a bit skeptical that the type would print clearly and not spread or bleed. It worked perfectly! Yippie.

Next I was worried that should the tags get wet (rain/snow/humidity) the ink would bleed. I did heat set the tags for 5, 10, 15, 20 seconds then sprayed them with water. All the ink on the tags ran and were ruined regardless of how long I heat set the ink.

I remembered that I have a spray bottle of water repellant treatment that I bought at JoAnn’s (use your 50% off coupon – FYI they have a smartphone app that allows you to use coupons from your phone). I applied using the directions and let the tags dry overnight. I left the tags on the freezer paper for this step.

After I applied the fabric protector the tags were much better at withstanding water.

When I went to wipe the water drops off some ink came off with the wiping but the text did not smudge.

I wanted to see how the ink stood up to soaking (top is original – freezer paper removed, bottom was soaked in water)

Then I wanted to wash the tag to see if any ink would be left. There is a faint amount of ink left on the tag, but it is very hard to read unless you have good light.

The final verdict… great tool if you do not need a waterproof product. I finally ended up using iron on vinyl to protect the printed label. It is not completely waterproof. I hope that if they do get wet my address will still be readable and my clothes will not get ink on them.

I must mention that I did not follow the tutorial links above. I mainly used them as a reference. I made my tags to fit my address so they are a little bit different size. I left off the hanging strap on some so I could place them inside a zipper pocket on the outside of my bag.

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