Talents? Who, Me? or How I Create Imprinted Photos on Fabric

—Yay, January 3rd and my third post…so far, so good! Now I just have to get my other seven blogs up and running, and I’ll be on my way to meeting my early goals for 2015. 🙂



So the writing prompt from the Ultimate Blog Challenge nicely dovetails with yesterday’s post about writing FAQs for my businesses:

Day 3: Don’t Overthink It

We all have things that are unique to our experience, talents and life. Just because it’s something you live with everyday doesn’t mean it won’t be interesting to someone else.


So I thought I would once again talk about my OTHER business, K-Lee’s Kreations, especially since I’m working on improving my marketing and promotion for it after having an increase in pre-holiday orders at both my Etsy shop and my Bonanza booth (my own K-Lee’s Kreation site is newer than either of those; I haven’t really done much promotion and have only had one sale through that site so far).


It’s funny, because sewing, quilting, and creating (“kreating”) in general have become like second nature to me. I’m mostly self-taught, which I guess is consistent with my interest in and pursuit of lifelong learning.


I can’t quite remember when or how it happened, but several years ago, another Maine entrepreneur contacted me about collaborating with her to make photo-imprinted products. She had all the equipment to imprint photos on many types of products (mugs, hats, mouse pads, and similar items), but had received several requests for photo “memory” pillows and quilts.


That was my introduction to imprinting. For a couple years, she would send me imprinted photo fabric squares to add to pillows and quilts for orders she received, and I would send her the photos and wait for the photo squares back from her for orders I received.


Then, in 2007, I took a free 60-hour business course called “New Ventures” sponsored by the Maine Centers for Women, Work, & Community. The outcome of that course was an initial draft of a business plan for my KLK business. In addition, during the course, I received encouragement from the instructor and classmates to consider investing in my own imprinting equipment and supplies. This effectivey cut out the “middle woman” (in this case) and helped decrease costs and time overall (especially time spent waiting for her to do the imprinting and mail the squares back to me).


So with my hubby’s agreement and support, I got some advice from this other entrepreneur (who understood and supported the idea), plus I did some research into the whole imprinting process to learn what I needed to purchase:

Epson C88 printer

CISS (Continuous Ink Supply System)

Sublimation ink

Dye transfer paper

Heat press

Teflon sheets

Poly-poplin fabric

The Epson printer is rigged with the CISS and sublimation ink. This is what a CISS looks like and how it works in the printer (no affiliate link here – just a helpful video!)



After printing the photos or text in mirror image on the dye transfer paper, the next step is to use the heat press to transfer the image to the fabric.


I place the paper image side down on the fabric on the base of the heat press, and then place the teflon sheet between the paper and the top plate of the heat press. Only about 25 seconds of about 400-degree heat and pressure successfully transfers the printed image onto the fabric. Then I sew the imprinted photo fabric squares into various products.


As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the combination of the sublimation ink and the heat press transforms the ink into a gas, which permeates the fabric. This causes the photos to virtually become part of the fabric, making them permanent, while the fabric stays soft and flexible (not the stiff ironed-on feeling!)  AND you can also wash and dry the items with the imprinted photos!


So there you go – that’s the story of how I added to my repertoire of “kreative” talents and imprinted photos have become my most popular option for the products I make.


One imprinted square on a table runner I made.
One imprinted square on a table runner I made.


Did you have any idea before reading this of how much was involved in the process? What about you? Have you recently added to your list of talents? Care to share what it is?


Find Answers with My FAQs Related to My Businesses<< >>Funny Things Happen with Animals in the Home

About the author : DrKLeeBanks

13 comments to “Talents? Who, Me? or How I Create Imprinted Photos on Fabric”

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  1. Vick M. - January 4, 2015 Reply

    That looks like something I’d enjoy… if I could afford all that equipment!!! LOL.
    Vick M. recently posted..Don’t Leave Me Hanging!

  2. Nan Thorell - January 4, 2015 Reply

    What a great tutorial! I’ve seen those and always wondered how they were made. Thanks for the pictures.
    Nan Thorell recently posted..Texas Brisket and Pinto Beans

  3. Sharon - January 4, 2015 Reply

    That looks like a really fun craft activity to make personalized gifts and keepsakes. Amazing process. 🙂

  4. Patricia - January 4, 2015 Reply

    Oh my! You must be busy! 7 more blogs and a thriving business! I love the idea of memory photo pillows!
    Patricia recently posted..Coping with Perthes Disease

  5. Amy White - January 4, 2015 Reply

    Wow! Truly awesome and I had no idea how much work actually went into creating one of those photo creations! Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor - January 4, 2015 Reply

    Hi K’Lee, I have to admit this is not really an interst area of mine, but i really like the way you have laid this blog out and i think if anyone was interested in this line of business they could be up and running in no time by doing nothing other than following your tutorial, they would obvioisly, also need some of your artistic ability 🙂

  7. Francene Stanley - January 4, 2015 Reply

    The process sounds very complicated, but wonderful. I’m sure your clients love having their quilted goods personalized this way. In 1989, I purchased my wedding photo imprinted on canvas and mounted inside a frame. I look at it every day.
    Francene Stanley recently posted..Is cancer the best exit from life?

  8. Sophie Bowns - January 4, 2015 Reply

    I really feel like I need to start over.
    -I love your photo creations.
    Sophie Bowns recently posted..Defeatist- Chapter 6, part 4

  9. Sandy Mangis - January 4, 2015 Reply

    this is great. My mom has done this for years. All through my daughters sporting events. She has many pillows with her on them.

  10. Tamsin - January 7, 2015 Reply

    Yes, I know first hand that it isn’t as easy as it looks! I’ve had attempts at this, not particularly successful, though 😉
    Tamsin recently posted..The Twelve Gifts of Birth

  11. Nadine Renee - January 10, 2015 Reply

    Nice project!! Looks really fun!
    Nadine Renee recently posted..Are You Sleeping With “The Enemy”?

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