During the summer of 2000 I did some experiments printing with BJS 2000. These are the notes I made after the experimental printing.
First of all, I wanted to check out whether BJS worked at all, which it did.
Secondly, I wanted to see the result on different fabric qualities and textures, which was quite interesting, but the differences are not so noticeable that they are caught by my scanner, so I have no pictures to show the differences, you will just have to take my word for it.
I also tried different washing methods and a simple fading test, which can be seen here.
Scan and print settings.
I scanned a photo which had "all" the colors represented, which had both light and darker areas, and some small details. I scanned at 300dpi, no changes were made, and everything were printed using a Canon BJC-7000 printer with the BCI 61 cartridge in it. I used the transparency setting, the fabric was ironed to freezer paper and cut to A4 size before manually fed through the printer.
All the fabric pieces except one were soaked in Bubble Jet Set 2000 and dried outside in the shadow. When dry, they were first ironed to remove wrinkles before ironed to the freezer paper.
After printing most of the fabrics were hand washed in cool/tepid water (somewhere between 20-30 degrees C) with Milo in the water, and then rinsed. Since I worked wint many prints simultaneously, only one was washed after the minimum setting time recommended on the bottle, all the others sat longer before washing, some as long as 24 hours, and I could not see that this made any difference to the results.
Two different fabric types were machine washed at 40 and 60 degrees C, and on these some of the colour had migrated to the white fabric surrounding the picture, despite using the Dye Magnet.
Some fabrics were ironed after printing and before washing (hand and machine), but I could see no difference between ironed and non-ironed fabrics.
I did not try the Bubble Jet Rinse as it was not available in Norway at the time.
How did the colours hold up?
All the fabrics lost some colour when hand washed, and the blue colour bled more than the others.
But there was no noticeable difference between washed and unwashed pictures, except on the untreated fabric where the picture lost a lot of its colour, also here mostly the blue one.
The pictures which were machine washed came out in a poorer quality compared to hand washing on the same fabric qualities. On the "coarser" cotton qualities machine washing seemed to remove some of the fibers, which caused white spots in the pictures. There was no noticeable difference in this respect between macnine washing on 40 and 60 degrees C.
Two of the fabric qualities hung on my washing line outside in the sun and rain for a month, togehter with a piece of ordinary quilting fabric.
The pictures printed with BJS faded quite a lot compared to the ones that stayed inside and were not exposed to sunlight, and also a lot more than the quilting fabric which had only a very slight fading, barely noticeable.
It looked like it was the red ink in the pictures which faded most.
I suppose that the amount of fading is dependent on the brand and quality of the printer ink which is used, but in general I would be careful of exposing these prints to too much light if they are to last long.
The different fabric qualities.
I tried printing on many different qualities of both cotton and silk fabric. I have not tried other fibers yet.
The first two cotton qualities mentioned below were the ones that were tested for different washing methods and fading, so I had to print several of these, the others had just one print of each.
The evaluation of colour quality etc below were all done using the end result, i.e. after the final washing and ironing.
Generally speaking pictures printed on any fabric come out lighter, or paler, than the same pictures printed on paper, but in varying degree depending on the fabric quality. Go here to see an example of the difference between the original picture and picture printed on fabric.
The structure and coarseness of the fabric also contribute to the end result, which were quite intersting in some cases.
1. Kona Bay PFD (prepared for dyeing), cotton (Hancock's)
This is a densely woven fabric, but a bit heavier and not as dense as Pima mentioned below. One of the three top fabrics for best result colorwise, and next to Pima for being most like a paper print.
The prints that were machine washed had some of the colour run onto the white edges, and was generally paler than the hand washed one. They also had some paler stripes where there had been folds in the fabric during washing, however, this was more noticable on the next fabric.
2. Cotton for bedsheets (SGS Fredrikstad)
This is the type of cotton fabric used for bedsheets, the strong quality our mothers and grandmothers would use. It is a coarser quality than Kona, but the weaving is quite dense.
This fabric absorbed most ink and therefore gave the deepest colour tones of all the fabrics I tried. The coarseness of the fabric rendered a kind of "canvas-effect" to the pictures, as if they were painted on canvas like a mini oil-painting. Therefore the prints scored low on resembling paper prints.
Came out fine through hand washing, but the machine washing loosened some of the fibres so there were white spots on the pictures, and also noticeable paler stripes where the fabric had been folded during the washing cycle. Also some colour ran onto the white edges.
This fabric was also the one which was printed on when untreated with BJS, but that one bled a lot and paled considerably when hand washed.
3. Pima PFD cotton 205 thread count (LunnFabrics)
This is a fine and densely woven cotton fabric, and one of the three fabrics that yielded the best colour result for the prints. The dense weave of this fabric gave the most paper-like print quality.
4. Combed Cotton Lawn, 200+ thread-count (Lunn Fabrics)
This is also a densely woven cotton, but lighter than Pima. Gave a fine Paper-like print, but the colours were a bit paler than on the Pima fabric.
5. Pima Unbleached cotton 205 thread count (Lunn Fabrics)
Same quality as no 3, but unbleached. The print result quite like the one for no 3, only with slightly warmer colour tones because of the unbleached fabric. Can give black and white prints an aged look because of the yellowish tone.
6. Batik Fabric cotton (SGS, Fredrikstad)
This is a PFD quality, but heavier and with a looser weave than e.g. Kona. Medium colour quality, some "canvas-effect" because of the weave.
The colour bled a little onto the white when hand washed.
7. Habotai silk 35g (SGS, Fredrikstad)
This fabric is so light that some of the ink went right through and coloured the freezer paper behind the fabric. The colour print on the fabric was therefore quite pale. After soaking in BJS the fabric got very wrinkled, and the wrinkles were difficult to iron out before ironing to the freezer paper. These wrinkles caused a certain "crinkle-effect" in the print, almost like marbling. When the fabric was washed after printing, ironing was no problem any more.
8. Crepe de Chine, silk crepe 69g (SGS, Fredrikstad)
This fabric also let some ink through to the backing paper, but not so much as the previous one, so the colour quality was better. The crepe structure in this fabric gave a special look to the print which none of the prints on the other fabrics have.
9. Dupion Silk (SGS, Fredrikstad)
Colour quality approximately the same as silk crepe, but the coarsest of the uneven fibres in this fabric rendered some white spots, some so eyecatching that they disturbed the very special "canvas-effect" which the uneven weave gave to the print.