How Do You Do That?

How Do You Do That?

How do you do that?  This is a question I receive often through emails, Facebook posts and messages, forum posts, and even in person.  So since the writing prompt for today in the Article Writing Challenge is to address such questions, this particular one seemed like the best candidate.


Nursery Quilt and Pillow Set

This question that frequently arises, “How do you do that?” is in reference to how I create all my imprinted photos on products such as the quilt and pillow in the above photo.

I finally wrote the whole explanation in a note on Facebook at my K-Lee’s Kreations page, as well as at Etsy and Bonanza, so people would understand the process.


Since so many people ask about the imprinting process that I use to make my photo products, I thought I would explain it here. 

Most people send photos as ‘jpeg’ attachments via email – some folks send photos via ‘snail mail’ and I scan them. I typically do a little photo editing: do some cropping, make them the right size, add different effects, or whatever works for each photo.

I have a second printer set up with sublimation ink and dye sublimation transfer paper, which is what I use to print out the photos.

The photos are then IMPRINTED into a poly poplin fabric using sublimation ink and a heat press (my first one was a DIY version that  my ‘handy hubby’ made for me, with a simple hot plate and base! Now I have an official heat press made by Gecko Heat Transfer Solutions).

These are NOT regular computer ink photos!

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!)

You can also wash and dry the items with the imprinted photos! 


One of the reasons I most enjoy adding imprinted photos to my handmade products is the joy it evokes in those people who receive items as gifts or who buy them for themselves or others. I also get to share a little in the lives of those who trust me with their cherished photos, and I know I’m creating heirloom products that are personal and meaningful to those who receive them.


I have concentrated primarily on creating customized products, made to order –but people often ask if I can make some ready-to-buy items. SO…recently, I decided to create a new line of products and call them K-Lee’s Kollectibles.

This will be a line of about two dozen items–a mixture of bags, pillows, wall quilts, lap quilts, and quilt/pillow sets–that will still feature imprinted images, but they will be ready-to-buy, featuring photos from various family members and friends who have agreed to let me use their photos.  Here is a group collection of sample items:

So…that is how I do that!

Did you have any idea of the process involved in adding imprinted photos? What do you think of my idea for K-Lee’s Kollectibles?


9 thoughts on “How Do You Do That?

  1. What a great idea to imprint photos onto material to use for patchwork articles. The process sounds incredibly technical and most people couldn’t do it. Which is all the more reason for them to buy from you–clever girl.
    Francene Stanley recently posted..Oct 4thMy Profile

  2. You’re right. Dye sublimation inks are no regular types. Instead of the CMYK digital color spectrum, in dye sub printing, CMYO is being used. That stands for Cyan-magenta-yellow-overprint. Black is replaced with an overprint. The perfect fabric for this kind of print processing are those made from polyester material. Your print results above look marvelous, btw.
    Barry Brown recently posted..Pricing per Linear Foot for Vinyl Banners?My Profile

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