Photo to Fabric

Over the years, I’ve accumulated a massive amount of photos from nature, whether it be from a planned trip to a botanical garden, a hike through the woods, or just the trees blooming in my own front yard.

I had also been dabbling with Adobe Photoshop for some time, although I wasn’t using it to work with photos at first, I did gravitate in that direction eventually.

As amazingly powerful and creatively rewarding as Photoshop ultimately is, it still wasn’t enough. Yikes! I then discovered Topaz Labs, and was blown away by the variety of high-tech products they offered, and the creative opportunities available for an amatuer photographer, like myself.

So, that being said, I am not a professional photographer. Even though I own a relatively high end, point and shoot camera, with an awesome zoom lens, I still often find myself using my iphone to take many photos.

But, being the amateur photo taker that I am, did not matter, because the photos were one element in a much larger, more rewarding creative process, that involved printable cotton sheets, and a sewing machine.

About a couple years ago, I asked a friend to teach me how to sew. Sadly, I did not learn this amazing skill until I was already in my early 40’s, but it’s never too late to learn!

So, from Photo to Fabric is an exciting creative process, and I’d like to share some of the fun results I’ve achieved with LOTS of experimentation as the foundation.

Our creative projects are personal and provide us with joy, so the most important thing is to embrace the experimentation and know that it is done when you are happy with the results.

For this photo, it was really low contrast, so I used a Levels Adjustment in Photoshop. It’s always a good idea to keep a copy of the original before any permanent transformations.

Using Topaz Studio in Photoshop

I had a hard time with this one because some of the colors from the background were looking very muddy. So, I decided to make it very abstract with a completely different set of colors in play. In Topaz Studio, I used the Urban filters, and chose one called Molten Gold.

What I love about this process, is there are so many directions it can go, and you can make many different variations.

For this next one, I used Topaz Studio, and chose the Impression filters, eventually settling on Van Gogh.  I also cropped the photo a little bit to get rid of some of the dirt from the bottom, and some of the bricks behind the flower.  I will likely spend more time fiddling in Photoshop, possibly masking out the dirt all together, but I like the effect it gave for the flower and the foliage.

For the Queen Anne’s Lace, I already knew I wanted to try something from the Vintage options, and a black and white option.  The Vintage filter I chose is called: Giclee Print II, and the BW was from Monochromatic, titled: Scooby BW 01.

And, the final one to share in this post, is the same as the cover photo, and you can see how drastically different it changed from the original.  For this I used a filter set in Topaz Studio, called AI ReMix, and I chose Delicate Blush.  I did an additional Levels Adjustment in Photoshop, just to deepen some of the pinks, so when I printed on the cotton fabric, it would be a little more vibrant.

Printing on Fabric

So, now to mention the part of this post that is actually in the title: to Fabric

There are quite a few good options you can choose from, but my personal favorite brand is: Jacquard Ink Jet Fabric Sheets.  I buy these on Amazon, and I like to get the 30 sheets per pack.  You place the sheets in your printer, just like you would paper or cardstock, with the shiny side facing up.

I do not have a high end printer.  I’ve been using an Epson XP-830, and I have been very happy with the results.

I hope this post will inspire you to experiment with your photos, making use of some of the exciting software tools available, like Photoshop and Topaz Labs.  If you don’t know if you want to invest in new software, you can always try the free trial period these products offer.

Stay tuned for an upcoming post, showing some fun projects I’ve tried with my printed fabrics.

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