Fabric FAQ

infoPlease take some time to read our fabric FAQ before placing a fabric printing order or contacting us with your questions. Art of Where always encourages purchasing a sample of your artwork printed on fabric before going ahead with larger orders.

Printing Basics

  • helpHow do you print on natural fabrics?

    We print directly onto our natural fabrics (silk, cotton, modal) using nano-pigments and a large format digital printer. Our pigment inks are waterbased and safe for the environment and children.

  • helpHow do you print on synthetic fabrics?

    We print synthetic fabrics like polyester using a sublimation method. In sublimation, your artwork is first printed onto a special paper and then transferred onto fabric using a very hot press. The inks once transferred to the fabric are vibrant and highly washable.

  • helpWhat is the difference between pigment printing and sublimation?

    Art of Where offers both pigment printing and sublimation printing. The main difference between these 2 methods of printing is that pigment printing is for 100% natural fabrics like silk or cotton and sublimation printing is specific to 100% synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon. We have 2 completely different printing systems with different inks to produce either pigment prints or sublimation prints. The print outcome on silk fabrics versus the print outcome on our synthetic fabrics will be completely different from each other as the material and content of various textiles will vary.

  • helpCan I print a colour chart?

    At the moment, Art of Where does not offer a premade colour chart printed on fabric. If you are interested in testing colours with our systems, we suggest designing a colour chart to fit a sample swatch and ordering a swatch of the fabrics you would like to test on. Please keep in mind that even though we do our best to produce consistent colours order to order, your printed fabric may vary order to order for some of the reasons mentioned above.

  • helpCan I have samples of the fabrics offered?

    Yes! You can order samples that are either preprinted or that can be printed with your artwork.

  • helpWill my fabric always print the same, order to order?

    Your fabric may not print the same, order to order, for reasons described above. At Art of Where we do our best to be consistent with prints, but there are factors that are out of our control (base fabric colour, room humidity, and even pressing temperature to name a few) that can cause orders to vary.

  • helpWill my fabric print on grain?

    We can never guarantee that your fabric will print on grain. The reason for this is even a slight slant on the fabric when it is loaded on the printer means the fabric will print off grain, especially with our silk fabrics. Please only cut your fabric with scissors. Do not assume you can rip it along the grainline or that it will rip straight to your artwork.

  • helpThere is a flaw in my printed fabric. What do I do?

    Just like we ask you to do in regards to mechanical issues with a products, kindly contact us and include pictures that describe the issue. We work with our customers on a case by case basis to solve print flaws. Please note that some very small imperfections, though not ideal, are allowable. This can include tiny dust dots, and some ink left on the selvage of the fabric (but not effecting the print).

Sublimation Printing Specifics

  • helpHow is sublimation printed?

    Sublimation is a process in which your artwork is printed onto a special paper then transfered onto fabric at high temperatures.

  • helpWhat types of inks are used?

    Dye-sub water based inks are used in sublimation.

  • helpWhy can I only print 1m at a time in sublimation?

    Our maximum size for sublimation printing is 54" by 1m (39"). Our size for fabric sublimation printing is determined by the size of our heat press.

  • helpWill the colours in my artwork print accurately?

    Unlike pigment printing, sublimation is very accurate to your original artwork. The colour range of our sublimation system is wider than our pigment system. Colours may still vary, but not as much as with pigment printing. The black in sublimation printing is much deeper and richer than pigment printing.

  • helpWhat are the allowable variations that can occur during sublimation printing?

    There are some variations that can occur with sublimation. Dark colours on light (usually most noticeable solid black against white or light colours) can shadow or bleed slightly when printing. This is common with text areas. Small lint pieces or dust may produce tiny dots on your print. Also, dust on the fabric may transfer when heated so it actually sets into the fabric. Small areas like this are in our allowable range of variations. All sublimation prints are placed manually on the fabric and will most likely not follow the grain of the fabric. There is no way for us to guarantee that your sublimation print will be exactly on grain but we will do our best when manually setting it.

  • helpHow do I care for sublimation printed fabrics?

    Sublimation printed fabrics can be easily cared for. In most cases this means machine washing and tumbling. Please find care instructions in our description of our fabrics.

  • helpWill my sublimation printed fabric fade?

    Sublimation printed fabrics show almost no fade with repeated washing.

  • helpWill my sublimation printed fabric shrink?

    Before we print your fabric with sublimation, it needs to be pre heated which also preshrinks the fabric. In most cases, sublimation fabrics will not shrink but please test wash a swatch if your project is sensitive to shrinking.

  • helpCan I provide my own fabric for sublimation?

    No. Unfortunately, we only print on our own fabrics.

Pigment Printing Specifics

  • helpWhat are the limitations of pigment printing?

    Most of the limitations you will see in pigment printing are related to the colour range of the inks and include:

    • Solid colour areas : Solid colour areas, especially of black or dark colours, are not ideal for pigment printing. These areas will tend to show fading after washing. Also, since pigments cannot print a deep true black (black tends to print as a very dark grey), large solid areas will highlight this. However, when included in a design (and not a large solid area) black will certainly look black in relation to the image colours.

    • Areas of low contrast : It is best not to print colors on top of each other that are only a shade lighter than the underneath color. For example, light blue on top of a slightly darker blue. We have 7 different color pigment inks and the color range that we can print is limited to the spectrum of colors that these pigments can combine to make. Shades that are within a few points of each other on the color scale we may not be able to physically reproduce and therefore the 2 shades will print as 1 color only. By contrasting your colors more, you increase the chances that your print will be how you see it on your computer.

    • Fabric weights/surfaces and print outcome : When printing the same artwork on our full range of fabrics, you will notice differences in the colour outcomes between each. This is due to the fact that the different fabrics absorb the ink in different ways and is affected by both the weight and surface properties of the fabric.

    • Ink Spread : The spread of ink colours (mainly dark into light) is most noticeable on our silks. We need to achieve a fine balance between maximum ink use (for great colour) but not too much ink to overload the fabric. To make this work, we have tested and nudged our ink limits to the highest we can go and still print great definition. If your artwork has dark areas right beside light coloured areas, some minor bleeding of colours might still occur.

    • No white ink : Our printer does not print white ink and therefore any white in your design will be the base colour of the fabric. Since we print on natural fabrics, the base colour for each fabric types may be slightly off white especially when it comes to our silks.

    • No metallic ink : Our printer does not have metallic inks and can only attempt to reproduce using our 7 colours of ink metallic-like elements in your design.

  • helpWill my pigment printed fabric fade?

    Please expect fading on pigment printed fabrics including the silk. Pigment printed fabrics may be drycleaned to prevent fading.

  • helpCan you print on a natural fabric that I provide?

    No. Unfortunately, we only print on our own natural fabrics.

Silk Fabric Printing

  • helpHow is the silk fabric printed?

    Our silk fabric is printed using pigment inks. They are eco friendly, safe for children, and washable (but will fade minimally the first wash). What is unique about our silk printing is that we have adjusted our ink to print right through the fabric so you see the print on both sides. You will almost not be able to tell the difference from the right and wrong side of the print.

  • helpWill the colours in my artwork print accurately?

    The colour range of our pigment printer is smaller than that of a regular desktop paper printer. Our pigment inks may not be able to reproduce some of the colours in your original artwork. Kindly read about the limitations of pigment printing above.

  • helpWhat are the limitations or allowable variations of printing on silk?

    Silk is always unique and can have flaws naturally from it's production process. These imperfections in the silk that may be noticable to you include slubs or runs in the silk and an offwhite base colour. If the flaw is small and does not affect the overall look of the printed fabric or silk scarf, our quality control will approve the print.

  • helpHow do I care for my printed silk?

    Our silks can be machine washed. However, please expect a change in texture after machine washing. To soften our silk habotai after purchase, mist the fabric with water and tumble on low setting. When washing, please expect a 3-5% fade which may be uneven and more noticeable on dark and solid patches. To wash regularly, add a mild detergent or shampoo and machine wash cold on the delicate cycle. Tumble dry on low or hang to dry. Machine washing chiffon will result in it becoming more crinkled or crepe textured. You may also dry clean your printed silk fabrics.

  • helpWill my printed silk fade?

    Our silk fabrics experience minimal fading when washed. Usually around 3-5%. The fade may be uneven over the surface and will be more noticable on dark and solid patches.

  • helpWill my printed silk shrink?

    We heat set printed silk fabrics at 350 degrees. This means any shrinking that will occur usually occurs during the heat setting. However, please test for shrinking on a scrap of fabric if your project is sensitive to shrinking.

  • helpCan I iron printed silk?

    Yes. Our printed silk may be ironed on low or on the silk setting, with or without a pressing cloth. Please make sure that your iron is clean and will not stain the fabric. Pressing your fabric at over 350 degrees will cause a yellowing of the print.

Fabric Design Lab

  • helpHow do I design and order printed fabric?

    Please design and order your fabric in our Design Lab.

  • helpHow many images can I upload to the lab?

    Currently our Design Lab can only accept one image at a time. This means, if you would like to combine multiple images into say 1m of printed fabric, you will need to layout the fabric in a design program like Photoshop before uploading it to the lab.

  • helpWhat format should my image be?

    Our Fabric Design Lab accepts JPEG and PNG files up to 128MB.

  • helpWhat resolution should my image be?

    Please upload images at 150dpi.

  • helpWhy does my image appear so small in the lab?

    When your image uploads to our Lab, the Lab will default it to the size it will print well at 150dpi. If your image appears smaller than you would like, please upload the same image at a higher resolution. Our Lab only lets you decrease the size of the image, not increase it, since any increase would effect print quality.

  • helpWhat units is the lab in?

    Our Fabric Design Lab is in inches.

  • helpHow do I choose the size of fabric I want to order?

    Our Fabric Design Lab defaults to a swatch at 8" by 8". To choose a different size of fabric when ordering, please use the drop down menu on the right side. Since choosing a larger fabric size will zoom out the artwork on the screen, we suggest designing your fabric with the repeat as a swatch or quarter, then choosing the larger amount of fabric once you are satisfied with the layout.