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9 Ways to Write on Fabric

Using sequins to write letters may be time-consuming, but the results are stunning.
Appliqué iron-on letters often look expensive and take very little time to apply.
For the artistic type, writing letters with fabric markers might be the best way to go.
Using sequins to write letters may be time-consuming, but the results are stunning.

Using sequins to write letters may be time-consuming, but the results are stunning.

Photo: Dana Finkle

Fun techniques for adding text to projects

There are a surprising number of ways to write on fabric. Some techniques are straightforward, while others require several materials and more time. The method you choose is a matter of personal preference and will generally be based on the result you're trying to achieve. Below, I'll describe nine ways to write on fabric so you can decide which technique(s) works best for you.

1. Heat Transfer Paper

This is a quick and easy way to iron a printed image directly onto fabric. To achieve this effect, you'll typically need to print the design's mirror image onto heat transfer paper with an inkjet printer. However, you'll need to refer to the manufacturer's instructions for your specific paper. (In this example, we used Silhouette's printable heat transfer material for light fabrics.) Next, cut around the object(s) as close to the ink as possible. Then, press down on the image with a hot iron before peeling off the backing.

Heat transfer paper with printed image It helps to practice this technique at least once before transferring the actual design to the fabric.

2. Iron-On Appliqué Letters

It doesn't get much easier than ironing a precut appliqué letter onto fabric. Simply place the appliqué right side up on the fabric's right side in the desired location. Cover the appliqué with a press cloth and press the letter with a hot, dry iron. Note that directions for this technique vary, so be sure to refer to the manufacturer's instructions for your specific appliqué.

Iron-on appliqué

The letter shown is one of Simplicity's iron-on embroidery letters.

3. PreCut Iron-On Letters

This process is similar to option 2 and requires you to read the manufacturer's instructions thoroughly before beginning. To apply a Dritz iron-on letter, as shown below, set a dry iron to its cotton setting. Place the letter, adhesive side down, on the fabric in the desired location. Cover the letter with a press cloth, and press on the letter for 15 to 20 seconds. Finally, remove the sheet while it's still hot.

Pre-cut iron-on letter You'll be amazed at how quickly this process works.

4. Buttons

This option is more time-consuming than the last, but it's much more interesting and fun to create. To begin, select a button size and shape that works best for your project. Use an embroidery hoop to hold the fabric taut. Then, plan out the orientation. Double-thread a hand-sewing needle and begin sewing the design, one button at a time.

Buttons

Before you begin sewing, consider lightly sketching the design on the fabric's right side with a pencil or water-soluble marker to keep the buttons properly aligned at all times.

5. Sequins

Writing with sequins is a great way to add sparkle to what could have been a bland project. Begin by selecting a sequin size and shape that works best for your project. Next, use an embroidery hoop to hold the fabric taut. Now, it's time to plan how you'd like to orient the sequins. If desired, lightly draw the design on the fabric's right side with a pencil or water-soluble marker. Finally, double-thread a hand-sewing needle and begin sewing the design, one sequin at a time.

Sequins

Sequin letters are eye-catching and easily secured with two stitches per sequin.

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Comments (4)

Kawef Kawef writes: Fantastic Work...Keep it up
Posted: 5:29 am on July 27th

Viberks Viberks writes: Sequins look very nice to me this option like the most
Posted: 4:26 am on June 6th

PatHersl PatHersl writes: Enter the world of rubber stamping. I have a set of letters and use permanent ink to stamp when the feeling hits. On my new granddaughter's daddy quilt I added "Be smart. Be happy. Play fair. Love well."
Posted: 4:18 pm on June 7th

Muffin58 Muffin58 writes: I'm blessed to have a Janome MC9900 sewing & embroidery machine. Previously I had a Husqvarna Viking Designer 1 sewing & embroidery machine. So I love writing on fabric with machine embroidery.
Posted: 3:27 pm on June 7th

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