Comparing Ink Jet Fabrics, Part I (Soft Scrap)



So today, we’re looking at Soft Scrap ink jet fabric.


This is a relatively new fabric to me.  I saw it for the first time a few months ago at the Cincinnati Quilt Show.


They had a great booth and I love their scrapbooking/quilting designs!  Really cute!


The thing I liked about Soft Scrap fabric is that it is a solid white fabric and all of the other ink jet fabrics I’ve seen are an off-white or ecru.  Also, it has a really nice feel; the fabric is of a high quality without being too thick and hard to use.


I have a run of the mill ink jet printer.  It’s a few years old and in good working condition.  It’s a HP C4480, Printer, Scanner, Copier.

All of the ink jet fabrics I used were “sew-on”.  No stickers or iron-on ink jet fabrics.



1st TEST Fabric:  SOFT SCRAP



I think you can see above on their packaging that the fabric sheet is “100% washable”.


According to the instructions washing Soft Scrap fabric sheets is optional.

They say in their instructions:

“If you are making wall hangings or items that will never be washed, you do not need to rinse the fabric!  3M Scotchgard works well.”


They have an entire sheet dedicated to how to rinse the fabric sheets (I guess in case you’re not making a wall hanging).  This was where I originally got the idea about using fabric softener.


According to SoftScrap, the reason to use the fabric softener rinse is:

     -remove the excess dye

     -remove the chemical

     -pre-shrink your fabric

     -restore the hand to the silks


Here’s what I found:


Fabric Quality:  A pure white fabric (finally)!!  Also, a really nice quality for sewing.  The closest to what I would consider a normal 100% cotton that I have found so far! 


**NOTE:  Each of the following tests used a newly printed logo. 


Test 1:  Quality of the original print using my HP printer.

                RESULTS:  Great Quality!  All of the colors were true and the image was

                sharp!  In this case, the reds and browns look GREAT!




Test 2:  Submerging logo in a pan of Fabric Softener and water.  (4 tablespoons per cup of water as recommended by Soft Scrap)

                RESULTS:  The logo looked good, no major loss of    

                color.  Good to go!  I still like this method for getting rid of excess inks and it

                is THE recommended method by Soft Scrap.


Test 3:  Ran the printed logo under running cold water. 

                RESULTS:  ohhhhhh…..darn.  LOTS of colors were lost.  The browns and reds

                are almost gone!!!!  Yikes!  Blacks and greens still look good though!


Test 4:  Sprayed with Scotchgard and then placed under cold running water in sink.

                RESULTS:  After Scotchgarding, there was no change to the colors!  Yeah!

                This is consistent with the companies’ recommendations for items that will not

                be washed.


                But…after the Scotchgard dried, I tried running the print under cold water to

                see if the Scotchgard offered any protection.  The color intensity was

                retained but some of the colors ran!

Since most quilts will be washed, I tested the logos in the washing machine.  Once again, I cut the logo in half.  One side was washed with detergent.  The other half was washed with fabric softener.


Here’s an example of what I did:



OH BOY!  Both sides are VERY faded!!!


Test 5: The ink jet fabric was washed using laundry detergent (ALL Free and Clear).

               RESULTS:   Yikes!  MAJOR fading (the bottom left of the picture)!!


Test 6:  The ink jet fabric was washed using fabric softener (Downy Free).

               RESULTS:  Slightly less fading that the detergent but a lot of color was still




**NOTE:  Soft Scrap directions say to wash in a low pH soap ONLY, i.e. Ivory.  I did not do this (I used ALL Free and Clear, this is just want I use in my own laundry and what I had on hand) so I can’t say if the results would have been better had the print been washed in a different low pH detergent.

When it comes to fabric softeners that say to use “a liquid fabric softener” and also mention that they have have good results with either Snuggle or All Brand Softeners.  I used Downy Free (again, what I had on hand).



BEST:  Scotchgard OR rinse (by hand) in a fabric softener/water mixture.


WORST: Using a non recommended laundry detergent in the washing machine. 

One last thing about Soft Scrap. 

I decided to make a pillow using my new logo.  I did the fabric softener rinse and got great results.  After making the pillow I decided to give it a little extra protection by Scotchgarding it.


I don’t know if it was something having to do with using the fabric softener first but after spraying with the Scotchgard, the colors RAN, this time it was the GREENS too!  Ugh…how disappointing!!

See below:




What did I determine about Soft Scrap?

-(using my HP printer)


     1.  Printing:  All of the colors print with excellent intensity and sharpness.


     2.   Running this fabric directly under cold water results in a loss to the

           reds and browns.


     3.   The recommended fabric softener/water mixture seems to be an excellent way to

           rinse off the excess pigments while retaining the original colors and sharpness.


     4.   Non recommended detergents results in very poor results in the washing



My thoughts about using Soft Scrap….

-The black pigment was consistently strong throughout all of the tests so if you’re making a quilt label and printing only in black ink, you shouldn’t notice a lot of pigment loss no matter what method of washing you use.  I think I would use some form of washing to get rid of any extra pigment sitting on top of the fabric, i.e. fabric softener/water combo.


-The browns and reds are definitely hard to keep from fading.  I didn’t have this problem with yellows, greens or blues until I used Fabric Softener and then Scotchgarded the pillow!


-I really liked the bright, white color of the fabric and the nice quality.


-Although, the company claims the fabric is 100% washable, you must make sure you purchase compatible laundry detergent!!



Next….Electric Quilt (EQ) ink jet fabric sheets, Part II.


Heather  Smile

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