How to Print Photos on Vinyl

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Vinyl is an amazingly durable fabric, which because of its weather-resistant properties is popular for use in outdoor seat cushions, marine awnings and even automobile upholstery. However, vinyl also makes a useful crafting and collage material. Its unusual heft and glossiness can add visual interest to a variety of fine art and crafting projects. If you have some vinyl that you would like to enhance with photographic imagery for your next art project, you can easily print photos on vinyl yourself, with just a few easy-to-find materials.

Things You'll Need

  • Blender marker (available at art-supply stores)
  • Laserjet print or photocopy
  • Large wooden or metal spoon
  • Masking tape
  • Hard work surface
  • Thumbtacks or staples
  • Select the photo that you would like to print on vinyl and make a fresh photocopy or laserjet print of the photo. Blender marker image transfers are easy to complete at home with a fresh photocopy or laserjet print of a photograph, but the process will not work with an ordinary glossy photograph. If your photo includes text, take it to a copy shop and ask for a reverse laserjet print or photocopy. The image will get reversed when it is transferred to the vinyl.

  • Stretch your vinyl fabric out on a hard work surface and hold it in place with thumbtacks or staples. Wipe the vinyl with a clean cloth to remove any dust or dirt.

  • Align the print or photocopy image-side down onto the vinyl and hold it in place with masking tape.

  • Mark the back of the print with a blender marker, using firm, regular strokes. Thoroughly wet the back of the print, but do not saturate it.

  • Rub the back of the print with the back of a heavy wooden or metal spoon. Press hard with the spoon for best results, moving the spoon in small circles.

  • Lift up one side of the print and check the transferred image. If the image appears light or faded, replace the lifted edge of the print and repeat the marker and rubbing process.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always ensure adequate ventilation when using blender markers.

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