Wash and durability testing and Transfer paper method

Transfer Paper prints, the washing and durability testing of  Doll clothes of  Urban Doll.



I don’t know about you, but I am suspicious about the durability of home printed items. Relative gave out beautiful photograph x-mas cards printed at home, really professional looking and definately earned their place at display. But, just after a few months even in a shaded place the print had lost half it’s colors (mostly reds).

A while ago, before I got into printing myself, bought some cute quilt blocks off etsy, but they look home printed, some of them even seemingly low resolution, but the images are pretty so I do not dare to wash them…  or maybe I’ll sacrifice one of the low resolution ones to see what happens. Anyhow, that is how I roll, I test things.

So, I want to share these experiments with you, if you would like to print and run some tests yourself at home, or if you’re skeptical like me and would like to know a bit more about my etsy products before purchasing.

I do take this playing a shop keeper seriously, I test things, even if I do add care instructions, I want to know what would happen if someone did not read them.
Also I rather enjoy testing things… Can you tell Mythbusters is one of my all time favorite shows? Sometimes I wonder what my roommate might think of me, when there is loose hair pieces hanging in the bathroom dripping black ooey or random plastic cups around the kitchen with various liquids and unidentified objects in them, or the oven used for baking tiny beerbottles… at least there is no head in the fridge…

Okay, babbling, back to business!!
So, I have previous experience with transfer paper. I made a shirt to myself some years ago, and it actually lasted quite good! The print started cracking at some point (not real cracks through the print, but the print wasn’t smooth anymore, little bit wrinkled), but it was actually the shirt fabric itself getting bad that was the reason it went to trash. I always washed it inside out in 40 degrees celcius gentle washing cycle, with similar color items. As instructed. Perhaps the instruction was actually 30degrees, but it did last 40.
However, I did print out some shirts to my younger brothers, told the care instructions but at some point the shirts got into a 60degrees wash and resulted in awful cracks and tearing of the image :/ but the boys were under 10 at the time and really liked them anyway, so they weren’t ditched just yet. Only after they went on to 60degrees wash AGAIN and there were more cracks than images mom just secretly tossed them away.

So, if you want a lasting image on a shirt, go seek a professional print on demand! That’s easier, and cheaper in a long run. If you need something to wear every now and then or once, do print at home.

Again, small scale is different, as Barbie doesn’t sweat, her shirts don’t need washing up that much.

washing tests

test: 1. set in lower temperature 2. the print on transfer paper 3. set in high temperature

Printing on transfer paper, it works really well with images that aren’t supposed to cover large areas. Like those print tees, they actually have a quite realistic feel of a print shirts you see at markets and festivals, but large areas just looks bit odd, because the print does stiff the fabric. The hard, plastic shine might look good on a jacket (OMG cats in space rain coat I need to make that!), but definately not on a top that is supposed to be soft and stretchy.

Now, the instructions were to set image in highest temperature, and wash in 30 degrees with mild detergent

So, I set one image with the fabric temperature instead of high, the others high (carefully! you don’t want to burn the fabric!)

Then, I was being really, really bad… Using wrong detergent, strong meant for whites, and washing without turning the fabrics inside out as instructed, and also rubbin on the images – just basically doing everything wrong…


Washing. With detergent. Nothing


wash test 60 degrees (30 being instructed)

Washing in 60 degrees. The image that was not set properly has a slight wrinkle, but other than that, nothing

washing teste

Washing… well actually soaked in nearly boiling water  from tea water boiler! Now they HAVE to be ruined!


‘The image that wasn’t set properly is coming off a bit and is wrinkled, but the one that was set properly has lasted whitening detergent, rubbing and boiling water! WHAT!
The fabric, however, have gone bad as soft knits do if you was them often or in too hot.

Now, the next test tests both the elasticity of the image as well my sewing seams…
Which is done by trying to dress a Barbie size shirt on to a Ken doll.  Most mattel and factory clothing fails this, as some of you might already know… you’re not supposed to stuff smaller doll’s clothing on to a bigger one, but I know some will try. I know I will.
IMG_6361 IMG_6362 IMG_6363
(sorry to embarrass this dude but I also stretch tested some lacey underwear on him, not sure yet if doll underwear comes available, not much fabric needed but the tiny things are tricky to construct so it’s hard to put a price on that.

PREVIOUSLY ON TEST LABORATORY: Printing straight on to fabric

One thought on “Wash and durability testing and Transfer paper method

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