So, if you’ve hung out with me for a while, you know about Chalk Couture paste. I love how it washes off and gives you a fresh start whenever you want to change your decor.
So let’s look at how to use chalk couture ink on fabric. I’ll also cover using ink on glass in a future post, so stay tuned!
The difference in using Chalk Couture Ink versus Paste
So, chalk couture paste was created so it could be washed off most surfaces so that you could change out your home decor easily. One chalkboard. SO. MANY. DIFFERENT. DESIGNS. Am I right? No attic full of seasonal decor (and seasonal transfers don’t take up much space do they?)
This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at no cost to you if you make a purchase through a link. Please see our full disclosure for more information.
Chalk couture ink is permanent. So, think about the items you want to design once and then keep. For example, I love throw pillows. I also LOVE the beach. So, the beach-themed coral transfer is perfect for a throw pillow to go in my house.
Ink has a little different consistency than paste and you will find the colors are close to the same but maybe slightly different from the paste colors. This is because the inks require more pigment, so keep that in mind if it’s important for you that the colors match exactly.
So, let’s look at what you need to create your first chalk couture ink project.
Items You’ll need for using Chalk Couture Ink
- Choice of Chalk Couture Inks
- Choice of Chalk Couture Transfer
- Squeegee (or the Think Ink Bundle includes one!)
- Ink Mat (or get the Think Ink Bundle!)
- Paper towels
- Fabric item such as a pillow cover or wall banner (also in the Think Ink bundle)
- Dish with water (to clean your transfer)
- Iron or Easy Press
- Parchment paper
You may also want to see some of the extra items I recommend for any project. Once you have your items assembled, it’s time to create your design!
Using Chalk Couture Ink on Fabric Tutorial
First, you will want to place your item on an ink mat. An ink mat is a sticky mat that will adhere to the fabric. This will make sure your fabric is secure and the transfer has a nice flat surface to stick to.
If you are decorating a t-shirt, place the ink mat inside (between) the front and back of the shirt.
If you are decorating an item like a pillow sham or a bag, you’ll also place the ink mat between the 2 layers.
If your ink mat is too large, use your scissors to trim it down to size so it will fit your project.
Since you are using fabric, there is no need to fuzz your transfer prior to placing it on your item. Simply peel it and place it where you want your design.
Smooth the transfer very well with your hands making sure to rub around the edges of the transfer. You want to do this to make sure it sticks well so it prevents any bleeding that could occur.
Applying the Ink to the Fabric
You’ll want to stir your ink, similar to the way you prepare your paste. (You can read more about paste here). Your ink will be a little more runny than your paste, so don’t add too much water, if any. A little runny is ok.
As you apply the ink to your project, you will put the ink above the design on the transfer and then use the squeegee to pull the ink down over the design. This helps to prevent any bleeding that could occur by having too much ink on the design.
Once you’ve covered the design with ink, peel the transfer back and place it in a water bath. Since inks contain higher pigments than paste, it’s really crucial that you clean your transfers immediately. You should definitely read this post on washing chalk couture transfers as it has some great tips.
If you are using a design that requires more than one color ink, let the first color dry completely before adding the second color. This helps to ensure you don’t smear the ink and that your transfer will adhere firmly to your fabric.
Once your design is done, carefully remove the ink mat from the middle of your project and let the ink dry. It’s best to let it dry a full 24 hours if you can.
How to Clean Chalk Couture Ink Mat
Once you have finished and removed your item from the ink mat you will want to wipe it down to make sure no ink stays on the mat. This also ensures that your next piece doesn’t get ink on it by mistake.
How to fix Ink Mistakes on your Project
Ink is different from paste in that it is permanent. So, any ink that you get on your fabric will NOT come off. So, I suggest making sure you are super careful when applying the ink and removing the transfer.
There is no way to remove the ink. You can always use my husband’s trick and paint over it with paint that matches your fabric color. Hey, if you can’t fix it, accent it!
Now, with that said, I have heard that it is sometimes possible to get some ink out of fabric, however, keep in mind that once you will need to attempt to remove it before heat setting. Also, consider whether you will ruin your design by trying to remove something.
How to heat set chalk couture ink on fabric
After the ink on your project has dried we need to make chalk couture ink permanent. We will make the ink permanent by heat setting it with an iron.
You have a couple of options, you can use a regular household iron for 4 minutes. Make sure you put a piece of parchment paper OVER your design and move your iron around constantly so you don’t damage the fabric.
You will want to set your iron on medium heat with no steam.
If you have a heat press like an EasyPress, set your easy press to about 300-305 and place it over the design, using parchment paper as a barrier for 30 seconds. If you don’t have an EasyPress, I think you should consider investing in one. I love mine!
Once you have pressed the front of the design, you will turn the project inside out (or turn it over if the project is not 2 sided) and press the backside. Use the parchment paper and press for the same time listed above. So, another 4 minutes for iron or another 30 seconds with a heat press.
Now that your ink has been heat set, it is permanent.
Final thoughts on using chalk couture ink on fabric
Some things to keep in mind when you use chalk couture ink on fabric is that it will be permanent once it is heat set. The ink will be less thick than the paste however ink colors can still be layered. You will just make sure each color is dry before moving to the next. I think the most important thing to remember when using chalk couture ink on fabric is that you NEED to use an ink mat. This keeps your fabric still while you work. I’ve tried it without a mat and it did not turn out well! So, learn from my mistakes! Use an ink mat!
If you are eager to get started with your own ink project, I would suggest you start with the awesome Think Ink kit. It has the basics you’ll need to get started. I’d add one or two ink colors and a multi-tool for project ease.
And now that you have all the ink tools you need, you can also use the ink on glass to make cute mugs and glasses.
How to use ink on fabric with a transfer or stencil
less than 30 minutes
Place fabric item on ink mat
The ink mat is sticky and should stick to your fabric to hold it taught. You can find sticky mats at Chalk Couture or other craft stores. You can use t-shirts, fabric bags, pillow covers, or any other smooth materials. Bumpy/rough fabrics do not work well.
Place sticky transfer or stencil onto fabric
Place sticky transfer or stencil onto fabric where you want the design to appear. Be sure to firmly rub over transfer around all edges of design to ensure a good bond.
Cover stencil with ink
Use fabric ink to cover stencil or transfer. Use a squeegee for best results.
Peel away transfer
Peel transfer or stencil off of fabric carefully carefully pulling in a straight direction. If your stencil is reusable, you will want to wash it in water.
Heat set fabric ink
Allow ink to dry for 24 hours. Then using a household iron set on cotton and press for 4 minutes insuring you use a press cloth (use an old pillow case) or parchment paper. Iron for about 4 minutes on each side.
If you have a heat press, set your press to 305 degrees and press for 30 seconds on each side.
- fabric ink like Chalkology ink
- Chalk Couture transfer or other sticky stencils
- ink mat
- Iron or heat press
Materials: fabric item should be cotton or cotton/poly blend as the item will need to be ironed (fabric must be able to be ironed for 30 seconds or longer)