How To Print On Ribbon With Inkjet Printer? Definative Guide


Ribbons can be used for many purposes, including as a gift wrapper, bookmark, wreath, lanyard or decorative ball, flower, toy, or wristband. It all depends on how you style the fabric.

There are many ribbon printers to choose from, so you can be creative. My favorite would be an inkjet printer because it’s more affordable.

There are some additional steps, but it would be very simple to get crisp, beautiful font styles and designs on the piece. You’ll just need the right kind of tools and proper instructions.

I know what you might be thinking now, “How to print on ribbon with inkjet printer?”

Well, that’s what I’ll answer here. Continue reading to learn more.

Why Use Inkjet Printers For Printing Ribbon?

There are 2 types of printers, which are very popular. laser printer and inkjet printer.

Laser printers use laser beams to print documents. Inkjet printers use liquidink, electrostatic field, and ultrasonic to print images or text on paper or fabric. It allows ink to be pumped into very controlled streams onto the substrate. This creates beautiful images or fonts.

If you’re planning to print on ribbon, an inkjet printer would be ideal. It produces high-quality images because it blends the colors perfectly. It doesn’t matter if the ribbon is colorful or not, the device would get it printed by using those rich colored inks.

You can choose from a variety of ribbons when it comes to fabric. It can be shiny or slippery. Inkjet printers are compatible with many other types of inks. heat sensitive materials too unlike laser counterpart.

Types of ink to use with inkjet printers

An inkjet printer can handle two types of inks. One is dye-based ink, and the other is pigmented.

1. Pigmented Ink

Pigmented ink is less pigmented, but it blends the color well. So, you’d find them ideal for photos and colorful texts.

If you’re looking to use ribbon outdoors, opt for pigmented ink It has better UV-resistant qualities. Its particles remain on the paper in layers and do not absorb water. This makes it resistant to elements such UV rays, environmental gases, and other chemicals.

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Prints will fade slowly if they are not exposed to sunlight.

This also means that you’d get to enjoy more longevity of the prints with pigmented ink.

2. Dye-Based ink

Dye ink can produce deep, vibrant colors and can be used to create a wide range of colors. The black dye ink prints are darker and sharper that the pigmented. So, it’s outstanding for sharp text creations.

However, dye ink is more likely to absorb into the fabric. If you expose the prints to the sun, the UV-rays could cause the text fade quickly. This is why dye inks should be used indoors.

Also, know: Head to head difference between pigment and dye ink.

Tools You’ll Need:

1. Inkjet Printer

For this DIY project, the inkjet printer is the first and most important thing you will need. I’d suggest you use pigmented ink for vivid text or image. It offers premium-quality printing, so make sure it has smudge-resistant capabilities.

2. Ribbons

You can use ribbons from different types. You can use ribbons of different types, including Satin, Satin Silk, Taffeta, Twill, and Silk. However, since Satin and Grosgrain are most popular, I’d explain the ways to print on these two kinds of materials.

3. Double Faced Tape, or Iron

You’ll need double faced tape for the satin ribbon, or iron for the Grosgrain ribbon.

4. Plain or Heat Transfer paper

If you’re working with a satin ribbon, a plain paper will do. For the Grosgrain ribbon, you’ll need to get heat transfer papers.

5. Word Processing Software Or Microsoft Word

Word processing software should be installed on your computer, laptop, or other device you plan to use for printing. You’d need this to customize, resize and mirror your materials.

6. Scissors

This is to cut the document in pieces for the grosgrain ribbon.

7. Spray to fix ink

Protect your computer prints from becoming smudged by using an ink fixative spray. However, it’s not compulsory.

Simple Step-by-Step Tutorial: Ribbon Printing

If you have all the materials needed at hand, let’s move onto the process of printing on Ribbons using the inkjet printer. However, your method of printing will vary depending on the type of ribbon you’re using.

How to print Satin Ribbon at Your Home

Satin ribbons have a shiny glow. They are silky and smooth. If you’re choosing a Satin ribbon for printing purposes, make sure that both sides of the ribbon are polished. Printing on Satin ribbons is typically easier than printing on other fabrics. You’d find the printing processes very simple too.

Step 1: Open The Software

Open the word-processing program on your laptop or computer. Microsoft Word can be used. You can choose the image you like or type the text you want to print on your ribbon.

Step 2: Select the right size

Be sure to match the ribbon’s size with the font or image you use. In case you make them bigger, the rest of the letters or image would not appear on the fabric and you’d see half of the result.

Step 3: Print out

After choosing the right font size for your ribbon type and the type of paper, print the document on plain paper for satin ribbons.

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Step 4: Place the ribbon On Print Document

Attach the double-sided tape on the back of the ribbon. Place the tape on top of the printed text. Make sure the ribbon covers the image or letters completely.

Step 5: Place the Paper Back On The Inkjet Printer

Now, insert the paper again into your inkjet printer, but this time, attach the ribbon.

Step 6: Start the Print

Change the paper type to “Inkjet Transparencies” from the settings. Now, use print commands to begin printing the ribbon

Step 7: Let it dry

You will need to take out the printed ribbon and the paper from the printing machine. Wait for the printouts to dry.

Separate the ribbon from the paper and then take off the tape. You should wait at least 24 hours before using it.

It’ll be great if you use your customized satin ribbon next day.

Grosgrain Ribbon Printing

Grosgrain ribbons are more durable than other types of ribbons because they can withstand both flat and rough surfaces. You’d find such ribbons available in different prints and designs.

Because of its strength, printing on Grosgrain ribbon is a bit more difficult than printing on satin. But it’ll get easier once you follow the steps properly.

Step 1: Wash your ribbon

To print a ribbon of one inch, it would be sufficient. It is best to wash it thoroughly and dry it completely.

Step 2: Open The Software

Open Microsoft Word and add your image or type the text you desire. You can choose any design or color. Make sure that the font size and image are compatible with the ribbon size.

Step 3: Make copies

After selecting the right size, create copies of the text you’d like to print on the grosgrain ribbon in the same doc file.

Step 4: Create a Mirror Image

Use the word processing software to create an image of your document that is identical to the original before printing it. If you’re using the Microsoft Word, just copy your text and paste it into a textbox.

Go to the setting option, and change the 3D Rotation option to X to 180. By flipping your text horizontally, you will create a mirror.

Step 5: Place the paper On The Printer

The inkjet transfer paper can be kept on the tray of the printer. After that, print the document. The paper will print a mirror image of the document.

Step 6: Let the paper dry and then cut into pieces

Allow the paper to dry for a few minutes. Next, cut each copy of your text with scissors into separate strips.

Step 7: Place the Strips On The Ribbon

Place each strip of inkjet papers on the pre-washed ribbon. Place them carefully on an ironing surface. Your strips should be the same width as the ribbon.

Step 8: Iron the Paper

Slowly iron both the ribbons and papers so that the heat fused your text onto the ribbon. Give it at least 24 hours.

Now, let it cool down and settle. You can now use ribbons to decorate gift boxes.

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Step 9 (Optional),: Wrap the Ribbon To Avoid Fading

Use fixative spray to make the ink last a little longer. Don’t spray it too thick. A few thin coats will suffice.

Experts recommend this option but you might also find DIY ideas for the same purpose. Both could be used, but one would be a salt bath and one would be a vinegar soak. Both can prevent fading, but they will help to set the color.

You can also use a solution with neutral ph. PVA glue and some water. These ingredients will help set your color, but it depends on the fabric you use for your ribbon.

Note that, if you brush the solution, it may look like you’ve applied white paint on a printed photo. However, it’ll get normal once it dries clear. The coating’s plastic feel is the only thing you might dislike. It would be stiff, with a little gloss and slippery texture to make it more appealing.

Printing Tips and Caution On Ribbons

It is simple and fun to make customized ribbons with an inkjet printer. However, there are some things you need to know before you start this DIY project.

  • Printouts on ribbons can vary depending on the printer and the inks used. Even different models from the same manufacturer will give you different results. Other than that, the results will be different for different types and styles of ribbon fabrics.
  • Fading is a major problem for printed ribbons. Such customized ribbon wouldn’t last long if you wash it no matter how much water-resistant the ink is. However, if you’re making the ribbons to use on a bag, tie a gift box, collage or poster, then there’s nothing to worry about! It’s because you won’t have to wash the ribbons in these cases.
  • Another problem with inkjet printers are their tendency to bleed. However, you’ll find some special waterproof fabric ink in the market that works to control the bleeding.
  • Inkjet printers are slower than laser printers. A tray can’t hold a lot of papers. For this, you won’t be able to print on more than a single ribbon at once.
  • You should ensure that your inkjet printer has the option to print fabric.

Final words

Ribbon does look simple but it’s both elegant and useful at the same time. You can customize it to make it more versatile.

Inkjet printers are the best option for this purpose. While there are other options for ribbon printers, an inkjet printer is a more cost-effective and easy option.

You won’t need to have extra skills to produce those beautiful ribbons with it. Not just that, you’d get the kind of quality you want, we’re talking premium here.

Now that you are able to print on ribbon with an inkjet printer, you can start the DIY project you’ve always wanted to.

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