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The fabric printing process I use – and why it matters

The fabric printing process I use - and why it matters

It has always been super important to me that only the best quality materials and processes are used to make Fairy Caravan toys and decor products. This means that I have also gone out of my way to find the fabric printing process that delivers the best results possible. 

I have always dreamed of having my illustrations printed on fabric, but when I first started my business, I thought that this may not even be possible for me! The reason for this was that my illustrations are very detailed and not suited to some of the more widely known fabric printing processes, such as screen printing. So for a while, I thought that I may have to either give up on this dream, or change my illustration style to make it more stylized and suited to the printing processes that I knew about.

Then, after much research, and a few meetings with potential fabric printers where the fit was just not quite right for what I had in mind, I was introduced to the direct to garment printing process. A match made in heaven! The image quality of this printing process is phenomenal, capturing even the smallest details of my illustrations in beautiful colour that is very close to my original illustrations.

Of course, when it comes to making toys for children to play with, the quality of the image printed on the fabric is not the only important factor to take into account. The printed fabric must also be soft, colourfast so that the item can be cleaned, and most importantly, safe if it comes into contact with sensitive skins or gets put in a baby’s mouth.

Luckily, direct to garment printing ticks all of these boxes. The printed areas remain as soft to the touch as unprinted fabric, and best results in terms of colourfastness are achieved when printing on natural fibers. This is a bonus as I prefer my products for children to be made from natural fibers such as cotton and linen.

I have a few printed items that I use in my own home and wash in the washing machine, and I can attest to the colourfastness of the prints. Some of these products I have had (and washed) over years and the printed images still look as good as new.

The non-toxic, water-based inks are bonded to the fabric with heat – basically the printed fabric is put through a heat press as soon as printing is complete. This has the added bonus that the environmental footprint of this printing process is very small compared to other fabric printing processes. The fabric does not have to be treated before or after printing by washing it in chemicals, and the inks contain no solvents that could be harmful.

I love a process that does not add to environmental pollution! Also, with no chemicals involved, the toys remain completely safe for children to play with.

I love the creative possibilities that printing my illustrations on fabric has opened up for me. If you would like to see some of the things that we have made, please visit our shop!


  1. Margie Wilson on April 23, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    I remain your no. 1 fan. Your attention toe very detail shows throughout your range. LIesl! You are a STAR!

    • Liesl van der Hoven on April 23, 2019 at 3:04 pm

      Dear Margie,

      Thank you so much for being so kind! I would have never been able to get this far without encouragement from wonderful people such as yourself!

      Sending you lots of love,
      Liesl xx

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