First order of business was to find out if it was even possible to print photos on fabric. And by this I mean, to do it in a way that created crisp, beautiful, high resolution images people would actually want to gaze upon again and again. Very different from those "photo-printed-on-a-mug" kinds of things you may have seen and discarded in the past.
Where did I turn to unravel the mysteries of printing? Google, of course! A few quick searches were enough to compile a list of local printers. Despite my obvious printing naiveté, several of the companies I reached were more than willing to talk me through the options for printing on upholstery quality fabric. And thus began my introduction into the magical process known as...dye sublimation, duh, duh, duh.
Without getting into too much nerdy detail, I discovered that if you want to print something on fabric that could expect significant wear-and-tear (such as a chair seat or throw pillow), dye sub is the process to use to avoid colors rubbing off or fading.
Sublimation printing uses heat to infuse dyes into the substrate at a molecular level, rather than applying them topically such as with screen or digital printing. The end result of the sublimation process is a nearly permanent, high resolution, full color print. And this my friends, was just the type of print quality I wanted to bring into your home! So the printing mystery was solved.
If only it was all that easy. Next up, products anyone?