How to Test Inkjet Ink on Fabric

New York Beauty Combo

It is worth a few minutes to test the ink in your printer because printing the shapes on fabric with Inklingo saves so much time and makes quilting so easy and precise.


  1. To see how well the 20 Inklingo colors wash out when printed with your particular ink cartridges.
  2. To see which of the 20 choices show well on a particular fabric.
    There may be several which are good.

With experience, you will become good at guessing for #2, but you must not guess about # 1.

Test every time you insert a new cartridge just in case the formula has changed.

Inklingo Test Page

Each test only requires a 5 x 5 scrap of fabric and you can wash or rinse your test fabric and use it in the quilt. (Any time you print the wrong color, you can wash the fabric and print it again.)

All Inklingo colors should wash out easily immediately after they are printed, before pressing. Heat tends to set Inkjet ink so it is harder to wash out after a quilt block has been pressed. That is why we press our tests.


Inklingo Test # 1


Print this test on light  fabric so you can see whether all of the ink washes out completely or not.

Press and rinse the fabric in the sink with warm soapy water. More ink will disappear/fade if you wash by machine. Cold running water sometimes works too, so if warm water doesn’t work, Monkey recommends a cold shower. (See Monkey in the shower, page H34 of the free shape collection.)


Rinse the Test Page


We love it when all of the ink will wash out completely.

  1. You will feel confident using Inklingo colors with higher numbers.
  2. You can wash and re-use the test fabric.
  3. You can wash and re-print fabric printed by mistake.
    (Yes, it has been known to happen.)

The lines I can see for cutting and sewing are sometimes too light and fine to show well in photos, so I often use the Inklingo colors with the higher numbers. It is only safe because I have done Test # 1 and I know which colors will wash out even after pressing.

If the ink does not wash out completely you can still use it for Inklingo—but only the colors that do not bleed or shadow through to the front.


A scrap is enough.


Don’t despair! If you have done Test # 1 and know how well your ink washes out but can’t spare a 5 x 5 inch scrap for Test # 2, we have some suggestions!

  1. Use what you have. Iron whatever scrap you have on a 5 x 5 piece of FP to print the most likely row or rows of ink colors (above).
  2. Print the test page on one of the sheets you intend to use for shapes. After the test, rinse the fabric, let it dry, iron it, and re-print with the shapes.
  3. Guess. You will get good at guessing, but if the ink color is not suitable because the lines shadow through on the front or because you cannot see the lines well enough, wash the fabric and re-print with your second guess.
  4. Test a fabric of similar color and weight.


Test Pages


I have several pieces of 5 x 5 FP handy for Test Pages. I use the same ones over and over and over again.

If you prefer, you can use one of the larger pieces of FP that you will be using for the shapes. Cut the fabric about 5 x 5 and position it on the larger sheet. The first time you do this, you may want to print on scrap paper first, so you know exactly where to position the fabric.


The Inklingo Handbook

There are detailed, illustrated  notes about both tests in the first chapter of The Inklingo Handbook (pages 32-37, or pages H32-H37 of the free shape collection for Diamond/Triangles/Square). You can order and download the free shape collection in the next few minutes.


Test Pages for COTSG


The mystery doesn’t require DNA tests, just the evidence you get from these simple tests. It would be criminal to ignore a good lead, don’t you think?

You will be printing shapes on fabric in COTSG Clue # 2. You can print your Test Pages now and be ready for the next clue on Monday morning!

What more evidence could you possibly need?

COOL TIP (Freezer Paper tips must be cool, of course.)

If you are using FP on a roll and it wants to curl, you can flatten it permanently by ironing it to your ironing surface. It will peel off neatly and lie flat.  It doesn’t “use it up.” Each sheet of FP can be used over and over and over again.

It is a good idea for quilting detectives to subscribe to the blog (top of right sidebar), so they are sure to witness everything, okay?

Linda & Monkey

New to Inklingo? Order and download free shapes and start sewing in the next few minutes. Quick Start (Always FREE.) There are triangles, diamonds, and squares in the free collection—great for dozens of different blocks.

$10 Coupon!  6 Year Anniversary Special on the handbook

Inklingo for Beginners

Inklingo Quiz – Just for Fun!

11 thoughts on “How to Test Inkjet Ink on Fabric”

  1. Can someone give me a hint, please. My FP always gets inky and messy at the top. I iron my fabric a about 1/2″ from the top of the FP but I have a lot of unusable fabric. I am using an HP Photosmart c6380 all-in-one.

    • Hi Janice, You should be able to avoid this by choosing a “thick paper” setting in the print dialog box. If there is nothing called thick paper, try transparency (or other paper settings) to find one that works. Hugs, Linda & Monkey

  2. Love test pages. I have a folder full of them. lol. Sew… b/c I am naturally frugal by nature, I cut the little squares apart, mix up with other cut test pages and sew together. Makes a fun little Doll Quilt…. even a Monkey size quilt! lol. I do this after I have first used the test pages for their “intended” purpose. *g*
    That bath looks relaxing Monkey!


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