'Extreme' Textile Printing

Pop goes the tab as First2Print utilizes its DuPont Artistri 2020 printer.

Big Picture

For ABC’s "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" television show, a crew levels and rebuilds a home for a deserving family in only 7 days-and that includes re-furnishing it as well!

When the Collins family of Arkansas was given a new home, one of the children’s bedrooms became a particularly intriguing challenge: Mitchell, a brain-cancer survivor, had been nationally recognized for collecting pop tabs to raise money for juvenile cancer patients. The design team wanted to incorporate a pop-tabs theme into his bedroom-pillow shams, curtains, and bedding. They turned to digital-textile producer, First2Print, in New York City.

'What made this project unusual was the exceptionally short time frame,' says Tina Wagner, project manager for First2Print, New York. 'We really had to work closely with the design team to pick the right fabric that would be functional and beautiful, as well as durable enough to be in the bedroom of a home.'

The clock was ticking when the Extreme Makeover design team uploaded the TIFF files to First2Print’s FTP site. There was no time for proofs, and the design team had to trust First2Print to match the chosen green and blue colors, which were not a perfect Pantone match.

For the pop-tab theme room, First2Print needed to produce two color versions (green and blue) of the design for the pillow shams, curtains, and bedcover. Part of the digital fabric yardage was "engineered" so the design fit precisely onto the predetermined shapes of the pillow and shams; the curtain and bedding fabric, however, was printed in a "repeat" pattern.

First2Print imaged onto pretreated DigiFab Systems Cotton Sheeting with its DuPont Artistri 2020 printer loaded with DuPont pigment inks. Direct printing the 30 yd of fabric took 5 hr. Finishing the textile took 1.5 hr and involved post-processing with a DigiFab Heat Press, then the fabric was washed, dried, and ironed. The printed textiles were over-nighted to the Extreme Makeover design and production team on-site in Arkansas, who sewed the yardage into the final goods.

'In addition to the short time frame, our digital-printing process needed to match the textile colors from concept to final short-run production yardage-all within just a few days,' says Wagner.

Client: "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," ABC TV

The Players: First2Print (www.first2print.com), New York City

Tools & Supplies: DuPont Artistri 2020 printer, DuPont pigment inks, DigiFab pretreated Cotton Sheeting, DigiFab Heat Press.