Betty Nicassio of Betty’s Photos on Fabric has been perfecting the art of preserving photos on fabric for over 40 years.
Who is Betty Nicassio?
Betty’s journey to preserving photos on fabric began first with embroidering as a young girl. Her father was refused for service in World War II due to a bad back. When Betty was 3 years old, her parents bought a trailer. They traveled from job to job throughout California living in the trailer. Betty recalls that because her family moved around a lot, she did not have any toys and there were never any children her age to play with. Her mother was an avid embroiderer and she taught Betty to embroider to pass the time. Later, when they settled down, Betty learned to sew using a sewing machine. In High School, she won every award the Home Economics department gave out (“except for drapes and gowns”) . “I had a knack for needles,” Betty recalled. She loved to personalize things, teach sewing (she was an Elna educator for many years), and could even fix sewing machines.
Preserving Photos on Fabric
In 1980, Betty began experimenting with preserving photos on fabric. “It was in me,” Betty said. Her first try was using turpentine as an agent to preserve photocopies of photos on to glass. Through the years, Betty tried many different processes and finally came up the process she preferred using a photocopy machine, white mending tape, and a hot iron.
Her newfound techniquefor preserving photos took a lot of patience, trial and error. She went to lots of stores and tried a lot of copiers before she found the right one. She would order 1,000 yards of mending tape at a time to find the right size that would fit larger pictures. The trickiest part of her experimentation was the ironing. She had to figure out which temperature was best (exactly 250 degrees), how long to hold the iron down, and how much pressure to use pressing down on the iron. Once she had her technique down, Betty developed a four-hour class that she taught for many years.
As time went on, Betty continued to experiment. When transfer paper came out, Betty tried working with it but she “never trusted it 100%.” Finally, with the advent of ink jet printers, she knew “they were it.”
In 1999, Betty’s husband – and business partner – passed away. She again looked at how she could improve on her business. It was soon after that a formula was created that allowed fabrics to go through ink jet printers. Those two innovations have made all the difference. Today, Betty has teamed with a company to produce photo fabric that is “just the way I wanted it” and “is different than any other product out there.”
A Rewarding Business
Betty takes orders for her products for preserving photos on fabric on her website. “I’m so in love with the process I have today,” exclaims Betty. “It is so rewarding. I hear so many stories of how people use my techniques to memorialize family members. It energizes my customers and that spurs me on to continue to perfect what I do.”
Road to California is the only show Betty goes to these days because it is close to her house. “People can ask me any question. I will always tell them what I know. I want everyone to have success and fun.” Betty is so serious about helping her customers that she even makes her phone number and email address available. “I am very sincere—I really want them to love and use my products” in preserving photos on fabric.
To order Betty’s products – and to find out how to talk to her – please visit her website.