How To Print On T-Shirt Transfer Paper : A Complete Guideline

With the availability of design transfer paper and modern printing technology, the t-shirt printing business is not a difficult venture anymore. Learning to use heat transfer paper is a promise of wide possibilities of using the skill to print on a satisfactory scale. With the application of graphics and editing software, designing prints for t-shirt transfer paper is becoming easier to brand your product.

Just making few prints may be a simple job. Creating consistently accurate products needs a more systematic learning approach. By following this guide, you will enjoy transferring your designs on t-shirt transfer paper and eventually starting an innovatively designed t-shirt business.

Types Of Transfer Paper For T-shirt

Transfer paper is an essential item for the printing industry of t-shirt. The ink does not determine the quality of printing, rather the type of transfer paper is important. There are 2 kinds of transfer papers suitable for t-shirt printing; light transfer paper and dark transfer paper.

how to print t shirts at home with iron

Light transfer papers come in white, light pink, and any shades of light colors. These papers transfer designs and graphics to t-shirts of more or less similar colors. The inks are semi-transparent, and visible only in the light-colored background.

Dark transfer paper is the reverse of light paper. They are suitable for black, brown, navy, and other dark-colored t-shirts. The prints and graphics are vivid and clear with dark transfer paper in dark-colored fabric.

Ensure The Right Transfer Paper for T-shirt

Besides, the kind of transfer paper, the type of transfer paper is also critical for ideal printing on transfer paper. The selection also depends on the type of printer you are using. There are (i) Inkjet t-shirt transfer paper for suitable for inkjet ink and printer, (ii) Laser printer t-shirt transfer paper for laser printers, (iii) heat transfer vinyl for either inkjet or laser printer (iv) heat transfer paper for t-shirt printing with inkjet or laser printers and (v) Heat transfer vinyl with either inkjet or laser printers. We should note that transfer paper specifically made for inkjet printers would not work for laser and vice versa.

how to print on a shirt with transfer paper

Importance Of Choosing A Suitable Fabric

The last look of the print on the t-shirt through transfer paper printing also depends on the fabric you are using. Heat pressing ensures the transfer of the colored image to the fabric. Therefore, the fabric used for t-shirt printing should be adjustable or compatible with heat. The suitable fabrics for transfer printing of t-shirts are cotton, polyester, and spandex.

Steps Of Printing The Design On T-shirts

There are two methods of transferring the design from the transfer paper to the fabric. They are iron-on and heats transfer methods.

  • The Iron on Method

The iron-on printing process usually applies in DIY projects when you have only a few t-shirts to print. In this method, the iron used at home can easily do the job. All you need to do is place the transfer paper firmly on top of the t-shirt, heat the iron to a high temperature, and press very hard for about 20 seconds. The heat and heavy press result in the perfect placement of the design to the t-shirt. Besides t-shirt, you also can transfer your design to pillowcases, tablecloths, aprons, bags, and more.

how to print t shirts at home with iron

  • Getting the Right Heat Press Machine

Although a hot iron works very well in printing designs to t-shirts and fabrics, a large-scale and easy-to-use device is the heat press machine. The heat press machine is a technological device used for imprinting designs and graphics by applying pressure and heat for a specified time. The machine uses a flat plate to exert pressure and heat on the printing substrate. The press machine allows perfect printing with ease.

Design of the Heat Press Machine

The heat press machines are available online from brand manufacturers. To avail the best result you must look at two features, the design, and the size.

  • The Design of the Heat Press Machine

The heat press machine comes in many designs and styles. Your choice would depend on the project that you have. They include the sliding drawer and the swing-away type. Both the Flatbed Heat Press and Rotary Heat Press are efficient in not only printing in fabrics but also in custom baby clothes, throw pillows, coasters, tote bags, and more. A direct-to garment (DTG) heat press printer prints on t-shirts.

How to Print on T-shirt Transfer Paper

  • The Size of the Heat Press

The size is an important factor of the heat press. There are 3 sizes. They are small, medium (standard), and big. If your designs are large and the letters are more in number, you will need a bigger heat press printer.

A Guide On How To Print On T-shirt Transfer Paper

To allow you to grasp a straightforward way to print transfer paper for t-shirt, we have your background requirements and a guide.

  • Printing the Image

Before printing the image on the transfer paper, it is necessary to see if the position of the text and image to make it readable. Therefore, you need to create a mirror image.

  • How to Create a Mirror Image

Mirror imaging is reversing the image otherwise if you print directly, you will see the backside of the picture. If you have text, it will be more apparent as the letters will show a reverse view. The mirror image is simple to do with the help of the computer.

Mirror Image

Open the image of the t-shirt and go to editing mode on the panel. Depending on the printer, there are options like “mirror image”, “flip horizontal”, “flip” or “reverse”. Click the box. The image is now a flipped version. There are options for horizontal and vertical controls. Use the way you want to see your printed copy and save it.

  • Printing the Image on the Transfer Paper

Check if the image is in the right direction by looking at the Printer review. The picture will show the same in your desktop preview, as you want it in printed form. You may also make a test copy in a standard paper before you print it in the transfer paper. If the position does not seem right, you can edit it. If you have text with the image, you may like to change the font for sharpness or better visibility.

how to print on transfer paper

If you are happy with the position of the print, it is now time to print it on the coated side of the transfer paper. The image in the transfer paper is now ready for heat transfer on a t-shirt.

Things To Remember While Using Transfer Paper for T-shirt

In the printing process requiring transfer paper printing, occasionally some mistakes occur. The result is a flaw in the final ultimate print on fabric. It is better to remember to take the following points when you enter into printing with transfer paper of t-shirts.

Things to Remember while Using Transfer Paper for T-shirt

  • You must remember to use the mirror image
  • You should print the coated side of the transfer paper
  • Always make sure you buy the transfer paper
  • Learn the color and type of printing fabric you use for your design with transfer paper
  • Use the printer type that is compatible with the transfer paper
  • See the print preview and make a test print to avoid wasting transfer paper with design
  • Study the guide and collect all the essentials required for printing transfer paper for the t-shirt

Final Thoughts

Although there are technicalities in t-shirt transfer paper printing, following the guideline perfectly would make the process easy to follow. If you can once grasp the transfer-paper technique and a print t-shirt with an iron-on press or heat press machine, you will find a world of potentialities in using your skill. The transfer paper printing method is promoting many messages and idealistic thoughts through a t-shirt or other clothing put on by millions all over the world.

We are confident that following the guideline and creating the images on t-shirts will create encouragement in taking your business to great heights. We wish you success!

About Author


Alice covers platforms, policy and big tech at Printer Reviews. Prior to rejoining here, Alice was Senior Technology Editor of the TechDen. Alice first joined PrinterReviews in 2021. Before joining, he was the Tech Editor of the Daily Dot and a reporter and deputy editor at ReadWeb.

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