How To Use Iron On Transfer Paper Safely [The Ultimate Guideline]

A designer is always looking for ways to express their work of art in paper, fabric, and accessories. The creation of designs through drawing needs transfer to a media for ultimate pasting on the desired substrate. The simple way you can transfer designs is through iron-on transfer paper. First, a printer prints the transfer papers with the design, followed by imprinting the design to fabric with a hot iron.

To show how to use iron-on transfer paper you will need fabric or t-shirt, transfer paper, transferable images a wooden board, and an iron. Let us see the systematic process.

How To Use Iron On Transfer Paper in Steps

1. Materials You Needed

You will need to get the above materials. The transfer papers and transfer images are available in the crafts store, or you may like to order online. You can use the iron, computer, and printer already in use in your home. Of course, a t-shirt of any fabric you want to print.

How to Use Iron-On Transfer Paper


2. Selecting An Image

If you can draw, you can make your image. You do not need to be a great artist to draw a simple design to start with. Otherwise, there are many designs available on the internet. Choose the free ones that do not have copyright. Designs are available from online stores.

how to use iron on transfer paper with cricut

The choice of the colored designs would depend on the color of your t-shirt. If your t-shirt is white or light-colored, you will need a design with dark colors as the printing looks bright on a light background. For dark-colored t-shirt, you may choose light-colored designs. For iron-on transfers, it is better to have a light-colored t-shirt and dark-colored design.

3. Editing The Design

With Photoshop software, you edit and change the design that you buy or download from the internet. You can resize, reshape, change colors and add effects to give it a personalized look. You can also add text or symbols and make a personal design.

4. Make It A Mirror Image

If you are using a white T-shirt or a light-colored T-shirt, you need to make a mirror image of your finished design. If you print the design directly on the transfer paper, the print will show the backward, and illegible. This reverse form is visible if you have text, which you will read backward. The finished product should be a mirror image of what you see in the design. Before printing, you may check a test design.

select an a t shirt image

5. Use The Correct Transfer Paper

For iron-on transfer, the transfer paper will depend on the color of your t-shirt. There are 2 types, light transfer paper for light-colored fabric and darker color scheme, and dark transfer paper for light-colored fabric. If your fabric is cotton, you can use inkjet transfer paper, heat transfer paper, or fabric transfer paper. For synthetic and polyester fabrics, vinyl transfer paper will be best.

iron heat transfer process

Transfer paper also comes in a variety of thicknesses. Therefore, depending on the thickness of your fabric, you have options to collect the transfer papers.

6. Printing The Design

To satisfy yourself you may print a test sample. Adjust your paper to make printing on the correct side for printing with an inkjet printer. The printing side is clean, shiny, clear, and distinctly different from the wrong side. Inkjet printers produce excellent transfer paper prints. After printing, trim the paper to a convenient size.

printing on transfer paper

7. Prepare The Fabric/T-Shirt

Use washed and dried fabric/t-shirt for best printing result. Place the fabric flat on the wood board or desk. It should be wrinkle-free.

Trimming your paper will help you properly place it on your T-shirt, exactly where you want your design. With an entire page, you might have trouble placing it properly on the t-shirt, but a small piece of transfer paper would be easier to handle.

8. Prepare The Fabric

Whether you are using a shirt, a t-shirt, a scarf, or a cushion cover, place the fabric on a hard and flat surface, i.e. a table, a work board, a desk, or the floor. The surface should be big enough to hold the fabric and big enough for you to work on it. The fabric needs to be completely flat and free of wrinkles. Place a cardboard/soft cloth in between the t-shirt below the printing area to soak the excess water from the ink.

Prepare the Fabric

9. Ironing The Design

Place the transfer paper with the design on the front of the t-shirt, upside down, the side of the design touching the fabric. Place it exactly where you want your design. You may tighten the edge with pins to keep it completely in place.

How to Use Iron-On Transfer Paper

Adjust the iron to the hottest temperature. Press the iron on top of the designed transfer paper with force for 20-30-seconds uniformly to cover the entire design. Take care not to move the paper away from where you placed it. If the transfer seems incomplete, press a second time for perfect printing.

Also Check: Best Printer for Heat Transfer Paper

10. Complete The Process

After successful transfer of the design to the fabric, let the paper and the fabric cool. Slowly and, gently take out the paper beginning from the corner. Let your t-shirt dry for 24 hours before washing and using.

iron on transfer paper instructions

Final Words

The use of iron-on transfer paper is great for having personalized printed design and text on your clothes or that of your children. The colors of inkjet and laser printers used in fabric printing are not washable so, you can rest assure of prolonged use. You may also use this iron-on transfer technique for other DIY projects taking photos, designs, and quotes from your collection. With a little practice and regular printing, it is easy and fast. Designing and iron on printing can be fun. Hope this guideline will bring joy to your printing spree!

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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