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How to Use Iron on Transfer Paper

Always wanted to make your own custom t-shirt but thought that only pros can make one?  Guess again...with a home computer, a decent printer and a little elbow grease...making your own custom shirt is fun and EASY!Well, for one thing, they can both have fun with iron-on transfers! Iron-on transfers allow you to easily decorate clothes and other fabrics, and creating your own makes your style unique. Here's how to make and apply transfers.


Buy a transfer

  • You can buy transfers at most crafts stores, art stores, and big box retailers but we are biased...we sell them here at Transfer Paper Shack and we have no problem saying our are the best.

Create your own transfer

  • Find or create an image you want to use for the transfer. Google and Bing images are a good place to start, just be careful of copyrights.

Manipulate the image

  • Using photoshop or any other image edting software, you can resize your image, add effects, change colors, or do whatever you want until it's just right. Use your editing program to mirror the image so that it comes out correctly on the fabric you transfer it to if doing a light colored shirt using Light Heat Transfer Paper.  No need to mirror image for Dark Transfer Paper.


Print the transfer
  • Always do a test print on a plain piece of paper.  No need to waste time and effort, not to mention money on a failed transfer print.  Make sure to load the transfer paper so that the image will print on the correct side (this should be clearly marked).


Lay out the fabric

  • Place the t-shirt (or other cloth to which the image will be transferred) on a hard, flat surface, and smooth out any wrinkles. The work surface should be heat resistant and should be large enough to accommodate the entire area of the transfer with a little room to spare.  Directions on pressing will depend on the type of transfer paper (light or dark) that you are using.  See specific papers for further details.

 Iron on the transfer

  • Carefully read the instructions given with the transfer paper. Set the iron to the designated temperature, and wait for it to warm up. Move the iron in large circles on top of the transfer paper. Start by focusing on the outside of the image, and gradually move toward the center. Keep the iron moving to prevent scorching.
  • Wait for the image to cool. Turn off the iron when finished and let the image cool for a few minutes.
  • Remove the backing from the transfer paper. Gently peel the backing off of the fabric.

More Iron On Tips

  • Care for your project properly. Wash and dry the cloth on a cool setting only. If the transfer was done to clothing, turn the article of clothing inside out before washing. 
  • Trim around the edges of the transfer after printing. While not really necessary, trimming helps you to better see where exactly you're putting the transfer on the fabric.
  • The transfer paper instructions will tell you what kind of printer and/or inks can be used for best results. Read the instructions carefully. Typically, laser printers aren't suitable for printing on transfer paper
  • .Laundering the T-shirt or fabric before you apply the transfer will preshrink the material and remove any sizing, which will help the transfer stick better.
  • To mirror the image in your computer software, you may need to use a "Reverse" or "Flip Image Horizontally" command. 
  • Irons are hot! Be careful not to burn yourself, and never leave an iron on and unattended.Removing the backing before the image has cooled may cause the image to crack or become malformed.

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