How to Iron on a Transfer

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Iron-on transfer paper allows you to add a custom design to a variety of surfaces from your home. Designs can be purchased or even created from scratch, allowing a variety of personalization options. Transfer paper is available at craft and office supply stores and is often manufactured by companies that also make printers. The paper manufacturers often also offer downloadable images for use with their products. Inspiration for iron-on projects can also be found in the Resource section of this article.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Image
  • Iron transfer paper
  • Regular printing paper
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Desired fabric (T-shirt, bag, linens)
  • Create a file on your computer of the design that you want to transfer onto fabric. For this step, a photo file will be needed. These can be uploading from a camera, downloaded from a website or scanned onto your computer from a physical photo. There are many possibilities for creating a design. For text, a word processing program can be used, allowing you to change the size of font and color to make a custom message.

  • Print your design onto a plain sheet of paper. Cut around the edges and place it on fabric in your desired placement location. If the design is the correct size and reversed so that it will transfer correctly, proceed to Step 5. If not, make changes to the file on the computer to adjust sizing. Images can be flipped so that they become a mirror image in a photo editing program like Microsoft Paint under editing options. Another option is adjusting the settings on your printer. Refer to your printer owner's manual for instructions.

  • Print your design onto the transfer paper. Cut around the edges, leaving a small border of approximately 1/4 inch.

  • Adjust the settings on the iron to match those required by the transfer paper directions. Many instructions suggest using the hottest setting to improve transfer quality. Lay out a folded pillowcase onto the ironing board. Once the iron is heated, use it on the pillowcase to smooth out any wrinkles. This gives you a solid, wrinkle-free surface to work on.

  • Place your fabric onto the pillowcase. Put your design in the location you wish to transfer it to. Check the placement more than once since you will be unable to move it once you have begun to iron.

  • Iron the transfer paper, placing constant and even pressure onto the design. Keep the iron moving in circular motions or back and forth. Continue to iron for the amount of time specified by the transfer paper directions.

  • Move the fabric to a flat area and allow to rest until completely cool to the touch. Peel the back of the transfer paper from your fabric. Begin at one corner and proceed slowly. Work from one side to the other in a steady motion.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pressure combined with heat allow the design to transfer onto the fabric. Try using a flat wooden board instead of an ironing board. This will allow you to press down harder when using the iron on the transfer.
  • To achieve perfect ironing time, you may wish to set a small timer to the suggested time from the transfer paper instructions.
  • Consult the directions on your specific type of iron-on transfer paper before beginning.

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