How to Use Iron-on Transfer Paper [Expert Instruction]

The joy of printing self-created designs on crafts, shirts, linens, children’s dresses is unlimited. The iron-on transfer is an easy way of creating complete color designs in fabrics. You will find out that iron transfer is perfect from your desktop.

If you have a keen interest in designing, the technique of iron of transfer is a way you can express your talents. All you need to have is some fabric, some images, an iron, and transfer paper. With the use of your computer and printer, and in the comfort of your home, you can start a grand project!

What Is The Iron-On Transfer?

The iron-on transfer is the transfer of images with the use of colored inks to transfer paper and ultimately to the desired fabric. The design prints on the fabric by pressing with a hot iron. In contrast to heat transfer, the iron-on requires a lower quality of transfer paper, lower heat, is relatively cheap and is easy to print.

Iron-On Transfer
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Transfer papers are papers coated with pigment and wax. The image is printed on the transfer paper with an inkjet printer, which is then pressed onto the fabric with a hot iron. Iron on transfer prints through transfer paper are long-lasting. With the use of the home iron, the colored prints will last on your T-shirt even after washing 7 to10 times.

How To Do Iron-On Transfers

Let us see how to do iron-on transfer for a DIY project.

Things needed

  • A packet of good brand iron-on transfer paper. Choose the paper that will work for the color of the fabric you will use to transfer the image. Packs are available separately for dark and light-colored fabrics.
  • Designs of your own or downloaded from the website. You can use pictures, alphabets, images, etc.
  • A regular iron and a table with an ironing board.
  • A pair of scissors
  • An inkjet printer

The steps of iron-on transfer

1. The Choice of a Design

Almost any design is printable on transfer papers. You can also create your design with Adobe Graphic software. Ready designs are also available on the free website, which you can edit according to your choice of colors.

2. Print Design to the Transfer Paper

Open the design on the computer and switch on the Inkjet printer. On the paper tray, load the correct transfer paper. Press the print button. Your transfer paper will have the specific design that you asked for. With a pair of scissors cut the paper with the design far off from the edge. Take care that the design remains intact.

Use Iron-on Transfer Paper

3. Placing Design to T-Shirt

Place the T-shirt on the ironing board. Place the design on the T-shirt where you want your design to be printed. Place tapes at the edges to make the design lay firmly. The T-shirt should remain flat and not expand out. Place a parchment paper, which comes with the pack of transfer paper on top.

4. Iron-on Design to T-Shirt

Heat your iron and firmly press over the parchment paper. The heat should reach the transfer paper and the T-shirt. The design should firmly bond to the fabric. This will take a few minutes. Move your hot iron as you the transferring process.

Iron-on Design to T-Shirt

5. Finish Your Print

Let the T-shirt dry in an airy space for 24 hours. Iron lightly to make it ready to use.

Creating A Mirror Image

An important aspect of design printing is to make the picture face correctly. This is known as mirror imaging or flipping the design, so the letters or images are not backward. Just click the button that says ‘flip’ or ‘mirror image’ in the computer program. See if you can read the word and the image appears as you would before printing. Without flipping, the image and the words will appear backward.

Creating A Mirror Image

Some Tips For Using Iron-On Transfer Paper

  • Your image is the most attractive part of the entire process of iron transfer. In the computer, format the image to the size and the color that you desire. Use the correct transfer paper to go with the printer type.
  • Check if the design is mirror imaged.
  • After printing on the transfer, let it dry; otherwise, it will smear.
  • Cut off the extra paper without touching the image.
  • Straighten your fabric so that there are no wrinkles on the part where the image will print.
  • Place the T-shirt with the side up upward where you want the design.

Some Tips For Using Iron-On Transfer Paper

  • Avoid transfer on buttons, seams, or folds; a flat surface is necessary for perfect printing.
  • Pre-wash the t-shirt and iron to have a smooth surface before printing.
  • The ironing surface should be hard, but smooth, a light pad of the board should be okay.
  • Check the recommendations on the heating and pressing times for transferring the design to the fabric. With experience, you will know the best temperature for the various kinds of fabrics.
  • You may preheat the fabric to get better results.
  • Place the transfer paper with the design on the place you want.
  • On top of the transfer paper, you may place a thin cloth or parchment paper so that the hot iron is not directly on the waxed transfer paper.
  • Start ironing from the center towards the corner. Go to the edges. Let the whole become hot so that transferring the design is uniform. You may have to iron for over 10 minutes.
  • Stop ironing and let it cool.
  • Peel off or wash the transfer paper from the T-shirt by immersing in cold water.
  • Wash the T-shirt lightly and let it dry.
  • Light iron the T-shirt before use.


Transferring design and images with iron-on transfer can create wonders. Once you have the hang of it, you can use your intuitive skill to design and print in any kind of material. The technique of iron-on transfer is an easy and cheap way of fulfilling your artistic hobby. It can be an innovative DIY project. Hope the write-up has been useful.

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