I have to say this has to be one of my favorite “crafty items”. It’s called fabric transfer paper. You can usually get it at any office supply store. I confess I love working with stuff. I’ve made baby gifts, personalized gifts, home decor and business apparel using it. While it’s really handy there are a few tricks and tips you need to be aware of when you’re using it.
1. Know the difference between light and dark transfer paper.
Light transfer paper has a transparent background, while the dark has a solid white. The light transfer paper works best on whites and pastels, anything with a more solid color and the transfer’s outline with be painfully obvious. The solid white transfer background works best on solid and dark colors, but you need to make sure you that your cut out out your design very cleanly. (See tip 3)
2. Print out your design as a mirror image.
Sometimes the designer of the logo with do this for you, but more often than not you will need to check a special box in your printer setting that says “mirror image”. This is so it will come out correctly once ironed onto your fabric.
3. Give the proper amount of space around the design to prevent bleed.
The iron on paper needs a .25 inch “buffer” around the design to prevent bleed of the ink. (This can be more depending on the brand – see their instructions). Try to make the cuts as clean and smooth as possible avoiding and sharp corners as these can easily peel. Think curvy when cutting.
4. Use fabric that can take the heat.
Synthetics are out when it comes to transfer paper. The fabric needs to to be able to take heat for the transfer paper work properly without burning or getting singed.
5. Use the correct surface to iron on.
I’ve found that corrianne, or granite counter tops are great for this – they are a strong flat surface that can take a little heat no problem. Don’t ever do this on a cutting mat – as the heat will totally warp and ruin your mat (not that I’ve even done that….). Prep the surface with a towel to buffer between you and counter top. I will even iron the towel to make it wrinkle free and iron the item I’m about to transfer the design to to make it wrinkle free.
6. Timing is everything
Different brands and transfer paper types require a different amount of ironing. Some more, some less. Read the instructions and follow them to a “t”. Watch the fabric and make sure in your focus to iron on the transfer paper perfectly that you aren’t singing the fabric – it’s possible to do this even on cotton fabrics. Some paper you need to peel off while it’s still warm and others you need to wait. again check the instructions to see what is recommended for that brand.
7. Watch the wash and wear.
To keep your iron on design looking it’s very best make sure that you wash it cold and tumble dry low to help it maintain. If you wash it warm or dry it high the transfer can wrinkle, fade or even turn a yellow color. So keep it nice by watching the wash and dry temperature.
I have a few fun transfers you can try: