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How to Use Iron on Transfers for T-Shirts

Iron transfers are a fun and easy way to add a custom design to almost any garment. They work by applying transfer paper printed with your design onto an object you want decorated, then using an iron or heat press machine to transfer the design. When working with transfers, it is important that the garment is made of fabric which will not be damaged by heat or melting.


What are iron on transfer paper?

Iron on transfer paper is the name given to a T-shirt accessory (plain piece of paper that has had a layer of glue applied). The base of the paper is either translucent, matt or shiny. This layer allows you to apply your design onto the paper and then transfer it to fabric using an iron.  These types of transfers are great if you want to create your t-shirt design or want to add custom artwork to another garment. Transfer paper printing can be found in various colors, with some being transparent so you can cut them out. They also come in matte or glossy finishes depending on the type of look you're after. 

Transfer paper is special because it's able to withstand high temperatures (typically around 320 degrees Fahrenheit). Using transfer paper means that you'll avoid damaging any clothing, like if you were to use regular printer paper instead. When transferring a design onto transfer paper, keep in mind that they're typically printed at 300 dpi or higher (dots per inch) so the resolution will be much better than anything coming out of a standard printer. 

You may have seen iron on transfers in the store or at your local craft fair, but never knew exactly how to use them. You’re not alone; many people are unfamiliar with this crafting method, but it can be easy to do if you follow these simple steps, and they make customizing your clothing easy and fun! All you’ll need is some iron on transfer paper and an iron. Here are the steps to get started!


Design your logo

Designing your logo is the best way to make sure it’s the perfect representation of what you stand for. It can be tricky, but luckily there are plenty of resources out there that can help you create a great one. Some people start by brainstorming a few different ideas and narrowing them down, while others start with an idea in mind and go from there. Once you have a design in mind, it’s time to transfer it onto paper using iron on transfer paper.

 Cut out the design using your craft knife

This is the more complicated part of the process, but it is also the most fun. You need to cut out your design by following the lines you drew with a craft knife. I recommend using an old t-shirt that you are willing to sacrifice because mistakes are bound to happen. If you make a mistake, simply use your craft knife again and cut around your mistake until it is fixed! The best way to avoid mistakes is by making sure your design fits on the t-shirt before cutting it out or better make your own t-shirt online.

When you cut out the design using your craft knife, make sure that the fabric is placed in the appropriate position. You will have a better chance of getting a clean transfer if you use a ruler or straight edge as your guide. When transferring, start with an edge and work your way inward as you press firmly down onto the paper backing with the hot iron. Turn over and repeat on the other side of the shirt.


Place the transfer face down onto your t-shirt

Place the transfer face down onto your t-shirt, making sure that you are covering the entire design and it is lined up where you want it.


Place a sheet of baking parchment over it, then apply heat

Line your item (such as T-shirts, Apron, or tote bag) up with the transfer paper, then place a sheet of baking parchment over it. Apply heat evenly from a household iron and press down firmly for some seconds. 


Peel off the backing as soon as you finish heating the transfer with a hot iron

Iron transfer paper is a great way to add a custom design to your clothing. Transfer paper printing is a process where you apply the transfer paper to the fabric, heat it with an iron, and then peel off the backing as soon as you finish heating.

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