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How to Apply Iron on Transfer Paper - Tips, Techniques and Free Designs

Updated on October 10, 2011

Designing with iron on transfer paper is one of the easiest and simplest method to customize a t-shirt or any type of fabric for that matter. If you want to be sporting a unique piece of clothing, this is a great route to go. You can create a one-of-a kind customized t-shirt without spending too much money or time. The best part is there are tons of possibilities when it comes to creating designs and styles, it's all up to your own creativity and imagination.

You might think that applying iron on transfers just involve printing and ironing. It maybe that, but there are little details and instructions that you need to know about for the whole procedure to be successful. Read on and find out about tips and techniques for applying iron on transfer paper on t-shirt.

Match the Iron on Paper with the Right Fabric

Not all iron on papers function for all kinds of t-shirt. Make sure that you are using the right iron on transfer paper for your fabric.There are different types depending on what fabric or t-shirt you will be ironing it on.There’s one specifically for white or light colored fabric, dark colored fabric and stretchy fabric.

Match the Iron on Paper with the Right Printer

Each iron on transfer paper also has specific printers on where they will work on.So before buying one, make sure that the paper you choose matches the printer you have. So if you have inkjet printers at home, choose the iron on paper for inkjet printers. If you print on a laser printer, the heat can cause the paper to melt inside the cover which can cause damage. So matching the paper with the right printer is a critical part of the process that you should be wary about.

Choosing Your Design

Free Design Sources:

The artwork is the most important element of this whole procedure and make sure that you choose one that you really love because you can’t change it once you have ironed it on. The best source of design is of course the internet and there are tons of images to choose from.If you are planning on selling this though, make sure you choose images that are royalty free. I have done a lot of iron ons and these are the websites where I usually get my designs, best part of the whole thing is they are FREE to download.

There are so much more on the web, all you have to do is a simple google search and you will be faced with tons of choices.

Don't forget to flip the image.

Be aware that prior to printing the designs, you should check your design’s direction first.If it involves numbers , letters and non symmetrical images, you should flip it so it will give you the mirror image.You can do this in Photoshop or directly from your printer prior to printing it. Look for the option "Flip Image Horizontal" in Photoshop or find the option "Print Mirror Image" from your printer.

Test your artwork first

It is best to print your design first on a regular paper just to be sure it is the perfect style, test and color for your t – shirt. This way, you will be able to have sort of preview before printing the final design.

Leave a border on your design

When you cut your design, make sure that you don’t cut all the way. The best thing to do is to leave about ¼ inch border.This is because the colors of the artwork can bleed sometimes when you iron it on. So the border allowance can help the t shirt prevent from getting stained, just in case the colors smudge.

Using your Iron

Preheat your iron and set it to the hottest setting.Most importantly turn off the steam function as this can damage the design.

Do the ironing on a low flat surface, like a work table or workbench. Doing it on top of ironing board can make the procedure longer the because the cover can draw the heat from the iron thereby , ironing it can take longer for the design to adhere.

It’s best not to iron for too long, standard is usually 3-4minutes.And when ironing, the best direction would be an up and down motion as doing it side to side can cause the transfer to shift and color from the design can shift and smear the t-shirt or fabric.

Iron on Paper Video Instruction


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