How to Use Transfer Paper on Fabric

Using transfer paper on fabric is an excellent way of adding color and texture. It’s also an easy technique that can be used for all sorts of projects, from quilting to sewing clothing or home decorating. Transfer papers are available in many different sizes and shapes, so you’ll find one that will work perfectly with your project. 

Transfer Paper Basics: What do I need? 

You don’t need much to print on vinyl transfer paper- just a few things like scissors, glue stick, ironing board, and a piece of fabric.

The first thing you should know about transferring designs onto fabrics is that they’re not permanent; once applied, it’s tough to remove them without damaging the surface underneath. So if you want to keep something permanently attached to your fabric, then this isn’t suitable as a method.

However, there are many other ways to add exciting details to your creations, such as embroidery, appliqué, painting, etc.

How to Use Transfer Papers on Fabric

If you’ve never tried transferring designs before, here are some tips to help you along the way.

Choose Your Design

cool monkey design

The design you choose depends entirely upon what effect you’d like to achieve. If you have a specific image in mind, start by drawing out how you would like it to look on your chosen material. You may even consider printing off a copy of the picture beforehand to make sure everything looks exactly right. Once you’ve got your idea down pat, cut out the shape you require.

Cut out Shape from Transfer Paper

shape properly cut from transfer paper

Once you’ve decided which part of the design you wish to apply, carefully place the transfer paper for t-shirts over the area where you intend to create the pattern, make sure the edges line up correctly, and smooth any creases out with your fingers. Then gently peel back the backing paper until only the desired section remains stuck to the fabric. Remove the remaining backing paper and press firmly into position.

Apply Glue Stick

glue stick applying on Transfer Paper

Now comes the tricky bit! Before applying the glue stick, ensure that both surfaces are clean and dry. Next, take care when pressing the two pieces together because too much pressure could cause damage to either side of the fabric. When ready, apply a thin layer of glue around the edge of the transfer paper. Finally, leave the glue to set overnight.

Iron Transfer Paper into Place

Iron Transfer Paper into Place

When the glue has dried completely, lay the transferred design face-down on another sheet of plain white cotton cloth. I am using a hot iron press firmly across the entire design. This process helps to fuse the design securely into place. Leave to cool slightly before removing the backing paper.

Peel Backing Paper off Transferred Designs

Peel Backing Paper off Transferred Designs

Peel away the backing paper slowly while holding the fabric tautly against the table. Be careful not to pull at the glued sections otherwise. You risk tearing the fabric. After peeling back enough layers, you should see the original design beneath. Now repeat steps 1–4 above to complete the whole design.

Add Embellishments

fabric embellishments for clothing

There are loads of fun embellishments you can add to your transfers, including buttons, beads, sequins, ribbons, charms, lace, feathers, glitter, paintbrushes, stencils, stamps, and more. Follow step 5 above but instead of leaving the backing paper on for longer than necessary, try adding one or all of these items after the final layer of backing paper has been removed.

Repeat Steps Until Complete

Repeat steps 2–6 until you’ve created every detail required. It takes practice, so be patient and remember: mistakes happen! But don’t worry – we’ll show you how to fix those pesky minor errors later on…

Fix Mistakes

If there’s an error in your design, remove the backing paper from the affected areas using tweezers. Take extra care if you’re working near heat sources, as this will melt the adhesive. Use scissors to trim away excess iron-on fabric transfer paper and reattach the backing paper once again. The best way to avoid making mistakes is to print multiple copies of each design the first time around. That way, you won’t need to waste precious materials trying to correct them.

Clean Up Your Fabric

After completing your project, it may look like a mess. Don’t panic, though – give everything a good wash under warm water. You might want to hang your finished piece outside to air dry. If you’d prefer to keep things tidy inside, pop them in the washing machine along with some mild detergent. Once they come out of the washer, turn them through cold water and pat dry.

Enjoy Your Work Of Art

Once you have completed your masterpiece, enjoy looking at it every day. Remember, you only get better by practicing! And now you know exactly what goes where. You can create any number of designs without having to start over. So go ahead and make something beautiful today!

Share with Your Friends

Now that you’ve mastered transferring onto fabrics, why not share your work online? Upload images to Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Or even send us pictures via email. We love seeing other people’s creations too!

Keep Creating

Keep creating new projects and sharing them with friends and family. There isn’t anything stopping you from doing so. Remember always to practice safe crafting practices such as wearing gloves when handling sharp objects and keeping children well supervised.

The Bottom Line

Transferring artwork onto fabric is easy and quick. All you need is patience and practice. Follow our simple instructions carefully, and before long, you’ll be able to achieve amazing results. Now that you know how to use transfer paper on fabric, why don’t you get started today? If you don’t, you might wish you had!

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About Tom

Tom is a blogger and artist who also loves technology. He spends his days blogging about the latest developments in the world of art, and he enjoys sharing his thoughts with readers on what it means to be an artist today. Tom has always been interested in technology - but it wasn't until he was 13 years old that he discovered how much fun making websites could be! Tom is a fun-loving, adventure seeking creative type. He enjoys reviewing art products and technology gadgets on his blog and has been doing so for over 5 years now! He spends most of his time in the studio, at the beach, or out exploring new places.

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