Since I started crafting, transferring images to fabric has been the toughest branch for me. Although I had success with several methods I found online, I still thought it was such a hassle just to do a simple image transfer. Besides, none of those methods were reliable when it came to washing the fabric: either the image would totally wash off or the ink would bleed all over the fabric.
Dreaming of the possibilities, I was determined to find a reliable, easy and quick way to do it. I found the solution with Heat Transfer Paper! Since I don’t have a heat press, my next step was to find the type of paper that I could use with my iron, yet still achieve excellent results comparable to a heat press. After a week of research and learning about all the products out there, I finally decided to go for Jet-Pro SS Heat Transfer Paper. It is not only the cheapest but also one of the best, as it is used for commercial applications. Besides, they have different sizes of Heat Transfer Paper including 11″ x 17″ for those who have large format printers.
Here is my method to transfer images to fabric with Heat Transfer Paper:
Before starting the image transfer, I clean the fabric with a lint roller. This step is important, because anything on the fabric gets trapped under the transferred image, so you need to have lint-free fabric if you want your end product to look great.
Once the fabric is lint-free, I prepare the surface where I will be ironing. Two important notes here:
- You need a smooth, hard surface: I use a piece of MDF board for that. Although the instructions of the iron-on transfer paper say to place a pillow cover on the hard surface, that is not necessary if you are using a smooth MDF board.
- It is better to have that smooth hard surface below your waist level, because you need all the pressure you can give when ironing.
Next, I lay my fabric down and give it a quick ironing to get rid of any creases. Then I place the image face-down on the fabric.
I empty the water from my iron, as you need dry heat for better bonding. Then I put my iron on its highest setting and start ironing over the entire image. I make sure to press every inch of the image, sliding the iron first up-and-down then side-to-side. For small images, I keep pressing for at least 30 seconds. For big images, I press for 2 minutes.
After I finish pressing, I wait for the Heat Transfer Paper to cool down, then I start peeling off the backing paper…
and mission is complete!
Although washing and ironing instructions are usually given together with the Heat Transfer Paper, I want to note that you need to turn your garment inside-out before washing, and make sure you use the same setting as for delicates/wool/hand wash. Also please remember never to iron the transferred image directly, as it will stick to your iron.