T Shirt Transfer Paper Tutorial

T Shirt Transfer Paper (or Heat Transfer Paper as it is sometimes known) is a well known product used by a wide range of different users. School children, sport associations, hen and stag party organizers, all have used transfer paper at some point in history to create personalised T Shirts (and other Garments) for a specific occasion or to produce a memento of a significant event.

Heat Transfer Paper however, can be used for a much wider range of applications that are often not considered by people who want to create something special on a surface that can not be easily fed through an inkjet printer.

The technical bits…..

Heat Transfer Paper is designed to take an image printed on it using an ordinary inkjet printer using ordinary inks, and allow the user to transfer it using a heat process onto essentially a porous surface that will allow the carrier film to stick to it.

Printed in mirror mode (with the image appearing back to front when viewed before transferring) the image is placed face down onto the substrate and with the application of heat and pressure, using a domestic iron or professional heat press, is transferred. No special skill or equipment required.

The creative bits….

As the transfer paper requires a porous substrate to stick to, the application range is much wider that simple t shirts. Users in the past have used transfer paper to print on items such as:

  • T Shirts (obviously)
  • Sweat Shirts
  • Mouse Mats (becoming obsolete we know, but may still be required)
  • Pillow Cases & Cotton Bag For Life
  • Aprons
  • Dinner Napkins (imagine the effect when unrolled and an image appears)
  • Flags and Bunting
  • Banners, Table Cloths and Covers of every description
  • Hats, Caps and Bandana’s
  • Wood!! Not a mistake, you can print on untreated flat wood!

Fabrics can be Cotton, Viscose, Polyester, Silk etc. As long as they do not melt under a hot Iron, the process will work.

General guidelines for using transfer paper:

  • Heat – The transfer paper relies on sufficient heat to be applied so that the image separates from the paper and moves onto the substrate. Domestic Irons of 1400w minimum and above are best for domestic application. (Do not use Steam)
  • Pressure – The more the merrier (but don’t cause and injury to yourself or your equipment). Pressure is the parameter that makes sure that the image does not only transfer but also stays there for ever.
  • Surface – Needs to be solid and sturdy. Work tops lined with another t shirt are great, ironing boards are banned!
  • Flat Substrates – T Shirts are flat so no problems but if you are printing other items make sure that they are flat and crease free. Remember that the iron or heat press are very flat and any indentations on the substrate will not receive heat and pressure to transfer.

Remember that these are not instructions on how to use the product. Full instructions are provided when you buy the paper.

So go off and exercise your creative juices when considering what you can do with this highly versatile product. As long as the surface you want to print on is heat resistant, absorbent and flat, the Transfer Paper will allow you to transfer an image generated on a computer and domestic printer, onto a wide range of materials. Your imagination is your only limit.

Watch the video tutorial of the Inkjet transfer paper:

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53 Responses to T Shirt Transfer Paper Tutorial

  1. Musanide says:

    I used the information on this website to find out if I could use ordinary ink on transfer paper and not necessarily sublimation ink. So I hope it works just as well.

  2. Yanna Michaelides says:

    Dear sirs,

    I would like to ask whether I can use your Inkjet Iron on Transfer Paper for cotton labels that I make for sale. These labels are used for handcrocheted and handknitted items. I want them to be washable and sometimes clients need to use tumble dryer.
    If you have any other suggestion on any other kind of transfer paper of yours, please don’t hesitate to say it.

    A prompt reply will be much appreciated.

    Regards
    Yanna Michaelides

  3. Tracy Porter says:

    Hi, Can you tell me if you have a video of how to use the glitter transfer paper please.
    I am just waiting on my delivery and want to make sure i get the most out if it without any waste. Thank you

    • Ran says:

      Hi,

      The instructions are 80% similar to the light transfer. The difference between the two is the de-glossing stage that is not required for the glitter / glossy transfer paper.

  4. James says:

    Will it work with a laser jet printer?

  5. josh says:

    to get the best finnish use photoshop to take out the background white using magic eraser and save as an npg file

  6. amanda says:

    hi all, the paper i purchased does not have any lines on it, i was wandering which side do i print on?
    rough or smooth ?
    please xxx

  7. Phill Watson says:

    Hi,

    just made my first transfer onto t-shirt. I noticed that the white transfer surrounding my image has turned brown. Is this to be expected or have I got something wrong. (I can send a pic it that helps).

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi Phil, You should trim around the image, leave around half an inch around the image as the excess around the image is not needed. When it turns brown, it means that you have either ironed for too long OR the iron is too powerful (1800W and over). Trimming around the image will help. Let us know how you go on.

  8. cintia says:

    I want to buy some transfer paper on ebay to print my children’s tshirts!! I have never done it before and would like to know if I can use the transfer paper for white, black and colour fabric, or there are different transfer paper for different fabric colour? thanks in advance.

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi, White t shirts need the light transfer paper, dark and black t shirts need the dark transfer paper. You can use the dark transfer paper on white t shirts but not the other way around.

  9. tarishi says:

    What is the the process of making heat transfer paper and rubber paper of t-shirt making process

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi, our transfer papers are also suitable for heat press. Instructions are available in the pack. Thank you.

  10. A. Nother idea says:

    Amazon sell a blank jig saw puzzle and you can iron images on to it. Ideal for family photos or DIY gifts for birthdays and other celebrations.

  11. MYK says:

    hello just got a batch of the LTP but every sheet I put in the printer curls in all 4 corners and hits the printhead causing ink splashes over the paper, I have tried a heavy weight to flatten the paper but no luck I also tried a hair dryer to warm up the paper to flatten it as I read on another site the paper may curl due to humidity but also no luck, so any advice before I waste all my paper.
    thanks

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi,

      The transfer paper is designed to absorb liquid and if left unprotected before use it can absorb humidity and curl. You can try and curl the paper in the other direction, failing that you will need to contact the supplier and arrange a replacement (if packing was at fault).
      I hope this helps.

  12. Anne smout says:

    Hi
    I bought your transfer paper recently. Firstly I print on paper to see if the image good.
    The image was but when printed onto the transfer paper there lines down the image.
    Incase it was the print heads I cleaned them and tried again. The same thing happened. Good picture on paer but not on transfer paper. Could you give me any idea what I am doing wrong. I have already wasted 2 sheets and do not want to waste anymore .
    Thankyou for your time
    Anne smout

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi Anne,

      When printing on ordinary paper, which is uncoated , the dots of ink that hit the paper during the printing process, spread, masking to some extent, any issues with the print heads. When you then go onto a coated paper, like the transfer paper for example, the absorbent chemical coating on the paper, stops the spreading of the ink, thus exposing any issues you may have with the print heads. The paper is not to be blamed if there are regular lines on the image as it is clearly the printer that is doing that and not the paper.

      I recommend you run a deep clean of the printer heads and test on a piece of high resolution coated paper to make sure there is no problem. If the lines on the transfer paper are feint (It would be good to have a photo of the result if possible), you can still use it as during the transfer process and heating, the image will smooth out and these lines are more than likely disappear.

      I hope this helps. Please contact us for more help.

  13. Anne smout says:

    Thanks for your help. I will give it a go.

  14. paul audain says:

    i want to print onto running t shirts i think they’re called wiki t shirts can i do this with you printing transfers?

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi Paul, you need to check the label on the back for ironing restrictions. If you are not allowed to iron it as I suspect, you won’t be able to use it.

  15. Kaylee says:

    Hi just wondering can I print a light image on a red t shirt

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi, for red colour t-shirts, you should use the dark transfer paper. If you want us to double check, send us a copy of the image you intend to transfer by email. Thanks for the comment.

  16. sahra says:

    hi!
    Do i print the image directly to transfer paper or not?
    What kinda transfer paper should i use for black t-shirts?
    And is it permanent? Like if i wash the shirt it won’t disappear.
    I honestly don’t have any idea what transfer paper look like.
    As this is my first time can u guys help me out?
    I will really appreciate ur reply..

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi, on dark fabric, use the dark transfer paper here. The image is durable provided you follow the simple washing instructions provided in the pack. Thanks for the comment.

  17. ajil says:

    Hi ,
    I really need help here , just let me know where I am wrong alrite .
    I have three papers with me
    1- Dark paper (for printing on ‘cotton’) for dark shirts
    2- light paper (for printing on ‘cotton’) for light shirts
    my question is – why is there a peel off in the paper – one side is a bit plastic and other is paper , why so ?
    also , can i use sublimation ink to print on cotton shirts ?
    3- A transfer paper for printing on polyester shirts – sublimation ink is necessary right ?

    Thanks a alot , sorry the script is abit big :)

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Dark transfer paper needs to be peeled off and placed face up on the dark garment because it transfers the white background onto the shirt. Light transfer paper DOES NOT need to be peeled because it is placed FACE DOWN onto the garment and you need the paper backing to protect the image from the Iron. Sublimation inks will not work with the transfer paper bought from us. You can use the transfer paper on any fabric, including polyester as long as the garment can withstand the high heat of the iron or heat press for the specified time.

  18. Tall Scratch says:

    hi
    i purchased a batch of light transfer paper from your site recently but i am having a problem, my problem is when using a heat press 195c for 30 secs pressure set correctly when i peel the transfer paper there is ink left on the paper, i have tried a number of sheets of paper using the same image with the same result ink left on the paper sometimes just a few dots other times quite a bit of ink is left on the paper, but trying again today at least one third of the image is left on the paper, the ink left on the paper is never in the same place, any advice would be very much appreciated.
    regards

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi, 30 seconds is too long. 13 seconds max at 195 – as per the instructions. You are overcooking the transfer chemical and its bubbling up – evaporating the adhesive – hence the results. Try 13 seconds at 195c. Thank you.

  19. kathy mettler says:

    I would appreciate your advice.
    I have printed on the transfer paper with a dark green color, but when I apply it to the t-shirt, iron it, and remove the paper, the resulting image is a green so light I can barely see it. It is as if the ink didn’t fully penetrate the transfer paper. Please help!

    Thank you.

  20. Emily Johnson says:

    I was using transfer paper and white spots shows up on the image. It looks like bleach spots and the paper is so fine and breaks apart. Any ideas of what I am doing wrong? I should say that the image looks fine on the paper but after the transfers the spots appear. Thank you

  21. Paige says:

    When printing onto the transfer paper does it have to be ordinary ink or can you use sublimation ink?
    Thanks

  22. Lou Jel says:

    Hi,

    I have transferred my images into canvas and washed and they look amazing!

    I was wondering what the care instructions are for future washes? E.g. Inside out, tumble drying, ironing the garment etc
    Thanks

  23. Lou Jel says:

    Hi there,

    If the item that’s got the heat transfer on can’t be turned inside out for washing – would you recommend putting it inside a pillow case to protect it?
    Thanks

  24. christopher dickenson says:

    HI
    once you have printed on to transfer paper can it be stored and used at a later date or is there a time window
    it has by . ?
    Many thanks

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      You can store it printed for an almost unlimited time as long as it is kept dry and flat. Thanks for the comment.

  25. Allison says:

    Hi I’ve bought both dark and light transfer paper. Can I use baking paper instead of silicone paper. I have a number of t-shirts to print and the paper is losing its waxy feel and the transfers aren’t sticking as easily as when I first used the silicon paper.

    Thanks in advance

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      You can use grease proof paper as long as it is high quality one and has a good non stick surface.

      The silicon paper however should not deteriorate and if you have a problem with the transfer not sticking, it is an issue with either the pressure you are applying being too low or the heat being too low also (or both). The silicon paper does not add anything to the process except protecting the iron from the ink and also pushing the image a little deeper into the surface to ensure better washing.

  26. German Garrido says:

    Please email me the image or link to purchase the paper that has the iron image on the back of transfer paper I want to order that one

  27. vikash saxena says:

    Sir if u don’t mind one question.
    For printing on to coloured(black/blue/grey etc.) T-shirt polyester or poly/cotton blended can we use those normal sublimation paper or there are different paper available for it..for white different and for color different

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Our products are not for sublimation printing and require ordinary inks and and ordinary inkjet printer. You can use them on any fabric as long as it can withstand the high heat of the iron or heat press required for the process to work. Whether you use a light or the dark transfer paper depends on the image and the colour of the garment. As a general rule, the image has to be SIGNIFICANTLY darker than the background in order for the light inkjet paper to be suitable. If not, then you need to use the dark transfer paper.

  28. Arcee says:

    Hi, what kind of printer do we need for this? And will it also work with photo papers? My cousin has photo papers lying around the storage room,you see..And i thought i could use ’em.

  29. Pam Hillman says:

    I bought the t-shirt transfer paper, I have followed instructions and tried it 4 times. Every time I print an image then iron it on a shirt the picture sticks to the fabric but the white adhesive material is on top not the picture when I pull off the grid paper off. I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong, I’ve ruined two shirts.

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