10 Common Mistakes When Using T Shirt Transfer Paper

T shirt transfer paper has so many uses, the only limiting factor is your imagination.  Using transfer paper, you can scan doodles or signatures into your pc and print them on tee shirts, bags, sweatshirts and aprons.  Or you can have fun with your digital photos, manipulating them and adding text to them before you create wearable art with them.

Using this paper, you can create wearables to promote your business or to make a family event even more special.  Take the time to make personalised presents and make people laugh or cry tears of joy at your end result.  All you need to get down and creative with fabric is the right type transfer paper for the job in hand (dark, light, glitter, A3 or A4), a pc, a printer with normal Ink and an iron….and of course a whole lot of imagination. It can also be used using a heat press machine.

As long as you avoid these Top 10 common mistakes when using transfer paper, you shouldn’t go far wrong:

1.  Don’t print on the wrong side of the paper. This is a common mistake which is easily avoided. Simply take time to set the paper up correctly in your printer tray to print on the correct side.

2.  Don’t forget to print on mirror mode. This is only relevant when printing on light colours. When printing for a light background, you must remember to switch your printer to mirror mode otherwise your image will appear the wrong way round.

3.  Don’t forget to cut around the image carefully. If you don’t cut round your image carefully enough, you’ll end up with too much fabric transfer paper left which will reduce the impact of your design.

4.  Don’t iron on a surface which isn’t flat. You must iron your fabric transfer paper on a completely flat surface, otherwise the image will not be sufficiently attached to the fabric.

5.  Don’t be frightened to get the iron really hot. It is essential that your iron is set at and has reached its maximum temperature before you iron the transfer.  Also it’s important that if you use a steam iron, the steam is switched off.

6.  Don’t keep the iron still. The problem with irons nowadays is that most irons have indentations on the bottom for steam to pass. If you don’t keep the iron moving while you’re fixing your transfer, there’ll be parts of your image which aren’t stuck down.

7.  Don’t forget to apply enough iron pressure. The whole transfer process relies on pressure to make it work effectively. While moving the iron, you must consciously apply as much pressure as you can in order to get the best effect.

8.  Don’t leave any part of the image un-ironed. Leaving small parts of the image un-ironed is a common mistake particularly on irregular or large images. You must make sure that every corner of the image has been ironed.

9.  Don’t forget to fix the image after you’ve removed the backing paper. There are two ways of doing this, both of which are described in the instructions. You must make sure you choose one or the other.

10. Don’t wash your garment before the printing has fully set. The guideline for fabric transfer paper is not to wash it before it has been allowed to set for 24 hours. Again a common mistake is washing the garment too soon after printing.

and of course… pick the right paper type for the job. If you are going to transfer onto a light fabric (not necessarily white, but NOT dark) then choose light paper otherwise, the second type of t shirt transfer paper is the dark paper for black, navy blue and other dark fabrics.

This entry was posted in Product Information. Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to 10 Common Mistakes When Using T Shirt Transfer Paper

  1. katrina cataluna says:

    Hi, I’m wondering if what will happen to transferred image on tshirts using light transfer if instead of pressing it at mirror image, I print & press using procedures of dark transfer.
    example. I print at normal image to light transfer paper. Then i peel it off and press it (using heat press) like dark transfer.

    Thank you.

    • Ran says:

      Hi there, thanks for the comment. Using light transfer paper on dark fabrics is not recommended. The light transfer leaves a very fine light frame around the transfer. This fine frame is not visible on light fabrics, but very visible on dark. Mirror mode is only important should you wish to transfer text. If you intend on transferring just an image, the outcome is the same whether you print in mirror mode or not. I hope this helps.

  2. Gabriel says:

    I am trying to print words to shirts and i have tried different types of self weeding transfer paper but all are leaving a background behind the words still what type of paper can i use that will only transfer the ink and just the words and leave the rest. Any suggestions.

    • Ran says:

      When transferring images that have been generated on an ordinary inkjet printer, the image is held on the shirt within a chemical film. All the white areas around the text and at the edges of the image (the bits of the paper that were not trimmed away) are actually an unprinted film that has been transferred.

      Subsequently, if you look carefully, you will see this film on a white shirt and more so if the colour of the shirt is other than white. Although this film is very fine, it is visible if you look.

      There is no possibility of creating a transfer which is totally self weeding, when you use an ordinary inkjet. To achieve the result you are seeking, you need to use a dye sublimation technique which requires special inks, a special printer and a polyester content in the substrate in order to work.

      Regards. Ran

  3. Clea says:

    I was wondering if using dark printing paper on light fabric had the same effect as using light paper for dark fabric, which you described earlier.
    The paper I bought is meant for dark fabrics but is in itself merely a pale white so I figured I might as well use it on lighter fabrics, too. I just don’t want to waste it incase the design does turn out dark (which I fibs highly unlikely).

    • Aron says:

      Hi Clea,

      if you use dark transfer on white t shirts, you will get the exact image on the shirt as you have on the paper. the difference is that there will be an additional white layer on the shirt which will make the image stiffer than what it would have been had you used light transfer paper.

      if you use the dark transfer paper on light coloured fabrics, the background of the image will remain white.

  4. Rose says:

    I followed all the instructions listed, using a dark tranfer for a dark fabric, and the picture printed perfectly. However, when I ironed the image on to the shirt, then removed the sheet on top, the image was not shown. It was only a white background.
    Where did I go wrong?

    • Ran says:


      The dark transfer paper requires a slightly different process. It sounds like you have used the light transfer instructions instead. In the case of dark transfer you’ll need to peel the plastisol layer from the backing paper, lay it on the t-shirt with the image up and iron it over after putting a silicon paper over it. If you need more pointers please email or call us.

  5. Ahmed Nageh says:

    when i design a T-shirt what image format should i save my Design to transfer paper ?
    and how to avoid the white area around my design ?
    thanks in advance :D

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      It does not matter what format the image is in because the printer will print whatever you send to it.

      From the question I guess we are talking about the dark transfer paper. This paper transfers ALL the white areas in between the image and on the edges. You will need to either cut out all the white areas which are not required (easy to do if this is a block image) or introduce a background to the image of a similar colour to the shirt.

      If using dark transfer paper, there is NO NEED TO MIRROR the image when printing so any software will do.

      If using the light transfer paper, the carrier film is near transparent and the background of the shirt will show through the image. It is still best practice to cut as much of the unprinted areas as possible to achieve the best results. When using light transfer paper the image MUST BE MIRRORED.


  6. Gery says:

    How do I know what side to print on? Is it the smooth side, or the rough? doesn’t say.

    How do I fix the image? I thought after I peeled it off the t shirt it was done it was done?

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi Grey,

      the back of the transfer paper has little red squares so you should print on the other side without the red squares. To complete the transfer process, you need to use he silicon sheet provided with the pack to ‘push’ the transfer into the fabric of the t-shirt. We have a video on youtube at http://youtu.be/AXCh6rW2LbY I hope this helps. Please contact us by chat, email or phone for more help.

  7. Sena says:

    Can I correct the mistake on the t shirt after ironing text on the t-shirt?
    the picture is not clear, could I iron over it again to make it the picture clearer. or do i have to remove the printed imagine off the t shirt first?
    How can i correct my mistake because it is difficult to remove the printed imagine off the t-shirt and I tried i couldn’t?

    • Joseph Eitan says:


      The transfer paper is not designed to be repositionable so removing the transfer isn’t possible after ironing.

  8. Kara says:

    Would you consider heather grey a light color? I am trying to decide if I should use light or dark transfer paper for my Disney princess mouse ears design for my daughter.
    Thank you.

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi, If you plan to print black or dark images the light transfer will be good. For very faint colours that might be tricky, depends how dark your heather gray is which normally is light enough so I would go for the light. hope this helps.

  9. Dee says:

    Is there a difference in quality of transfer paper? For instance, does the paper you buy at your local office supply or Walmart work just as good as the more expensive? Or is it all in the technique on how you iron it on. I bought some from Walmart (Next Style- light fabric transfer). I have not used it yet ,because, I read some reviews that it cracked and peeled. Someone said it could be it wasn’t ironed on long enough or hot enough. Do you have any experience with this paper.

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi, not with this one, but ironing on a suitable surface (should be solid like a table NOT an ironing board), not enough heat or not long enough will cause even the most expensive transfer paper to yield poor results. Our how to video should help (regardless of the brand) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXCh6rW2LbY I hope this helps.

  10. Caitriona Tyndall says:

    I tried to fix my picture using the plain piece of paper but it has stuck to the picture. How do I get it off without ruining the picture?

  11. Joseph Eitan says:


    Iron the paper again and ensure it is hot when you pill it off. That should work. This clip should help, the use of the plain paper starts at min 4:43 http://youtu.be/Us7yI6VjdUg?t=4m43s

  12. Sally says:

    Hi! You mention glitter transfer paper in your article, but I don’t see it for sale at your main site. I was wondering if you stock it or it can be ordered in, as it’s something I’m looking for at the moment.

  13. Joseph Eitan says:

    Hi Sally, the glitter transfer is currently out of stock. We haven’t a return to stock date I am afraid.

  14. Sian says:

    Hi, when printing white text onto a dark purple shirt do I use light transfer paper or dark?

  15. Lucy Collins says:

    I want to iron a crest/logo on to a bright yellow garment so I assume I need light paper, however the logo has “cut out” segments in the centre which will be blank, so white, on the paper but I don not want these parts to transfer, apart from cutting this out and risking it ripping or not looking very neat if my hand isn’t steady, is there another way around this?

    Many thanks

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi, the transfer for light colour fabrics such as your yellow, is translucent (ours and some other manufacturers, but not all) so the areas which are not printed and showing white on the transfer, will have the colour yellow coming through.

  16. Carmen says:

    Hi, I have problem when I print on the dark transfer paper. The image came out weird which like the colours of the image came out like patches. However I use the exactly same method and same image printed on the light transfer paper and it came out perfectly. Wonder could you please give me some advise of why would this happen? Thank you.

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi There,

      The process of printing dark is TOTALLY different from light transfer paper.

      Please carefully refer to the instructions enclosed with the paper in the DARK transfer paper section.

      But to summarise

      Print Normally – No Mirror Mode
      Trim all non required white areas that yuo do not want to be visible on the garment
      PEEL off the backing paper from the image. You will end up with a very thin film with the image on it
      Place on the garment FACE UP
      Cover with Silicon paper
      Iron according to the timings provided (depending on the size of the image)

      I hope this helps. Contact us if you have any further questions.

  17. Sarunas says:

    Where can i find dark transfer paper which only transfers the text (no white bacground), because for some of the logos is hard to cut it out

  18. Jeremy Jasper Acosta says:

    May you give me tips for my T-shirt design not to be removed or having flaps. Last time, my design is getting removed from my T-shirt.

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi, Make sure to follow the instructions in the pack. Ensure correct ironing heat and that you iron for the required time. Finlay, iron on a solid surface not an ironing board as you need to use pressure. Please get in touch for further support if you need, I hope this helps.

  19. Mer says:

    Hi, I was wondering what type of transfer paper would I use if I wanted to print out an image to transfer onto a dark grey shirt and did not want it to have a white box around it?

    I know that if I used the regular transfer paper that i have now, I could trim and use a blade to cut away the excess white from the logo designed, but I was hoping for a paper that would not require the extra trimming and time. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi, When printing a coloured garments, you can only use the light transfer paper is the image is SIGNIFICANTLY darker than the background. So black text on grey shirts can be printed using the light transfer paper but if the image is photographic or the colours on the image are light (yellows, light blues etc) by using light transfer paper on grey shirts, will cause the grey of the shirt to mix with the colour of the image, changing it significantly.

  20. sheila says:

    Hi, I was wondering what kind of fabric is best for putting iron-on transfers? Also, are there any that should be avoided? Any info would be great, thanks.

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi, as long as the fabric won’t burn from the iron, you can use it. Look at the back label for any restrictions. Cotton works great and seems the most popular choice. I hope this helps.

  21. donna says:

    How can I removed white T shirt transfers from garment (PrintWorks)

  22. Mark says:

    hi, please help. i am attempting dark transfers but the colours look very faded/light. the blacks are coming out grey on dark transfer paper, and turn very very light after they are heat pressed to a t shirt. i know the process for dark printing and am following instructions to the letter, where am i going wrong?
    i should add that if i print the same image on light transfer paper or sublimation paper, the colours are perfect, i am stumped and tired of wasting materials, please help.

    • Joseph Eitan says:

      Hi, It would be beneficial to know what printer you are using for this purpose? I think you might be placing the transfer paper face down on the garment. I would be interested to see a photo of the result on the shirt and a photo of the image printed on the transfer paper before transferring onto the garment if possible. I suggest you contact us via sales@photopaperdirect.com and we will help you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>