Learn how to print on fabric super easy, using transfer paper and a household iron. A simple and efficient method to personalize your products.
Some while ago I started making tote bags for sale. I wanted to find a way to personalize them for my clients using their own graphics. Since I don’t have a press to do this, I had to find another method. Printing at home can’t be easier by simply using a household iron and transfer paper. Now you can print your logo on fabric in just a few minutes. Learn how in a few easy steps.
How To Print On Fabric
- A fabric tote bag ( in my case )
- Transfer paper
- Inkjet Printer
- Household iron
- Flat wooden surface
2. Preparing The Fabric
First thing you will need it’s your tote bag, t-shirt, or anything you want to print on. You can either buy it, or if you are like me you create your own. No matter what option you pick, the rest of the steps are exactly the same. First of all you pick the graphics you want to print, and always make sure the image has a high resolution so the printed image will look good. Do not use small images that you have to oversize as your printed image will be low quality. To print the image on the transfer paper, use an inkjet printer.
The next part it will be in picking up the transfer paper, depending of the color your fabric. There is different transfer paper, for light colors or dark colors. Depending on the paper you are using, you may have to print the image normally, or mirrored. Check the instructions of the transfer paper first. In this example I used light / white transfer paper. In my case the image had to be printed mirrored. Once you decided on the graphics, then you can print your image. Watch the video tutorial on the bottom of the article as well.
3. Printing On Fabric
Everyone calls it printing on fabric, but you actually just transfer what you already printed on the transfer paper. Once you printed your image on the transfer paper, lay your fabric on a flat wooden surface. This offered me the best results so far. Always iron your fabric first, so you have a nice clean surface to bond the printed image on. Cut the image you just printed as you see in the video tutorial. I always like leaving edges of about 5 mm around the image.
Pick the desired spot on your fabric where you want to have your image printed, and place the paper on top. Have your iron to the highest setting and make sure it’s heated up properly before you place it on the paper. Now you can start the transfer process. The idea is that you have to heat up the paper with the iron as uniform as you can, using as much pressure on the image. You don’t have a proper press, so you have to use the iron as a press instead. The transfer paper I’m using here in the photo, it’s from PPP photo paper direct.
Always read the instructions of the transfer paper you are using. For the paper I used, I needed about 3 minutes of heat and pressure for the size of an A4 image. It’s a good thing to always check if the image bonded to the surface before you remove the top paper layer. In case it didn’t sick properly, you can always heat it up and press it for a little longer.
4. Finishing The Image Transfer
Now that you heated up and applied the necessarily pressure on the image, you are ready to remove the top paper layer. First let the surface cool down properly and do not remove the paper when it’s still hot. The image may stick to the paper and you will mess up everything. So when it cooled down properly, carefully remove the paper layer. Personally I’m adding a baking or silicone paper on top and iron a little more for a perfect bond, after I removed the paper layer. For some types of transfer paper you can remove the paper even when it’s still warm. That will have an effect on the final look of the image, mate or glossy.
And there you have your own custom printed fabric product. Remember to always leave it for at least 24 hours before washing it. Later on if you ever want to iron your fabric, remember to protect the image with another piece of fabric on top, or iron it backwards. When washing always turn the fabric product inside out. It’s not recommended to use a heat dryer after washing as it will destroy the printed image.
5. Recommended Fabrics To Print On
This depends a lot on what type of transfer paper you are using. That is the reason I’m insisting so much to read the instructions. Usually anything that’s made of 100% cotton or cotton / polyester blend will work. The one I used to print on fabric in this example, it’s recommended for a wide range of fabrics such as: cotton, viscose, polyester, silk etc, as long as they do not melt from heat.
6. Washing The Printed Bag
The printed bag will las depending on how often you wash it and the temperature of the water. For me it lasted over one year and some even longer. Don’t use hot water just warm water. If you iron the bag, never use a hot temperature, use the minimum temperature setting. Always iron the bag backwards not turned on the front side. Never hot air dry the bag in a drier, just let it dry normally. It should last pretty long. But I guess most of the time the transfer paper quality matters a lot too. Did you like the article ? Have a look on this one as well. Learn how to sew a tote bag super easy in a few steps. No need to buy them if you can make them on your own.