How to Make Your Own Iron-on Transfers

Written by kimberly alston
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Iron-on transfers can be very easy to make. Transfers allow you to put almost anything on a blank T-shirt. You can create shirts for a team or for a family reunion or just to be a little different. Not only will your creations be original, but they will also be much more affordable than the funny T-shirts you may see at the store. If you have some common household items and technology, such as a computer and a printer, you can make your own original T-shirt transfers.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Light coloured T-shirt
  • T-shirt iron-on transfer sheets
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Scissors
  • Towel
  • Hard flat surface
  • Iron

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  1. 1

    Select the image or images you want to print onto the T-shirt. Use photographs, legally downloaded Internet pictures or even clip art.

  2. 2

    Paste the image(s) onto a blank document in Microsoft Word. Adjust its size, location and border by right clicking in the picture and selecting "Format picture." In this formatting screen you may also select the picture's location as in front of text or behind text.

  3. 3

    Add text by typing it in the desired location. Add word art by clicking "Insert" in the upper tool bar. Click "Picture" then click "Word art." Select the word art you desire and customise it for your shirt using this word art formatting screen.

  4. 4

    Adjust your picture(s), text or word art to suit your vision for your T-shirt. When the document meets your expectations, load a plain piece of paper into the printer, click the file then "Print" in the upper tool bar. When the print dialogue box appears, select "Properties." Click "Finishing" and then "Mirror image." Click "OK" and then "OK" again to print. The document will print a mirror image which will appear correctly when ironed onto your T-shirt. Check to be sure that the test page is a mirror image.

  5. 5

    Load the printer with one transfer sheet. Be sure that the sheet is loaded word side up so that the printing will be on the white side. Click the printer icon in the top tool bar. The document will now print onto your transfer sheet.

  6. 6

    Allow the document to dry for 20 seconds or according to the product directions. Trim the blank paper from around the picture and text. Leave a narrow margin around the printed area to discourage it from peeling. Place a towel folded in half on a hard flat surface then place the light-coloured T-shirt flat on the towel. Place the transfer print side down in the desired location on your T-shirt.

  7. 7

    Iron the image onto the shirt using a dry, hot iron. Be sure the iron is completely empty of water. Press down on the iron with both hands and hold for 20 seconds in each spot until you have ironed the entire shirt. Allow the shirt to cool for at least 2 minutes.

  8. 8

    Carefully peel the transfer sheet from the shirt. If any areas have not adhered to the shirt, replace the transfer sheet and repeat steps 6 and 7. Wash the shirt inside out before wearing.

Tips and warnings

  • Iron-on transfers may be applied to almost any cotton material, including bags and hats. Select material with low nap (not towels or towel-like material). The steps are the same for any cotton material.
  • There are a variety of brands of iron-on transfers. Experiment with different brands to find the brand that works best for you.
  • If you will be using stretchable material, purchase iron-on transfers intended for stretchable fabrics.
  • If you will be using dark material, purchase iron-on transfers intended for dark coloured material.
  • This is not a craft for young children.
  • Do not use a valued surface, such as the dining room table, for ironing because the heat from the iron could penetrate the folded towel and damage the surface underneath.

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