Printable Iron On Transfers Tutorial

September 9, 2013Allison Murray

Today we’re going to save big bucks by making a printable iron on transfer using our ink jet printers!


It seems that lately I’m doing an awful lot of projects with my favorite paintings by my favorite artists. I guess I’ve just been in an art loving mood here lately. If you follow my Tumblr blog, you’ve probably noticed. Probably a quarter of all of my posts lately have been artists and pieces I dig and I want to share with the world.

See that gorgeous girl up there? That’s Jacqueline with Flowers by Pablo Picasso. This is hands down, my favorite Cubist portrait by Picasso. The colors are amazing, the style spectacular. I love everything about this painting so much.

So it makes sense that I’d want to put her on a tote bag. Now this bag has a very special purpose, but I’ll leave that for another day. Today we’re going to turn this painting into an iron on transfer. What makes this special is that we’re going to print the transfer ourselves and we’ll be applying to a very dark bag.

For this project you need:

  • June Tailor Dark T-Shirt Inkjet Transfers
  • hot iron
  • pillow case (I keep an old one for projects just like this!)
  • paper cutter
  • item to transfer to (tee shirt, tote bag, pillow case, etc.)
  • image to transfer (a Google search selecting the size as “large” will yield good results)

Printable Iron On Transfers Tutorial at Dream a Little Bigger

Take you printable piece of transfer paper and feed it into your printer per it’s directions. If you need to turn the paper upside down, flipped over, whatever be sure you do that.

If using this exact transfer paper, do NOT flip the image. If using another paper look at the directions closely to see if you want to mirror the image or not. Print as you would on “normal paper”, meaning, don’t set to a photo paper setting as that will put down way too much ink. If you have the option between text, photo, text and photo, the text and photo option has always worked best for me.

Allow the print to dry at least 20 minutes. I give mine overnight just to be super safe.

Printable Iron On Transfers Tutorial at Dream a Little Bigger

To save time, go ahead and get your iron heating up. It won’t take long before we’re actually ironing on this transfer, now! Because my bag is cotton canvas, I set my temperature on the iron to “cotton”.

Lay out your pillow case on your work area… now you can wait a bit to do this but I just went ahead so I wouldn’t forget. Please forgive the obviously 70s-tastic print as the background!

Trim your iron on transfer as closely as you can to the edges. I tend to cut in just a smidge to be sure I have no white anywhere.

Now, say we didn’t trim this sucker at all… All of that white is going to be white on the bag, tee shirt, whatever. The white parts will NOT TRANSFER CLEAR.

Printable Iron On Transfers Tutorial at Dream a Little Bigger

Take your paper and gently peel up one corner. The top part is your transfer and it’s going to have a vinyl-like feel to it. It will stretch out of shape if you’re not careful, so slowly peel away from the backing paper. Nothing’s sticky so don’t worry about messing the transfer up because it’s gone and stuck to itself.

Printable Iron On Transfers Tutorial at Dream a Little Bigger

Place the transfer exactly as you’d like for it to  be. Notice how the printed side is facing up? Perfect!

Printable Iron On Transfers Tutorial at Dream a Little Bigger

Cover the transfer with the parchment paper included in the packaging. It doesn’t matter which side is down or up on the parchment paper.

Next take your hot iron and place it on top of the parchment paper. Keep it moving in gentle circles. I counted to 100 in my head kind of quickly moving the iron over the center and edges of the transfer underneath. Remove the parchment and feel around to see if any part of the transfer didn’t adhere, especially the corners and edges. Replace the parchment and iron down again as necessary to be fully tacked down.

Printable Iron On Transfers Tutorial at Dream a Little Bigger

And there she is, my very own Jacqueline with Flowers tote bag. Here in a week or two I’ll be sharing exactly why I wanted a bag just like this.

So, now that you know how simple it is to print and make your own iron-on transfers – is this something you’ll be doing at home?

Comments (1)

  • Lynda

    December 6, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    I’m so glad you have this on your page — the instructions on the package just weren’t clear to me and the manufacturer doesn’t have any additional information or tutorials on their site! I can now work on my project with confidence that i’m not going to ruin it or the extra pages of transfer!

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