How to Make Iron-On Transfers From a Computer Printout

Things You'll Need

  • Ink Jet printer
  • Iron on transfer sheets
  • Design
  • Cotton or cotton-polyester blend item on which to transfer design
  • Pillowcase
  • Iron
  • Hard wood or Formica, heat resistant surface

Make iron-on transfers from a computer printout at home for unique, fun and personalized gifts. Iron-on transfer products exist for both ink jet and laser printers. Purchase them for light or dark, as well as cotton or synthetic materials. This product makes creating unique gifts both versatile and economical for adults, kids or groups.

Purchase iron-on transfers for computer printing. Be sure and buy the correct type for your printer. Find both ink jet and laser iron-on transfer products at office supply, hobby and discount stores. Additionally, choose the correct product for the type of material on which you plan to iron. Iron-on products for both cotton/cotton blend and synthetic materials exist as do products for both light and dark fabric.

Choose the piece on which to place the iron on transfer. Keep in mind that printers do not have white ink. Printers leave white areas blank. This means that wherever your design contains white, the fabric beneath shows. For instance, if you print a sailboat with a white sail and iron onto pink or striped fabric, the sail becomes pink or striped. Also, consider the size and smoothness of the project piece. You need a smooth area large enough for your design.

Use any application and create your design. Keep in mind the size of the piece on which you plan to iron the design. Insure you have a high quality image so that distortion does not occur. Simple designs without too much tiny detail tend to make the best transfers. If your printer media options do not include "T-Shirt Transfer Sheet," or "Back Print Film" options, then flip your design horizontally before printing. This turns the design backwards for printing so that after you print and iron it, the design, especially any wording, appears correctly.

Before printing, set your printer media options to either "T-Shirt Transfer Sheet," or "Back Print Film" if available and necessary. Create a trial run of your transfer print on plain paper. This assists you in insuring that all parts of the design print properly and fit on your project item. Once you confirm this, print on the transfer paper. Follow manufacturer's directions to insert the paper into your printer correctly so that the right side faces your printer's printing mechanism.

Iron design as soon after printing as possible. Preheat iron to highest setting for your fabric. Place pillowcase over the wood or Formica hard surface on which you have chosen to iron. This helps insure a smooth surface. Do not use an ironing board as the heat disperses too much. The wood or Formica retains the heat better. Place wrinkle free garment over wrinkle free pillowcase. Place transfer, print side down, onto the project item. Starting in one corner of the transfer, pushing down firmly, slowly iron across transfer for 15 seconds. Reposition iron and repeat on next area of transfer as needed. Be sure to iron over all areas of the transfer twice. Finish by ironing over entire transfer quickly for about ten seconds.

Set iron down and immediately peel off backing paper. If paper does not peel off easily, quickly use iron to reheat entire transfer concentrating on the area that did not peel. Peel steadily until entire backing paper releases. Smooth project item with hands and allow cooling for a couple of minutes.

About the Author

Elizabeth Stover, an 18 year veteran teacher and author, has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Maryland with a minor in sociology/writing. Stover earned a masters degree in education curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas, Arlington and continues to work on a masters in Educational Leadership from University of North Texas. Stover was published by Creative Teaching Press with the books "Science Tub Topics" and "Math Tub Topics."

Photo Credits