How to Make My Own Glitter Heat Transfers

By Mercedes Valladares
Design and create glitter heat transfers for your shirts.

Apparel manufacturers generally create novelty heat transfers such as glitter transfers onto rolls. This special roll has glitter embedded into the paper. Direct heat activates the glitter screen and transfers onto the shirt. Crafters can make glitter transfers with heat transfer paper and glitter spray. Original artwork is created on a personal computer and printed onto a specific type of heat transfer paper, which is generally determined by the color of the shirt. Teflon paper covers the artwork to protect the iron as well as the glitter graphic during the heat transfer process.

Preparing the Heat Transfer

Position the graphic in your graphic editing program’s drawing pad for printing. Light color shirt transfers require the mirror image of the graphic. Flip the finished artwork on the screen and save in a separate computer file prior to printing. Dark color shirt transfers require the graphic to print as it appears on the screen.

Change the printer setting to a high resolution on your inkjet printer. Print the design on the appropriate heat transfer paper. Heat transfer paper is available for light and dark color shirts. One side appears white, and the flip side has a protective sheet. Print on the white side of the paper for both light and dark colored shirts.

Cut out the artwork with a craft knife or sharp paper scissors to avoid jagged edges when transferring onto the shirt. Use a cutting board to avoid damage to the table top surface.

Place old newspapers onto your work surface. Wear protective eyewear, latex gloves and a mask, making sure you are working in a well ventilated area.

Spray glitter glue, holding the can at least 12 inches away from a piece of scrap paper to determine the appropriate distance for your brand. Certain spray brands cover a wide range and other spray brands have nozzles with a concentrated and direct spraying pattern.

Light Color Shirt Glitter Heat Transfer

Remove the protective sheet from the light colored shirt heat transfer and position the graphic to face down on the newspapers. If you leave the graphic facing you, it will appear reversed when transferred.

Spray a coating of glitter glue onto the transfer. Repeat until you are satisfied with the coverage. Keep in mind that if you want a specific printed color to show through the transfer, you should cover the color with a piece of paper while spraying to prevent glitter on your chosen color. Remove the paper after spraying. Let the glitter glue dry your brand’s recommended time.

Position the graphic face down onto the light color shirt. The glitter side is facing you and the artwork is facing the shirt. Place an old cloth between your shirt to avoid the transfer glue seeping onto the back of the shirt panel.

Set the iron as per your heat transfer paper brand’s instructions. Generally the iron is set on a high cotton setting.

Cover the artwork with Teflon paper. Do not iron directly onto the glitter glue to prevent damage to the iron’s plate. The glue will adhere to the bottom of your iron’s plate.

Glide the iron in a back-and-forth motion as well as from side to side for several minutes. Gently lift one corner of the Teflon and check whether the transfer is adhered to the shirt. Be careful when lifting the corner. Teflon paper has a tendency to get extremely hot. Continue to repeat this step until the glitter heat transfer is completely adhered. Allow the shirt to cool prior to wearing.

Dark Colored Shirt Glitter Heat Transfer

Position the graphic face up on the old newspapers. Do not remove the protective sheet cover until you finish spraying the graphic.

Repeat section 2 step 2 until you are satisfied with the glitter spray coverage. Let the glitter glue dry for the time recommended by your brand.

Remove the protective sheet cover gently and position it slowly onto the dark shirt. This paper type has a tendency to curl around the edges during sheet removal. Position the graphic face up onto the dark color shirt. The glitter and artwork side is facing you. Place an old cloth in between your shirt to avoid the transfer glue seeping onto the back of the shirt panel.

Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 from section 2 until the glitter heat transfer is completely adhered. Allow the shirt to cool prior to wearing.

About the Author

Mercedes Valladares is the founder of M721Organics and has been an independent designer for over 15 years. Her work experience commenced during college with manufacturers based in New York and Hong Kong. Her education includes LIM College, International Fine Arts College and design certification from the Paris Fashion Institute. She produces eco-crafting videos and writes recycling articles online.