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How to Make and Use Iron-on Transfers

What do an anti-establishment punk rocker and a grandmother who loves to make crafts have in common? Well, for one thing, they can both have fun with iron-on transfers! Iron-on transfers allow you to easily decorate clothes and other fabrics, and creating your own makes your style unique. Here's how to make and apply transfers.


1. Buy a transfer. You can buy transfers at most crafts stores, art stores, and big box retailers.

2. Create your own transfer.

Find or create an image you want to use for the transfer. You can scan an image into your computer, find one on the internet, or create one in a software program.

Manipulate the image. Using basic image-editing software, you can resize your image, add effects, change colors, or do whatever you want until it's just right. Use your image-editing program to reverse the image so that it comes out correctly on the fabric you transfer it to.

Print the transfer. Print a test page on plain paper, and when you're sure it's how you want it, print it onto a piece of transfer paper. Make sure to load the transfer paper so that the image will print on the correct side (this should be clearly marked).

Lay out the fabric 3. Lay out the fabric. Place the t-shirt (or other cloth to which the image will be transferred) on a hard, flat surface, and smooth out any wrinkles. The work surface should be heat resistant and should be large enough to accommodate the entire area of the transfer with a little room to spare.

Place transfer image-side down 4. Place the transfer image-side down on the fabric. Put the transfer on the cloth precisely where you want the image to be. Be sure you have the image facing the fabric.

5. Place brown paper inside the shirt directly under the transfer paper. Unless you want the image to be printed on both sides of a shirt (if that's what you're transferring the image to), you'll need to put something between the front and back.

Iron on the transfer 6. Iron on the transfer. Carefully read the instructions given with the transfer paper. Set the iron to the designated temperature, and wait for it to warm up. Move the iron in large circles on top of the transfer paper. Start by focusing on the outside of the image, and gradually move toward the center. Be sure to apply adequate pressure for an adequate amount of time for ten seconds (see the transfer paper instructions), but keep the iron moving to prevent scorching.

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