Iron on Transfers for T-Shirts, Tote Bags, and Other Fabrics

Picture of Iron on Transfers for T-Shirts, Tote Bags, and Other Fabrics
How to Transfer Graphics Onto T-Shirts and More

Iron on transfers are great for t-shirts, and once you know how to apply your own custom images to fabric with the use of iron on transfer sheets, the possibilities are endless!  You can make custom clothing, tote bags, aprons, and much more.  Whether you're making custom shirts for the local sports team, creating the perfect gift for a loved one, or making merchandise to sell on ebay or etsy, iron on transfers provide an inexpensive and easy way to apply images to fabric. 

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Step 1: Find Unique Artwork

Picture of Find Unique Artwork
First and foremost, you'll need an image that you'd like to transfer.  

When considering an image, keep in mind that light colors may not produce results like solid, dark colors.  You'll be printing the iron on transfer with your home printer... and printers don't actually print white ink, they just assume the background color of your paper is white and ignore white ink.  So if your image has white in it... the iron on transfer will appear clear in those areas, showing the color of the fabric instead of white.  Very light colors may appear transparent making for a muddy result.  It's best to stick with solid, dark colors that will be rich with ink and really show the contrast of your image against the fabric.

If you plan to print your image on a dark colored shirt or dark fabric, you'll need special iron on transfer paper with a white background instead of a clear background, allowing for white and light colors but with other restrictions (more on that later!).

If you're interested in selling your custom shirt or product, you will need to make sure that you have the rights to sell the image on merchandise, so don't just copy an image off of google!  You can find inexpensive, high quality artwork in a variety of different subjects on etsy and other websites and legally sell shirts and other products using the artwork.

Visit VintageRetroAntique on for thousands of printable vintage graphics like the cute bunny used in the example.

Next we'll look at different types of iron on transfer paper.
ErikaG21 month ago

Hi my name is Erika and im going to start a business using my own designs and I would appreciate it if you could show how to do it step by step and what I will need.

Hello Erika
This is Gaurav from India
I am also start a business at international level.
in this particular filed
if interested please contact me
contact number- 91- 7877777582

Mail id-
Teengirl1 month ago
Do you need special ink? Or can I use common ink?

A few questions,, might sound silly to ask but I have never done this and want to make sure I have an understand. I can use my computer at home?? I don't need to buy something special?? If I want to iron on words,,,, I can write them in my open office,,, print on regular paper,,, scan back into my computer,,, but flip or reverse the words so they are correct when I iron them on?? or is there another way to do the words?? I am looking to make tie die shirts with just sayings on them and looking for the way to do them myself

Hello alwayspositive,
You have to use Tshirt transfer paper which you can find at Walmart or other similar stores. You cannot use regular printer paper.

yes you can use your own printer, ,you can buy transfer paper at walmart like 14 sheets for 7. make sure you print your samples on plain paper first, make sure you print your transfers out backwords it you have prints ,i learned a hot iron too long will not leave transfer on shirt, have fun ,if you life edge u can see if it is transferring follow instructions on transfer sheets , note do not use ols transfer sheets the glue loses its consistency

Can I use any ink? or should I use the laser ink to make it work? Thanks.

MorganW28 months ago

Nice thanks man! I was wondering about this stuff

mchau29 months ago

so you uses the epson?