Transfer Images to Fabric





Introduction: Transfer Images to Fabric

About: Welcome to my profile. My name is Matthias and I am BrittLiv's boyfriend. She also uses this account to post some quick instructabes that she deems too simple for her main account.

In this instructable I am going to show you a very easy way to transfer images to fabric, with things you have probably lying around.

As you can see I used a drawn picture of our dog, but the technic works just as well with any photograph.

Step 1: Things You Need

These are the things you will need:

  • Fabric
  • Image printed with a laser printer (inkjet doesn't work)
  • Lavender oil (e.g. here)
  • Some extra paper
  • Tape
  • Spoon
  • Paintbrush
  • Flat iron

Step 2: Preparing

Start be ironing your piece of fabric, as you can see I used a pillow case.

Place a few sheets of paper underneath it to soak up any excess oil.
Use tape to hold the fabric in place and tape your image onto it. Make sure it is mirror-inverted, especially if you would like to transfer text.

Step 3: Transferring the Image

Add a few drops of lavender oil onto the picture and use a paint brush to spread it out. Make sure that there are no puddles.

After about 1-3 minutes you can start by transferring the image. I used a spoon to do so. Press it onto the image and make sure that you get every part of the image. You can carefully lift it to see whether you are happy with the result.

After you are happy, you can remove the paper and let the fabric dry.

Step 4: Last Step

All that is left to do is to iron the piece at the hottest setting without steam.

You can wash it at 40°C (104°F) in your washing machine.

Congrats you are done!



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    23 Discussions

    Once you put the oil, wouldn't smear the drawing?

    The drawing of your dog looks just like my dog!! I would love to try this technique as a gift for my wife. If you are the original artist of that drawing, may I borrow it? It's too perfect!!

    1 reply

    Of course, pm me your email address and I will send it to you.

    Oil will not work because you didn't use oil : you use essential oil.

    Essential oils mostly contains terpene and ketone. Turpentine works great, acetone too (if you use plain cotton). But as toner is basically plastic you can try any solvent to find which one works better with your printer and fabric.

    You can also use tracing paper : it transfers more color but it's less forgiving because it can slide easily.


    11 months ago

    could I use raps oil?

    I have inexpensive polyester bags that i would like to transfer images onto but the iron melts the bag. Any suggestions?

    2 replies

    Try the process without ironing the bags. It should work as well.

    Yes, use some plain cotton in a contrasting color and transfer the image to the cotton. Then sew the cotton onto the polyester. If you have a fancy stitch on your machine it would be pretty. I do a lot of applique and it is a great way to accomplish what you want.


    11 months ago

    This is the BEST! I love the idea and I already have lavender oil. Thank you, already voted.

    1 reply

    Have you tried just copying the image on a standard copier and then just ironing it onto the fabric? It use to work on wood a while ago. I used to transfer pattern images to wood for cutting out.

    Can you use an image printed off a copier? (High heat toner)

    1 reply

    Yes, the image I used was printed off a copier (I wanted to use an A3 image).

    Aside from the fact that it would smell glorious, why lavender oil? Could I use other more "on-hand" oils like baby oil? Your dog is beautiful.

    3 replies

    Thank you! I tried baby oil and olive oil, sadly it didn't work. Lavender oil was the next one on my list and it worked great.

    The oil you are using is this one ? I was going to ask if it had any alcohol or other solvents in it but it doesn't look like it does from their description. I'd guess lavender oil is a stronger solvent than the usual edible oils. Perhaps you could make it work with a little rubbing alcohol or similar solvent in a different oil.

    yes, that's the one. It says that it is 100% pure