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How to Make Iron On Transfers

It's easy to make your own iron on transfers using free clip art (or a favorite photograph) and special transfer paper you run through your inkjet printer.

All you need to make an iron on transfer is a photo or large clip art picture, a color printer (and plenty of ink), a word processing program or graphics editing program, a package of iron on transfer paper for your printer, plus a tee shirt or piece of fabric you want to decorate with an iron on transfer.

Printable Iron-on Transfers

DIY Iron On Transfers

Materials/Supplies needed to make Iron Ons

  • digital image: free clip art, scanned image or digital photograph
  • iron on transfer paper
  • tee shirt or piece of light colored fabric

Equipment

  • color printer (be sure you have enough ink)
  • word processing or graphics editing software
  • iron
  • scissors or craft knife

Choose and insert your favorite clip art pictures -Use any word processing program (I used Microsoft Word) to set up your document size to the height and width of the area on your fabric that you will be printing on. Allow for a margin on top, bottom, left and right - about an inch is good.

NOTE: The simplest iron ons have no lettering or words. You just edit your document (for example, using MS-Word) and place your graphics where you want them on the page.

If you aren't concerned about the flipping the image over to read correctly when you iron it on (it will be facing in the opposite direction from how it looks on the page), simply print out your page onto a sheet of iron on transfer paper and then follow the paper manufacturer's directions to transfer the graphic to your fabric.

If you have a sheet of graphics ready to make into iron ons, you can just print the whole page onto the transfer paper then trim away each image as you're ready to place and iron it onto your fabric.

2. Add Text to Your Iron On - Create a text box or picture box centered on document where you want to position your words and insert your lettering.

You may need to use Word Art if you want to flip the letters using the word processing program.

Create a separate text box for your clip art, and size it to fit the way you like. Insert your clip art into the box and he clip art should automatically resize smaller to the dimensions of the text box.

If not, scale it down to the size you want. You can add a border or background color, too, if you like.

3. Continue to insert text boxes above and/or below the picture to add each bit of text, or more pictures, even a graphic border - whatever you like.

4. When you're ready to print a design you like, load a sheet of iron on transfer paper into your printer's paper tray, taking care to position the paper with the proper side facing up so it will print on the correct side of the paper when it comes through your printer.

(This is unique to every printer, so refer to your printer directions to figure out which side of the paper in the tray is the "right" side that gets the ink.)

5. Flip the Document - Next you need to "flip" the image or document so the text will print the right way when you iron it onto your fabric.

iron-on-transfer

Flipped Image Sample

You can either control the image flip in the word processing program or graphics editor you're using, or, with many printers, you can flip a document right from the Print Options box. (When I make the free iron-ons for this web site, I flip the graphics and text for you, so you only need to print the transfer onto special iron on paper.)

My printer has a "tee shirt" setting that reverses a document or image when it goes through the printer.

It comes out looking like a mirror image on the paper and it's ready to be ironed onto a tee shirt or piece of fabric to make a banner or other fabric crafts. When I make iron on printables, though, I just use a normal "print" setting because the image is already set up for my iron on.

6. Print your iron ons one at a time, following the steps above. I load single sheets of transfer paper into my printer to avoid jamming and waste.

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How to Flip a Picture to Make an Iron On Transfer

If your printer doesn't have a special setting (look for a tee shirt setting, or iron on setting in the Print Options) to automatically "flip" images so you can make iron on transfer prints, you can try using your word processing program to do this before you send the document to the printer.

The process varies according to your program and version. Look for something that can flip an image or reverse print, or set up for transfers. Sometimes it's called "reflect" or flip horizontal.

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