How to Use Transfer Paper for T-shirt

How to Use Transfer Paper for T-shirt

Transfer paper already has a name as T-shirt paper. It is because transfer paper is mainly used to transfer and set a design, images, letters, or numbers on the t-shirt.

Transfer paper helps transfer any colorful design to many fabric or other surfaces, like cups, glasses, cotton bags, table cloths, aprons, and even harder things like woods. It stuck permanently with the design printed on it. You may think this job difficult. But the timely matter is that if you know how to use transfer paper for t-shirt, this job is easy and straightforward. You just have to follow some steps below. You will get the choice to customize your t-shirt as your choice.

How to Use Transfer Paper for T-shirt

The printing and transfer paper method is easy and simple, but there are other things to consider before starting the process. Many people think that the ink type is a critical issue to choose for the better t-shirt printing. Actually, there is no chance to worry about the ink type. If you use the inkjet printer, any ink type is perfect for printing on transfer paper. The significant fact is the choice of the transfer paper. You should know the kind of transfer paper to match your design and the fabric color correctly.

How to Use Transfer Paper for T-shirt

Choose the Correct Transfer Paper Type

There are mainly two types of transfer paper- light and dark transfer paper. What transfer paper you have to select depends on the color of the fabric of your t-shirt. The light transfer paper blossoms the colorful design beautifully if you use it for the white or light-colored cloth. Every color becomes clear and pleasant on a light background. Though the design seems translucent on the transfer paper after printing, it presents a surprise when you set it down on the white color background.

The other transfer paper is for the dark color fabric. It is white. When you print on the dark color background and transfer it to the t-shirt, it mixes some colors to the dark color of the fabric. That’s why the white color transfer paper keeps the ink clear and visible. All you have to do is that you have to cut every extra white part of the design. It will bloom the design perfectly.

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The inkjet printer is the best choice to print on transfer paper, but you may use the laser printer to do a faster printing job. In that case, you have to use the inkjet transfer paper for t-shirt while using the inkjet printer and laserjet transfer paper for t-shirt. Never confuse and use the wrong transfer paper for the printer. A laser printer will melt down the inkjet transfer paper.

Steps of Using the Transfer Paper for T-shirt

After selecting the correct transfer paper matching your t-shirt color demand, get your heat press printer ready and begin the customization of your favorite t-shirt.

Step-1: Choose the Correct Heat Press Printer for Transfer Paper for T-shirt

There are lots of heat press printers for the t-shirt. So, you may confuse what to choose to buy. Basically, the choice depends on the size and design of the printer. If you are going to start your small business by customizing the t-shirt, you must be careful about making your budget. If you do not have the flexibility to work with the heat press, loads of printing jobs may become a hassle. But it’s a fun job. So, find the correct printer.

how to use transfer paper for t shirt printing

In terms of size, the large format will provide more flexibility to work. There are three categories of printers in terms of size range. The small printers can print from 5 by 5 inches to 12 by 15 inches. The medium format printer can print from 15 by 15 inches to 16 by 24 inches. The larger format heat press can print from 20 by 32 inches to 40 by 48 inches.

Though the large format printer offers the best option to work, a medium format works well. If you do not have work on bigger-sized fabric printing, you can easily select a medium-sized printer. If you are only concerned with t-shirt customizing jobs, the diminutive printer with 12 by 15 inches capacity is enough.

There are major heat press types: swing away, clamshell, slide-out drawer, and malfunction heat press printer. Choose based on your flexibility need.

Step-2: Know Compatible Fabric

You can print designs on different types of bases, but some bases can melt under the heat press. So, you should know what fabric can work under the heat press. You can work with cotton, spandex, nylon, polyester, Lycra, etc.

Step-3: Select or Prepare the Design

If you are a professional, you will have great fun making an excellent design for the t-shirt. You also can get the design from the free software online and modify the design as you want after downloading it. You will need your computer and editing software like adobe illustrator or the Core Draw software to edit the design and mark the boundary or margin. Make all the corrections you need before going to the printing job.

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Step-4: Printing Test

Before beginning the printing on heat transfer paper for t-shirt, you must run some printing tests. You should check if the printing is done on the right side of the transfer paper, the design should project correct color presentation, have the alignment and margin ideally, etc. You must not want perfection while going for mass production.

You should run 3 to 4 tests to get perfection.

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Step-5: Setting and Testing Heat Pressing

Now, it is time to set all the settings on the heat press machine. You have to adjust the temperature, pressure, and timer. On the thermostat knob, you have to set the temperature clockwise at first; then, after it gets some heat, you have to put it clockwise. A similar process is necessary for the pressure setting. First, set it anti-clockwise and then clockwise. The pressure depends on the thickness of the fabric. The thicker material needs more pressure. Set the timer also depending on the thickness of the fabric and design.

how to use dark transfer paper for t shirts

Now run 2 to 3 tests on a similar fabric that you are going to customize. It will let you avoid mistakes.

Step-6: Heat Press on T-shirt

Now, place the vinyl transfer paper for the t-shirt on the heat press machine and then the t-shirt on the transfer paper facing down. Make sure that the edges are all set at the right margin. Now, cover the critical area and start the machine. After completing the pressing, the machine will stop for the timer setting. Now, open the press machine and remove the t-shirt from the machine. Let it cool down for an hour or more.

inkjet transfer paper for t shirts

Your customized t-shirt is ready to use.


Though it may seem complicated to use heat and pressure, you will have fun after getting used to this transfer printing. All you have to know how to use the transfer paper for t-shirt. When you can use the transfer paper correctly on a t-shirt and use the heat press machine, the customization will be perfect.

You can make excellent gifts for your friends and family. You can run a small business on customization of the t-shirt. Enjoy designing t-shirt using transfer paper.

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