Iron-on transfer paper sheets are not something that you pick up in the supermarket while grocery shopping for the weekends! In fact, it is not an item many people are familiar with, unless you work with a mug press machine or a heat press machine.
If you know how a heat-press/mug-press machine works, you probably know the importance of a good iron-on transfer paper. They are used to transfer images and designs to almost everything from aprons to pillow covers, wood surfaces or phone covers, mugs and ceramic plates.
Here, you can learn everything that has to do with these best iron-on transfer papers, including types and uses, and some of the best brands. Trust us on this, a good set of transfer paper can make a world of difference in your final product.
What is Iron-on Transfer Paper?
But first, you need to know everything there is about what exactly are these iron-on transfer paper.
Iron-on transfer papers are sometimes called “T-shirt papers”, but they can be used on more surfaces than just fabric. When you have the winning combination of a great heat/mug press machine, a good inkjet printer or an iron-on transfer paper sheets you can get your hands on, you can create almost anything sitting at home.
Iron-on transfer papers are special kinds of sheets that are used for transferring images from one surface to another. One side of these sheets are made from ordinary paper and the other side holds on to the images/designs in ink that can be transferred into another surface through heat.
For this, you need the help of an inkjet printer because they are the only kinds of printer that work directly with ink. These transfer papers, after getting printed on, can be used in a mug press machine, a heat press machine, or simply by ironing on the other side. The heat from the machine will permanently transfer the image, the text or the design into your preferred surface.
Your inkjet printer needs to be connected to a laptop or a PC, from where you can send a command to the printer. You can use photo-editing software to make your own designs, or you can download your favorite designs and texts from the Internet to use.
The images that you choose needs to be printed in a mirror image on the transfer-paper, though, so that you can get the right look in your final product.
Once printed in mirror image, the transfer paper needs to be placed face down on the T-shirt, pillow cover, mug or any other surface of your choice, and then heat applied via the mug/heat press machine. It doesn’t take more than a few seconds or a few minutes for the end result to appear, depending on the complexity of the design at hand.
Best Iron-On Transfer Paper: Reviews 2019
There is not much variety available in iron-on transfer paper sheets in the market, but there are differences when it comes to quality and price. Most of the transfer papers available at hand are manufactured for inkjet printers, but if you don’t have one, you can use a laser printer as well.
There are a few brands that make transfer papers suitable for use in both inkjet and laser printers, and these are more versatile for users. Besides, there are some other features that you need to look for in transfer papers.
Here are the best iron-on transfer papers in the market that you can choose from.
This is a starter bundle set from Siser, with 12 colorful heat transfer papers in every color of the rainbow, and more. They come in 12 different colors, and the material is much thinner than similar products in the market. All the sheets are 12”x 15” in size, which is usually the perfect size for a heat press machine surface.
The sheets are made from polyethylene and can be cut into any shapes you want with a regular pair of scissors. They are also relatively sensitive materials, which means that you can use these transfer papers to transfer even the smallest designs, texts and logos into your fabric and other surfaces. These sheets are more suitable for use on fabric than other surfaces.
These transfer sheets are durable and can be used more than once, after you’ve washed away the remaining ink. You can also use the same sheet for multi-layered designs, washing away one color and then immediately applying the next layer. These sheets are perfectly compatible with polyester and cotton, as well as all blends of poly/cotton.
You can download an mobile app named “SISER” on your phone that has all the information about using these iron-on transfer papers, including the temperature needed to use, and duration of heat transfer.
- Starter bundle of 12 colorful sheets
- 12” x 15” in size
- Thinner and easier-to-cut than similar products
- Extremely sensitive to small designs and logos
- More compatible with cotton/polyester fabric
- Durable and can be used multiple times
- Compatible with mobile app “SISER”
- Made from polyethylene
As the name suggests, this starter bundle from Avery is more suitable for lighter T-shirt fabrics in white, off-white and cream, or a light shade of beige and pink.
This is a set of 18 sheets in total, each 8.5” x 11” in size, white in color. These transfer papers are perfect for transfering logos and texts to simple white T-shirts and pillowcases, or any other kind of materials for your home, but in a lighter shade.
You can easily use these sheets for cotton, polyester and cotton/poly blends of fabrics, on your aprons, tote bags or anything else. Any kind of designs can be transferred in a matter of seconds, from logos to playful texts, to complicated images and photos.
As a matter of fact, you can download hundreds of holiday templates, images and designs from avery.com/transfers and avery.com/prints, the official website of Avery.
These transfer sheets work only in inkjet printers, and they are also available in darker colors for dark fabrics. This bundle from Avery is great for beginners, as well, since they are easy to use and maintain.
- Bundle of 18 sheets
- Especially for lighter fabrics
- Each sheet 8.5” x 11” in size
- Perfect for cotton, polyester and cotton/poly blends
- Designs and templates can be downloaded from official website of Avery
- Great for beginners
- Only for inkjet printers
These are actually vinyl materials for heat/mug press machines, better quality and more durable from transfer papers. You can use these vinyl sheets for transferring designs and images from your computer to almost any kind of surface, from fabrics, hats, mugs, and glass. This is a colorful set of 20 sheets, each a different and popular color, each 12” x 10” in size.
You can use a single sheet multiple times, washing it thoroughly after every use so that there is no residue ink left. These vinyl sheets stay durable and as good as new even after multiple uses, so that your designs are not compromised. Besides, the Fame Crafts vinyl sheets are extremely thin and very sensitive, and you can use them to transfer extremely small and detailed images and logos.
As long as you do not cut up these sheets in small pieces, you can keep on using them multiple times. This is not just a bundle of 20 sheets, but a year worth of supply for all your crafting needs. The sizes are quite large, as well, perfect more most machines.
- Bundle of 20 colorful sheets
- Reusable and durable
- 12” x 10” in size
- Perfect for a number of surfaces including fabrics
- Sensitive and thin vinyl materials for detailed images
Unlike most other starter bundles, this transfer paper comes in a roll that is 50 feet in length, and 6 inches wide. This roll of paper has visible red lines on them so that your designs are perfectly aligned, and that you have no trouble placing your vinyl material on the surface of your choice in the correct angle.
Besides, these sheets are sticky on one side for, but will not leave a residue on your surfaces. It has just the right amount of glue to stick to your surface, but will not spoil your design.
This roll of transfer paper tape has been specially manufactured for the Cricut Silhouette Cameo, which is one of the most popular vinyl cutting machines available in the market.
This sticky roll tape from Angel Crafts isn’t really an iron-on transfer paper, but another material quite similar to it. With this material, you can cut out your design to place on your surface, rather than transfer the design via a mug/heat press machine.
This roll from Angel Craft comes with a set of instructions and is quite easy to use, if you have the right vinyl cutting machine at home.
- 50’ wide roll of transfer tape with 6” width
- Contains adhesive on one size
- Comes with red lines for perfect alignment
- Right amount of adhesive that will not spoil the design
- Perfect for fabric and other surfaces
- Made specially for Cricut Silhouette Cameo
- Easy to use
- Comes with instructions
This is a pack of 10 sheets from Photo Paper Direct or PPD, that has been specially manufactured for dark-colored T-shirts, aprons, pillow covers and other fabric crafts around the house.
With these sheets, you can transfer any kind of simple design or complicated images to your dark fabrics and get a bright, flawless transfer.
These sheets have been made for inkjet printers, but they are compatible with all the brands and models available in the market, as well as all types of printer inks. Each sheet is 5.5” x 11” in size, which is the just about the standard measurements of a heat press machine for T-shirt transfers.
You will need to read the instructions that come with the sheets, because the instructions for transferring to dark fabrics are completely different from transferring to lighter-colored fabrics.
- Pack of 10 sheets
- Each sheer 8.5” x 11” in size
- Matte finish
- Only for transferring designs and images to dark colored fabrics
- Not for light-colored fabrics and T-shirts
- Only for inkjet printers
- Compatible with all inkjet printer brands and models
- Compatible with all types of printer ink
- Comes with important instructions
This is another set of transfer paper that has been manufactured especially for transferring your designs, images and texts to dark-colored fabrics, especially dark-toned T-shirts with a 100% cotton blend. This is a starter bundle of 5 transfer sheets that you can wash and use again, each 8.5” x 11” in size.
You can make your own designs, transfer the photos of your loved ones to your clothes, or even download templates and designs from avery.com/transfers and avery.com/prints, the official website of Avery.
Your designs will be transferred flawlessly to dark-hued fabrics and T-shirts, with no cracking in the image and no incompletion. Besides, the design will be long-lasting and permanent, even after washing your clothes several times.
You’ll need an inkjet printer for these iron-on transfer sheets, but they are compatible with every kind of printer ink out there, as well as all inkjet printer models and brands. Besides, you can make the transfer with a simple heavy-duty household iron, and not need a heat-press machine for these sheets.
- Only for dark-colored fabrics and T-shirts
- Bundle of 5 reusable sheets
- 8.5” x 11” in size
- Perfect for 100% cotton blends
- Images/designs can be transferred with just a household iron
- Only for inkjet printers
- Compatible with all printer brands and inks
- Designs and templates available at Avery website for download
- Long lasting color transfer
These sheets from Epson are perfect for transferring images, designs or text to any fabric for your T-shirts, canvas and tote bags, aprons, pillow covers, and cases, and bed sheets. Each starter bundle has 10 sheets, each 8.5” x 11” in size. You can use an ordinary household iron for transferring your designs to your preferred surface, instead of having to buy a heat press machine.
These sheets are better for simple designs, logos and texts rather than complicated and detailed images. The sheets need to peeled off after the ink has been cooled off, rather than when they are still hot.
- Starter bundle of 10 sheets
- Perfect for beginners
- For all fabric types, especially cotton
- 8.5” x 11” in size each
- Needs to be peeled off after the ink has cooled
- Can be transferred via ordinary household iron
6 Things to Consider Before Buying Iron-On Transfer Paper
Whether you run a home business or want to create some customized products for yourself, you are definitely going to need some good transfer paper. Of all the tools and appliances that you are going to need, transfer papers are not the most expensive one, but it is definitely one of the most important ones.
Without the best iron-on transfer paper for your craft, you won’t be able to transfer your designs to your preferred surfaces as well as you’d like to, even when you have a very expensive printer and heat press machine with you.
Here are some of the points you need to remember when searching for a good transfer paper kit or bundle.
Some transfer paper can be only used on fabric, especially on cotton or polyester. Although these are good quality transfer papers, their uses are quite limited since you can’t use them on other surfaces.
The kind of transfer papers that can be used on all types of surfaces including wood, glass or leather, are the kinds that you can use for a lot of different projects.
Printer and Ink Compatibility
Most transfer papers are made for inkjet printers; in fact, these are the printers that are most effective when it comes to transferring images to fabrics via an iron or a heat press.
However, if you own a laser printer, it is not absolutely necessary that you need to buy another inkjet printer for this purpose. There are a few brands that make special iron-on transfer papers for laser printers.
Fortunately, all transfer papers are compatible with all the different types of printer ink in the market, so there is no problem of ending up with the wrong one.
Size and Shape
Most heat press machines have a surface space of 12” x 12” (or 15” x 15” at the best), which means that it is better if your transfer paper has a similar or slightly smaller size.
Most iron-on transfer papers are around 8.5” to 12” in width, with a length of 12” to 15”. If you have a 12” x 12” heat press machine, you need a slightly smaller size in transfer papers, or you can cut up the sides when needed.
A few brands manufacture transfer papers in rolls rather than sheets, for example, the Transfer Tape Roll from Angel Craft which is compatible for the Cricut Silhouette Cameo.
This roll is around 50 feet in length with 6” on the sides, that you can cut into the shapes you need. Rolls lie these are more preferable when you are working with transferring texts, logos or small designs, or working in layers.
Compatibility with Household Iron
Some transfer papers only need the help of an ordinary household iron to transfer your images, designs and texts to your preferred fabric surface. If you get these iron-on transfer papers, you won’t need to buy a heat press machine for your projects, especially if you are doing this for a hobby or if this is a one-time project.
However, if this is a home business, it is better to rely on the finer outputs gotten from a professional heat press machine than a household iron.
For one time-projects or customizing your personal belongings, transfer papers that only need an iron are more logical.
Compatibility with Fabrics Types and Colors
Most iron-on transfer papers work better on white or lighter-colored Tshirts and fabrics. If you want to transfer your designs and images to a black, brown, navy or any other darker-toned fabrics, there are special iron-on transfer paper bundles for that.
Therefore, the types of transfer papers you need to buy actually depends on the project at hand, more specifically, on the color and type of fabric you are using.
Actually, most transfer sheets can be washed after one application and reused, and this happens to be one of the best factors about transfer papers. You can save a lot of money by reusing your transfer papers, as long as you haven’t cut it into smaller pieces. In that case, you might need another piece for a bigger project since you won’t be able to use the smaller pieces.
Most of the transfer papers available in the market are reusable, but others might not be. Therefore, this is a point to note when buying or ordering a set.
None of these transfer paper bundles are very expensive, given the fact that they all come in sets of 8, 10, 12 or even 20 at a very reasonable price, Therefore, while buying iron-on transfer papers, it is always better to look at quality ones rather than the affordable ones, since you will be able to reuse them in multiple projects.
Quality transfer papers will be compatible with more than one type of materials and surfaces, and they will give you a good and quick transfer of your designs and texts. Besides, they will be compatible with all brands and models of inkjet printers and/or heat press machines, unless you want to use an iron.
Besides, all these features should come together under a neat little bundle, at a price you are comfortable with paying.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Best Iron-on Transfer Papers
Are there more than one type of transfer papers for these kinds of projects?
Yes, there are actually around 8 to 9 types of transfer papers for you to choose from: for white and light-colored fabrics, for colored fabrics, for black and dark-colored textiles, for non-fabric surfaces like wood and glass, not surfaces that are rough and uneven, for glass and crystal, for making stickers and labels, glitter or shiny transfer paper, and one for temporary tattoos.
The transfer papers depend on the type of project at hand, or the surface you are using.
How many times can I use a transfer paper?
Whether you can use a sheet of transfer paper one time or multiple times depends on the brand itself. Some transfer paper sheets can be used only once, while others can be used a few times given that you have immediately cleaned the residual ink off after use and that there is no debris or dirt accumulated.
Your transfer paper will come with instructions if you can use it multiple times. If you are getting reusable transfer paper, you might be able to use each sheet around 5 to 6 times.
Why do I have to print my design/photo/text in mirror image?
This is a very important point to remember while using your inkjet printer to print your design, logo or photo on your transfer paper. Whatever it is you are printing, needs to be done as a mirror image.
This is because you are going to place the transfer paper face down on your preferred surface, and use heat to apply the ink into your T-shirt, apron or bag. If you have used a mirror image, the transfer will also be in a mirror image on your surface, which means it would eventually come out as right way.
If you forget to print the design in a mirror image, it would come out as a mirror image on your fabric surface, which can mean wastage of both material and transfer paper.
How are transfer paper for dark-colored fabrics different from the ones for light-colored fabrics?
Transfer papers for light-colors are only for fabric that are white, gray, light yellow, light pink and similar colors. The transfer papers for these colors are transparent, which means that only your selected designs will be transferred to your fabric, without any kind of border around it. If there are any borders in your image, it will appear transparent and clear.
On the other hand, transfer paper for black, brown, navy, red or similar darker colored fabrics are thicker and have a white backing. If your image or text have any background, it will appear on the fabric after transferring.
If you don’t want the background to appear, you will have to carefully trim away the border with a pair of scissors.
Can I use my household iron for transfer with every kind of transfer paper?
No, you can only use an ordinary household iron for your transfer paper if it says so in the instructions. For some transfer papers, an iron can do the job perfectly but for others, you need the help of a professional heat press machine.
When do I peel off the transfer paper?
That too, depends on the brand you are using. For some transfer paper, you need to peel off the transfer paper very soon, while it is still hot; for others, you need to let the transfer paper cool down completely so that it is ready to be peeled.
What kind of a finish can I get from iron-on transfer papers?
Most transfer papers have a matte finish. However, if you want a shiny or a glossy finish for your letters or texts, there are such iron-on transfer papers also available in the market.
As mentioned before, the iron-on transfer paper sheets can make a world of difference to your final product. These are simple tools of transfer - these sheets, but important ones!
You can have an expensive inkjet printer and a high-quality heat-press machine, but for the perfect output, you will also need the aid or the right transfer sheets.
Now that you know exactly what these iron-on transfer sheets are, and how you can choose the best one from the others, the rest is easy. Using transfer papers to transfer your designs to fabrics and other surfaces are a great way to customize your belongings and unleash your creativity into the world.
There are so many things that you can do, so many crafts you can try, so many belongings you can make for yourself and for your loved ones.
There really is no limit!