how to print on transfer paper

How to Print on a Transfer Paper

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Would you like to print on a transfer paper? You know that you might make mistakes if you don’t do your homework well.

For many beginners, it is a confusing world. There is a plethora of makes and models of printers that it is nearly impossible to guarantee the results on any one printer.

There are many transfer papers to select from. Fortunately, many transfer papers come with instructions to assist you. The best option is to check with the manufacturer regarding the use of the transfer paper.

If you are completely green, let us start with the basics.

Transfer paper is referred to as t-shirt paper because most people use it to transfer pieces of art on fabrics.

The application of transfer paper is not limited to t-shirts only. You can use it to transfer designs on other fabrics such as cotton, aprons, tablecloths, and even hard surfaces like wood and ceramic mugs.

If you have never used a transfer paper before, you can kick off into a running start utilizing plenty of the insights in this guide.

A Step-by-step Guide on How to Print on a Transfer Paper

In this guide, we assume you already have your design set and a printer set.  All that remains is to print it on the transfer paper.

Let us jump straight into how to prepare the image and print it on the transfer sheet.

Should you Use a Specific Printer Ink for Your Transfer Paper?

For many beginners, choosing a suitable ink for their transfer paper is a gruesome experience. Unknown to many, this concern is not that important, as any ink can work mighty fine.

The different types of Transfer papers

Where all the weight lies in the transfer process is the transfer papers themselves. There are two main types of transfer papers: 

  1. The light transfer papers
  2. The dark transfer papers

Choose the correct paper depending on the color of the fabric you wish to print.

Note that images printed on light transfer papers tend to provide a vibrant and more accurate design when used on white and other light-colored fabrics.

The ink is translucent and invisible unless you lay it on a white or extremely light-colored background.

On the flip side, you require the dark transfer paper when using dark fabric.

In such a paper, a white background is transferred with the ink and block out the color of your fabric from coming through the ink.

Subsequently, the images tend to act as block pictures or images. The white area can cut away since they will appear on your shirt when the transfer process is complete.

How to Print or use the Transfer Paper

Do you have your artwork ready? Now, how about a functional inkjet printer and the right transfer paper for the job.

Here is your next step:

  • Reverse Your Artwork First

Mirror or reverse your image in case it contains numbers or text. Most people forget this step. Then the end product they print doesn’t appear correctly.

  • Reverse the image and print it in mirror mode.

The image is placed facing down on the fabric.  When the heat transfer process is completed, the image will appear the correct way.

However, if you’re using a dark transfer paper, place your image face up on your fabric before transferring it. This way, you’ll not need to reverse your image.

The reversal process is simple and you can achieve it directly from your printer settings.

Printing On Your Transfer Paper

You want to be sure that your image is ready for printing and will appear the way you want it to when you print it on fabric. To be certain, print a sample of the image on a standard piece of paper before printing it on a transfer paper.

When you’re fully satisfied with your image, go ahead and print it on the right side of the transfer paper. This is usually marked, but in case you do not see any marks, ensure you print on the coated side.

Once you have printed the image, you can now transfer it to fabrics using a heat press machine.

Remember to place the transfer paper with your design face down on your garment so that the final product appears as expected.

What’s more, position your paper correctly on the garment to ensure the correct transfer of the image.

Common Mistakes During Printing of Transfer Papers and How to Avoid them

Mistake #1 – Forgetting to reverse the image before printing it on a transfer paper.

Mistake #2 – Printing on the wrong side of the transfer paper.

Always take note of the coated side of the transfer paper, which is the right printing surface.

Mistake #3 – Buying the transfer papers that wrongly match your designing needs.

If your fabric color is bright or light-colored, light transfer paper will work excellently.

If the fabric you want to design is dark-colored, a dark-colored transfer paper will produce impressive designs.

Mistake #4 – Reversing the image when using the dark transfer paper.

When using dark transfer paper always feed your design without reversing.

The Final Thought

Now that you know how to select and print on a transfer paper, the next thing is creating awesome designs on any fabric. 

This is tricky.

Why? There are many other variables, and the quality of the final product is more of an art than a science. 

So for the beginner, we’ve explored the basics to get you started printing on a transfer paper. When you know how to print transfer papers you open a whole new world of possibilities. It gives you the freedom in the world to customize graphic design on nearly any fabric.

One thing you have to know, however, is that an ink-jet printer is preferable to this type of work. So you better put your laser printer aside for now.

By now, you must be having an easy time transferring all your artwork to your transfer papers and preparing it for print.

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