Lessons on experimenting with fabric transfers

Part of our time at Jelly Bean Attic is experimenting with various materials and means to create pretty things. One of my to do list was testing out fabric transfer.

I love that we could make wonderful gifts and keepsakes using photos or drawings that can be printed from the computer to a special transfer paper. I do see the upside of personalising each piece. But the “dark side” (wife of a STARWARS fan here) is that there are many things to look out for to ensure a good transfer.

Here’s my experience using fabric transfer technique:

  1. Choice of paper depends on light colored fabric or dark colored. The transfer methods differ.
  2. Brands of transfer paper. I have tried two brands and I am still not happy with the results.
  3. Choice of fabric for transfer. These special papers require high temperature and hence it’s not going to work on silk or polyester.  Stick with heavy cottons. Even calicoes get burnt given the time required to apply the heat on the transfer paper.
  4. Work in a dry area before the print is transferred.  Obviously I made the mistake and left the printout at the dining area and dear husband had water splattering around and what a waste! I had to reprint and each paper is not cheap, let alone the ink usage.
  5. Keep surface of fabric clear of debris such as threads. I had ironed on the picture only to find strays of thread had adhered between the paper and fabric.  To my horror, there’s no way to fix it other than maybe re-doing or applique something over that spot and in my case, I made a stuffed bone out of felt and stitched to cover that spot!
  6. Read instructions of transfer very carefully. Once, twice and maybe even three times. Some websites may say print using high resolution and quality whereas others might say “print using normal settings,  do not over saturate with ink”. What other fellow bloggers use and share may not be the same type of paper that you have.  So read the instructions that come with the transfer paper.
  7. Last but not least and I’m sure you know,  please ensure picture has a decent resolution.  We tried on some pictures with low resolutions that we could see white spots in the picture. Take a print preview of the picture on the pc and do a zoom in. If it doesn’t have spots, at least it should come out right.

That’s my lesson learnt and I thought it would be good to share with folks trying out this method. Simple and obvious things to do and not to do but sometimes in our excitement, we forget…like me.

Do share with me your experience and if you have a brand of transfer paper to recommend, I would be more than happy to hear about it.



Here’s what I did on Christmas night and see my felted dog bone at the top? It was to cover a portion that was scraped out due to stray threads that got caught between paper and fabric during transfer.


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