Heat Transfer Paper Buyer’s Guide

Heat Transfer Paper Buyer's Guide

If you’re in the market for heat transfer paper, there are a few things you need to know before making your purchase. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll explain what heat transfer paper is, what types are available, and how to choose the right type for your needs. We’ll also provide a few tips on using heat transfer paper to get the best results. So if you’re ready to learn more about this versatile printing medium, keep reading!

What Is Heat Transfer Paper?

What Is Heat Transfer Paper?

Heat transfer paper is a special type of paper that can be used to transfer images, text, or designs onto a variety of surfaces. The paper is coated with a heat-activated adhesive, which allows it to bond with the surface when heated. This makes heat transfer paper an ideal way to personalize a wide range of items, from t-shirts to mugs, coasters, and more.

Heat transfer paper is used with a printer to create permanent images on fabric. The paper has a polymer film that bonding with the fabric fibers when heated, leaving behind a lasting image. To use the heat transfer paper, you first print your design or photo onto the sheet. Then, you press the sheet against the item you want to design using an iron or heat press machine—depending on how long you press it for; this will determine how permanent the image becomes!

Benefits Of Heat Transfer Paper

Benefits Of Heat Transfer Paper

Below, we discuss some of the benefits of heat transfer paper:

Requires Less Equipment Than Screen Printing

Screen printing is a more common method for printing images and designs onto fabric. However, it requires a lot of specialized equipment, which can be costly. Heat transfer paper only requires a printer and an iron or heat press machine—both of which you may already have in your home! This makes it a more affordable option for those looking to get into fabric printing.

It Is Inexpensive

Heat transfer paper is also relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to other printing methods.

Prints Colorfast Images

When used correctly, heat transfer paper can produce colorfast images that won’t fade after repeated washes. This is ideal for items like t-shirts, which need to be able to withstand being washed multiple times without the design losing its quality.

Produces Durable Prints

Heat transfer prints are also very durable—they’re resistant to cracking, peeling, and fading. This makes them ideal for items that will see a lot of wear and tear, like t-shirts, aprons, and tote bags.

Great For Home Or Business Use

Another great thing about heat transfer paper is that it can be used for both home and business use. If you’re looking to start your own t-shirt business, for example, heat transfer paper is a great option. But it’s also great for personalizing items for gifts or for your own use.

Great For Any Type Of Fabric

Heat transfer paper can be used on any type of fabric, from cotton and polyester to nylon and Lycra. This makes it a versatile option for all kinds of projects.

What To Know Before Buying Heat Transfer Paper

What To Know Before Buying Heat Transfer Paper

Below, we’ve put together a list of things to keep in mind when buying heat transfer paper:

What Printer Do You Have?

There are two main types of printable heat transfer paper: inkjet and laser. Standard inkjet printers are compatible with most heat transfer paper, so you don’t need to take any extra measures if you own one.

Laser printers are another popular type of printer found in many homes, although they don’t work as well with most heat transfer papers as inkjet printers do. Laser printer outputs are also prone to forming outlines and residue around your images, making trimming them a time-consuming process.

We recommend you go for inkjet transfer paper because it’s the most used. But if you already have a laser printer and don’t want to replace it, be sure the paper you pick is compatible with your existing machine.

What Color Fabric Will You Be Transferring Onto?

The color of the fabric you’re transfer printing onto will also affect your choice of heat transfer paper. There are two main types of heat transfer paper: light and dark. As their names suggest, light transfer paper is meant for use on light-colored fabrics, while dark transfer paper is designed for use on dark-colored fabrics.

When using light transfer paper, you should mirror your images before printing on light heat transfer paper. This is because the fabric will be see-through once the image is transferred, so you need to reverse the design so that it appears correctly on the fabric. With dark transfer paper, there’s no need to mirror your images before printing.

Keep in mind that not all heat transfer papers are available in both light and dark versions. If you’re unsure of what color heat transfer paper to get, it’s always safe to choose a light transfer paper—you can always print on a darker garment if you need to.

Design Or Artwork

There are multiple types of artwork you can use for your paper transfers:


If you want to use a company logo, for example, it is better to find or create the design in vector format. This will allow you to resize the artwork without losing any quality, which is important when trying to fit a design onto a garment. In general, any kind of simple artwork or design is better in vector format.


When trying to print a design from a photo, it is better to use an inkjet printer and paper. This process can produce a wider range of colors, which will lead to a more realistic and high-quality photo. Note: If you want to print the design on lighter-colored paper, it is best to utilize inkjet heat transfer paper. However, if you try printing on dark-colored paper, there might be a coating left behind that can be felt on the finished product.

Sheet Size

Heat transfer paper comes in a variety of sheet sizes. The most common size is 8.5″ x 11″, which will fit most home printers. However, some commercial printers require larger sheets, such as 13″ x 19″. If you’re not sure what size to get, it’s always safe to choose the 8.5″ x 11″ option—you can always trim the paper down to size if needed.

How Does The Heat Transfer Method Work?

Gather Your Supplies

Before you begin, make sure you have all the supplies you need. You’ll need heat transfer paper, a printer, scissors or a cutting machine, an iron or heat press machine, and the garment you want to print on.

Prepare Your Design

Once you have your supplies, it’s time to prepare your design. If you’re using vector artwork, resize the design to fit the garment. If you’re using a photo, convert it to black and white before printing. Remember, It’s also a good idea to mirror your image if you’re using light transfer paper—this will ensure that the design appears correctly on the fabric once it’s transferred.

Print Your Design

When your design is ready, print it onto the heat transfer paper using your printer. Make sure to use the correct settings for your specific type of paper. For example, if you’re using inkjet heat transfer paper, choose the “normal” or “draft” setting on your printer. If you’re using laser heat transfer paper, choose the “glossy photo” setting.

Cut Out Your Design

Once your design is printed, cut it out using scissors or a cutting machine. If you’re using a cutting machine, be sure to mirror your image before cutting so that the final product is not backward.

Weed Your Design

After cutting out your design, it’s time to weed away the excess heat transfer material. This is the process of removing the parts of the design that you don’t want to be transferred to the garment. Start by peeling away the outermost layer of the heat transfer paper to reveal the adhesive backing. Then, use a weeding tool to remove any small pieces of material that are not part of the design.

Apply The Design To The Garment

Now it’s time to apply your design to the garment. First, preheat your iron or heat press machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Then, place your design face-down on the garment and cover it with a piece of parchment paper or a Teflon sheet. Use an iron or heat press machine to apply heat and pressure to the design for the amount of time specified by the manufacturer.

Remove The Transfer Paper

Once the design has been transferred to the garment, it’s time to remove the transfer paper. Start by peeling away the outermost layer of the paper to reveal the design. Then, carefully peel away the rest of the paper, being careful not to tear or damage the design. If any parts of the design start to come up with the paper, stop and press them back down with your iron or heat press machine.

Allow The Design To Cool

After removing the transfer paper, allow the design to cool for a few minutes before wearing or washing it. This will help ensure that the design properly adheres to the fabric.


The heat transfer method is a great way to add custom designs to your garments. With a little practice, you’ll be able to create professional-looking prints that will last wash after wash. Just remember to take your time and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure the best results.


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