How to Use Heat Transfer Paper | NO MIRROR IMAGE NEEDED

heat transfer paper no mirror image

Heat transfer paper is a great way to create custom t-shirts, garments, and one of my favorites, fabric labels. It’s also incredibly easy to use. However, what if the PDF file, image, or text you’re trying to print needs to have a “mirror image” or “flipped image” and the printer you own DOES NOT HAVE THAT OPTION?

This tutorial will show you a simple workaround that allows you to create a heat transfer paper iron-on without the need to “mirror” the image!

Some of you may relate to the frustration that can be experienced when you go to print something out on heat transfer paper and, there is nothing in your printer queue stating “mirror image” or “flip image”. WHAT ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO DO?

I have a tutorial showing you how to make your own fabric labels and in the instructions, it tells you to “mirror the image” when printing. There are a lot of folks out there with printers that don’t have that option. Until now, I didn’t know of any way to get around it, other than to find another printer that does.

One of my followers shared with me a great solution, and I am so excited to tell you all about it! The SECRET is in the type of heat transfer paper you are using.

How does heat transfer paper work?

The process involves printing a design or photo onto a sheet of transfer paper. (You can use an inkjet or laser printer). Then you place the paper onto the shirt or fabric and apply heat and pressure using an iron. Pretty simple!

There are two types of heat transfer papers. One is for LIGHT COLOR fabrics and the other for DARK COLOR fabrics. You may be asking why this matters. Well, it does.

They both have different characteristics and methods of application and that is what is going to allow you to print without flipping the image. I’ll explain the differences below.

LIGHT FABRIC HEAT TRANSFER PAPER:

  • Is used mainly to apply on white or very light-colored fabrics
  • It has a very thin transparent film that is not visible if used on light color fabrics. You can see in the photo below what it would look like to apply light-colored transfer paper to dark fabric, not so great looking.
  • Is thin enough to result in a texture that feels like a screen print
  • When applying light-colored transfer paper, you place the paper face down on the fabric before ironing.
  • After the heat is applied and the paper cools, you remove the backing sheet
  • You’ll need to “mirror” the image before printing!

DARK FABRIC HEAT TRANSFER PAPER:

  • Is more opaque in order to prevent the color of the fabric from showing through the image
  • When applying dark colored transfer paper, you place the paper RIGHT SIDE FACING UP
  • Is thicker and can feel a bit like a sticker on the fabric
  • No “MIRRORING IMAGE” required!
  • Can be used on light-colored fabric as well as dark fabric
  • You peel off the backing sheet BEFORE IRONING onto the fabric
  • ***Any white areas of the print that you don’t want to show, like a border, you need to trim away before ironing!

In the photo above, the labels on the left were made with the dark transfer paper. The labels on the right were made with the light fabric transfer paper. 

As you can see, the ink on the labels on the left is much more crisp and darker. One of the benefits of using this type of transfer paper.

There is one more thing that you need to consider before buying heat transfer paper 

Will you be using an inkjet or laser printer?

There ARE specific papers for both types of printers and it does make a difference. So, if you have an inkjet printer, you’ll need to get INKJET TRANSFER PAPER. If you have a laser printer, buy LASER TRANSFER PAPER. If you are not sure what type you have, google the model number and it will tell you. Most printers will have laser or inkjet in the title of the printer.

Then choose a LIGHT or DARK FABRIC heat transfer paper. They have both for both types of printers.

Ok, now that we have that covered, let’s get back to the

NO MIRROR IMAGE WORK-AROUND

Materials & Items Needed

*You can use white fabric with the DARK fabric transfer sheets.

Instructions

  • For best results, you should always pre-wash and dry to preshrink your fabric (even if the label says “Preshrunk”) because if it shrinks later, the transfer will crack!.
  • Place a sheet of heat transfer paper to your printer paper tray
  • There is no need to adjust the PAPER TYPE setting on the printer, just use the regular paper setting.
  • Print out the image, PDF, or text just as you would a normal document. NO NEED TO MIRROR OR FLIP THE IMAGE.
  • WAIT 30 MINUTES BEFORE IRONING ONTO FABRIC, for the ink to dry completely
  • Place a cotton pillowcase, towel, or cloth onto a hard surface
  • Plug in the iron and empty all water from the iron.
  • Change the setting to NO STEAM!
  • When making cloth labels, I print and apply a whole sheet onto a piece of white cloth. (An upcycled white, cotton pillowcase works great). Then I trim them down to size.
  • If you are applying the transfer paper to a ribbon, or small piece of fabric, trim the paper to size before pressing.
  • Peel off the back paper. (No need to worry about it sticking to anything, it is not sticky).
  • Arrange the transfer sheet onto the t-shirt/fabric FACING UP, where you want it to be.
  • Place the PARCHMENT PAPER that comes with the package of paper, on top of the transfer. Make sure it is totally covered!
  • With firm pressure, apply the hot over the transfer for 15-20 seconds in each position (start in middle and work in circular fashion towards the outer edge to eliminate bubbles) until the entire transfer has been covered. Heat the entire surface again using a circular motion.
  • Allow parchment paper to cool before removing.
  • If making labels, cut the labels to size and apply them to your projects.

Heat Transfer Paper Washing Instructions

The transfers will feel a bit stiff when new. This feel will become softer after washing. Always turn the garment inside out and wash in warm or cold water. Plain detergent is ok but do not use bleach or detergents containing whiteners, brighteners, bleaches, etc.

Remove from washer immediately and tumble dry on low or air setting. If the garment needs ironing, don’t iron directly on the transfer; cover it with baking parchment.

There you have it. I hope you found this helpful.

Be sure to check out my tutorial on HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN FABRIC LABELS. Adding a cute label to your sewing projects really adds a professional and charming look.

 

I would love to see some of the items you’ve made and the labels you’ve made. Feel free to tag some photos on my INSTAGRAM PAGE, #YOUMAKEITSIMPLE.

Some other posts you may be interested in:

How to Download and Print PDF Sewing Patterns | Step by Step Tutorial

How to Assemble and Organize PDF Sewing Patterns

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Cool Zipper Upcycling

zipper recycling youmakeitsimple.com

As many of you know I’m really into upcycling and recycling items, and clothing is one of them. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to deconstruct an item of clothing for some really cool zipper upcycling.

Benefits of Zipper Upcycling

  • You can save a little money
  • Avoid a trip to the fabric store
  • Recycle material (which is always a good thing for the planet)
  • You can have a better selection of zipper colors
  • Add a professional and unique look to your sewing projects by using zippers with zipper pulls that have a little character and charm. It’s hard to find zippers at the store with cool zipper pulls.

What Kind of Zippers To Look For

  • As mentioned before, look for zippers that have unique ZIPPER PULLS.  (There are some cute vintage, leather, metal, beaded, and fabric pulls out there on existing clothing). Keep your eye out!
  • Unique colors of zippers    
  • Good, sturdy zippers for projects that require a DURABLE ZIPPPER
  • All sizes of zippers (short, long and extra-long)
  • Zippers that are in good condition and are free of stains
  • Separating zippers and non-separating zippers

Items To Use For Zipper Upcycling 

If you are getting rid of an item that you no longer want or need and it has a COOL ZIPPER in it, save it!  I have been known to buy items at the thrift store just for the zipper. YEP! There are all kinds of items that you can find a zipper in.

  • Clothing
  • Bags & purses are a good place to find heavy-duty, DURABLE ZIPPERS.
  • Couch and chair slipcovers have LONG ZIPPERS.
  • Jacket & Coats
  • Sweaters can even have fun zippers in them

How To Deconstruct Clothing For Zipper Upcycling

All you’ll need is a pair of FABRIC SCISSORS, a SEAM RIPPER, and YOUR ITEM OF CLOTHING.

  1. zipper upcycling cut out of clothesCut the zipper out of the clothing. This makes the process so much easier! There is less bulk to work with and if you don’t feel like unpicking right then, you can save it in your zipper bin and unpick it later.
  2. zipper upcycling seam rippingTake the end of the zipper and pull the fabric away from the zipper to expose the stitches. Slide the tip of the seam ripper into one or more of the stitches and cut the threads. Pull the zipper tape away from the fabric to expose more stitches. (The first stitches are the hardest to navigate).
  3. Zipper upcycling unpickingContinue ripping threads and pulling all the way down the zipper. (Sometimes you can rip both sides of the zipper seam at the same time).  Remove any cut threads that are lingering on the zipper and place the zipper in a bin or use the zipper straight away on a fun sewing project or craft.

Zipper upcycling is the BEST! Stay tuned. I’ll be sharing some fun ways to use your upcycled zippers both on sewing and craft projects! If you haven’t signed up for blog updates, you can do that HERE. Let me know what you want topics you want to be notified on.

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Happy Upcycling!

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