Using photo transfer paper


I’ve always wanted to have a go at transferring an image onto fabric. It used to mean messing around with screens, squeegees and ink, or else a fairly expensive trip to the local photo processing shop where a limited selection of products was available, perhaps just a T-shirt. But nowadays you can do it yourself up to A4 size at least, thanks to inexpensive photo transfer paper. You just need access to a colour printer, and perhaps some photo editing software such as GIMP (which is excellent and free).

I saw a pack of inkjet-suitable photo transfer paper marked down in a local shop the other day, and I couldn’t resist. But what to do with it? Then I remembered that a bibliophile friend’s birthday was coming up. I know that she always carries a foldable shopping bag with her, in case she sees a second-hand book she wants to buy – or anything else, for that matter. And she once told me that one of her favourite quotations is Groucho Marx’s

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.

How about I make her a bag with that on it? She has a lolloping great Dalmation, so perhaps it ought to have one of those on it too, since Groucho mentions dogs. But not a photo, something simpler would be wise for my first attempt at image transfer.

I set about searching for suitable doggy images online, editing them and adding text. Then I reversed the designs for the front and back of the bag before tackling the scary bit: printing with my rather elderly printer and ironing the images onto each side of a cotton book bag. I did practise on a piece of cotton fabric first, to get a feel for the ironing process.

This is the end result. Please excuse the crumpled appearance. Since transferring the images I have somehow misplaced the iron.

Outside of a dog side of bagInside of a dog side of bagI found it difficult to know how long to keep the hot iron on the transfer paper and I may have slightly scorched the cotton, but I’m pretty pleased with the result. I think my friend will be happy with her totally unique book-hunting bag too. Frankly, if I can do it then anyone can, so I’d urge you to have a go. Just make sure you buy the right type of paper, according to whether you’ll be using an inkjet or laser printer.

Now, what should I do with the other sheets in the pack of paper?

About yorkshirecrafter

I live and work in West Yorkshire.  I've always enjoyed crafts of all types, from woodwork to lace-making.  I also enjoy anything mathematical, which makes knitting a favourite pastime, especially complicated designs.  I've been advising businesses and industry on environmental matters for 30 years and also have an interest in green living, especially where it saves me money. I live with my husband and our Maine Coon in a 100-year-old cottage that constantly needs something doing to it.  Fortunately, I enjoy DIY too.
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