The Best Transfer Paper Options for Home Crafts

Transfer paper is a specific type of paper made with a coating of pigment and wax. It is also generally thinner than most paper. And, of course, transfer paper has a purpose that regular printer paper does not: It is used to transfer a design onto fabrics and other surfaces. All you have to do is print out your desired image onto the transfer paper and then use some sort of heat press, usually an iron, for the image to adhere to your fabric or other desired surface. There are also types with adhesive backing meant for making stickers or decals. Whatever sort of DIY craft you plan to use your transfer paper for, it will offer you a way to make unique, custom items at a swifter and more affordable rate than ordering them.

What to Consider in Transfer Paper

Here are some of the aspects to consider before purchasing transfer paper for your project:

  • Use: The main consideration when buying transfer paper is knowing whether you plan to use it on clothing or not. The transfer paper that puts logos and pictures on shirts and other clothes is very different from the transfer paper used to make items like decals. If you plan to make decals or stickers, transfer paper with a built-in adhesive is a must. Also, be sure that any transfer paper you buy will work on whatever material you plan to use it on.
  • Dark vs. Light Fabrics: Not all transfer papers for fabrics are created equal. Some will be more effective or are designed specifically for dark-colored fabrics, others for lighter or white fabrics. If you plan to use your transfer paper to put a logo on a pillowcase or tote bag or some type of clothing, be sure to pick accordingly.
  • Amount: You can buy only a handful of sheets of transfer paper at a time, as few as five, or up to hundreds at a time, with plenty of options in between. You can even find full rolls worth of transfer paper in different sizes. Whether you’re making one or two custom t-shirts or making decals for a class of 200, you should have no problem finding the right amount of transfer paper for your project.
  • Compatibility: Transfer paper is meant to be used in accordance with several types of other tools. Odds are, you’ll need to print your image or logo off of your computer, so make sure that the transfer paper you use is compatible with your printer, whether you’ve got an inkjet or laser printer; not all transfer paper will work with both types. Other tools you’ll want to check and see if your transfer paper is compatible with include cutters, die-cutting machines, and heat press machines. While all of these are not strictly necessary for the process, compatibility with these types of tools may make your task quicker and easier.

Best for Dark Fabrics: NuFun Activities Iron-On Heat Transfer for Dark Fabrics

If you have to add designs, words, logos, or images to darker-colored fabrics, this is the perfect transfer paper for you. It’s incredibly simple to use. All you have to do is design or pull up your desired image, print it off on this paper, cut out the design, peel it, place it on the desired spot on your dark-colored fabric, and iron it on. Most irons and heat press machines will do the trick. It works on t-shirts, hats, aprons, tote bags, pillowcases, and more. The paper is compatible with all standard inkjet and laserjet printers alike, as well as cutters and die-cutting machines. It can also be used on a wide range of fabric types, including cotton, poly blends, canvas, burlap, tissue paper, and even ribbons. The top-notch, patented material ensures that your images will remain sharp and clear even after the fabric has been washed multiple times. Choose between a pack of five, 25, 50, 100, or 500 sheets of transfer paper plus a few sheets of parchment paper. (You get roughly one sheet of parchment paper for every five sheets of transfer paper; the 50 pack comes with 10 sheets of parchment paper.)

Best for Decals: Frisco Craft C-370 Transfer Paper Roll

This 12-inch wide transfer paper roll stretches 50 feet long, providing you with plenty of paper for any DIY crafts and projects and more bang for your buck. The tape-like adhesive comes built-in, making this transfer paper perfect for creating your own decals and stickers. But it’s guaranteed not to leave any unseemly residue on your project. It’ll effectively transfer to any smooth surface, indoor or outdoor, and works with any standard glossy or matte adhesive pieces of vinyl. To use, make and cut your design or image, peel the negative vinyl, place the transfer paper tape atop your design and push it down to transfer to your desired object, pull off the transfer paper, and you’re done. It will stick to ceramics, windows, plastics, metals, glass, and more.

Best for Light Fabrics: PPD Iron-On White and Light Color T-Shirt Transfer Paper

This transfer paper is specifically designed to work and operate on white and light-colored fabrics, whether t-shirts, aprons, cushion covers, flags, and more. It’s compatible with any and all cotton or polycotton fabrics. Transfer the text, image, writing, or logos of your choosing onto fabric with either your domestic iron or a heat press machine, whichever you have on hand. Unlike some transfer paper, you should only ever cut these sheets with normal scissors, not cutting machines. For printing, you can use any regular print ink with any brand of inkjet printer. The transfer paper has a special coating that is uniquely formulated to bond with the fabric. This leaves your image soft and flexible, easier to stretch and move with the cloth. This, in turn, prevents them from cracking or peeling. Once the image or text of your choice has been applied, the t-shirt or fabric is fully machine washable. This pack of 20 transfer sheets is available in two different sizes.

Best for Light Fabrics

PPD Inkjet PREMIUM Iron-On White and Light Colored T Shirt Transfers Paper LTR 8.5x11” pack of 20 Sheets (PPD001-20)

Heat transfer paper made specifically to suit all light-colored and white cotton and polycotton fabrics that are ironing-safe.

Most Versatile: YRYM Clear Vinyl Transfer Paper Tape Roll

This tape-like transfer paper is designed with a perfectly proportioned grid in order to achieve precise and level alignment when placing your adhesive. Both the paper and grid are see-through, so you can see exactly where you’re applying your image at all times. Transfer your images onto pretty much any smooth surface, from ceramic to glass, windows to walls, metal to paper, without leaving any residue behind. The adhesive is just the right level of sticky, strong enough to smoothly transfer your designs, text, and images but not so sticky as to cause hassle or trouble, for more user-friendly utilization. This transfer paper is also durable and resistant to tearing, nor will it rip or tear your project. It’s equally effective for outdoor and indoor use, and letters of all sizes, even in the smallest of fonts. This roll measures 12 feet wide by 50 feet long, providing you with plenty of paper for various projects, and is compatible with all cutting machines.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »

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