How to Iron a Picture on A Shirt Without Transfer Paper

by Karen Jones

If you need to know How to Iron a Picture on A Shirt Without Transfer Paper you have come to the right place. It is actually pretty easy. You'll need to get the iron, some cotton fabric, and of course the design you want to put on your shirt. First place your fabric face down onto an ironing board with enough space for it to be folded over when done. Next, place the heat resistant side of your picture (without any protective layer) against the backside of the fabric where you would like it placed. Now that everything is in position start pressing down from one end of the iron until you reach the other end of it while moving in circular motions so as not do cause any wrinkles or creases in what's been pressed.

With so many options to use for putting images on t-shirts, you might think no one would be interested in learning how to do so without transfer paper. After all, printing with transfer paper is one of the easiest ways to get graphic designs onto t-shirts. It appears that with the explosion of t-shirt printing options there is no reason to produce a printed t-shirt without transfer paper.

Putting designs on t-shirts without using transfer paper is possible. You might still have your doubts as to whether it is possible to put designs on t-shirts without the heat transfer paper, heat transfer vinyl, a screen printing mesh, or other tools.

Iron a Picture on a Shirt Without Transfer Paper

How to Iron a Picture on a Shirt Without Transfer Paper( Simple Tricks)
How to Iron a Picture on a Shirt Without Transfer Paper( Simple Tricks)

Tools You Need

  • Wrapping plastic
  • (If you don't have a printer, just pick an image you like from a magazine)
  • Paper for pamphlets
  • The T-shirt


  1. Look up your favorite book, meme, actor, character, or image on the internet. You must resize the picture to fit your shirt before printing. (If you don't have a printer at home, you can use an image from a magazine.)
  2. Plug out the image.
  3. Wrap the image in plastic wrap (fold over the extra at the back).
  4. Wrap the image around the t-shirt. Once it is where you want it, cover it with parchment paper.
  5. To iron over the image, you should set the iron to high. Ensure that the corners of the image are ironed well so the image does not pill.
  6. Once the ironing is done, let the garment cool for a few minutes before peeling off the parchment paper.
  7. Done with that.

Be Careful

  • Placing plastic wrap over the back is essential.
  • Turn off your iron's steam when you're finished.
  • If you're ironing, make sure that the surface is flat.
  • To preserve your shirt's image, wash it by hand.

The trick is to do put your design on the t-shirt with a stencil.

But, what is a stencil?

A stencil is a pre-cut template that is used for designing graphics. Stencils can be a simple graphics or complicated design. No matter what it is, you can produce a stencil by either using a downloaded template or getting help from any image editing software to create your stencil image

Other Methods of diy t-shirt printing without transfer paper

1. T-Shirt Design on With a Stencil

T Shirt Without Transfer Paper
T Shirt Without Transfer Paper

The first thing you would need to do after you have created your design is to print it . Use A4 paper to print your stencil design for the best results. You may then put acetate on top of the image and secure it with tape.

Next, cut the design to make a stencil on the acetate. It is recommended that you start with the small spaces in the center and expand out gradually. This way you can repair any errors you have made on the stencil using the tape.

  • Before you transfer your design on the shirt , wash it first and allow it to dry completely. You take this precaution to prevent your shirt from shrinking. Once you have prepared your t-shirt, put it flat on the surface you will be working in. Also, insert a cardboard layer inside the t-shirt.
  • Stick the stencil to the t-shirt with masking tape. Make sure that the stencil is flat against the t-shirt and that the cardboard layer is in place.
  • Now you can turn to your ink. Mix it on the palette until you get the color you want. Use a foam paint roller to roll the ink until you see no lumps. The roller must be completely covered with the ink.
  • Next, roll your color across the stencil starting with a few light strokes followed by heavier strokes as you go along. The aim is to cover your t-shirt with a full coat of ink which must be evenly distributed. Before the ink dries, carefully remove the stencil.
  • Your t-shirt is ready for the next step. Place a sheet of baking paper over the image. The ink should be thoroughly dried before you put the baking paper over it, so make sure the ink is dried. With the baking paper on top, iron the design for as long as the time stated on your fabric ink.
  • Once you are finished ironing, admire your handiwork.

This method is a little more labor intensive than screenprinting, but it's cheaper and much more versatile. It can be used for everything from printing on t-shirts to making patches or small pillows.

What makes our shirt printing different is that it doesn't require transfer paper! We've put together a list of tips and tricks that you can use to get great results on your own.

Supply list

It is essential that you have certain supplies to complete this craft project as with most others. You can include others if you want, but they make great finishing touches.

  • Frozen papers
  • A sample of light-colored material
  • The clothing iron
  • (Either a rotating cutter or a pair of sharp scissors will do)
  • Mat (optional)

Using freezer paper is the best way to get that crisp, clean look every time. It's fast and easy! All you need are a few disposable plastic containers with lids from any supermarket or food store (these will serve as your ink pots). Set them up for each color used in your design on a flat surface like an old door or table top where they won't be disturbed by spills of paint-filled cups, mischievous pets or curious children while at work.

3. Use Citra-Solv and a Xerox Machine

Use Citra-Solv and a Xerox Machine to copy a solid-color background image. Rather than using the conventional method of print transfer paper, you can use a photocopied image made on any copy machine that uses toner. A chemical named Citra-Solv is then used to make sure your design doesn't smear or smudge when it dries.

Color copies are a great way to share your photos with others. If you have an inkjet printer, all that is required is for the paper stock and toner colors match up on both printers.

The process of copying images using color copiers varies greatly depending on what type of printing machine it will be copied onto or if there was any modifications performed before this copy was ordered. For black-and-white inputted files only (not mostly grayscale like some digital cameras), taking the original image into Photoshop's Print function and then selecting "color" from its menu should result in something similar.

You can find copy machines (if you do not have one) at your local library, local office supply store, and some U.S. Post Office locations. The service is charged per copy, so you can expect to pay a little extra. Usually, the cost per copy is below 25 cents.

4. Sun Printing/Light Source

The most straightforward and cost-effective option. Using this technique, you print your image on a surface that is exposed to sunlight.

What you will need:

  • The fabric
  • Marking pen with a thin tip
  • The tape
  • Lighting source


  1. By taping the design on the window, you allow the sun to reach it.
  2. Above your design, tape the cloth.
  3. Remove it 10 to 15 minutes after putting it on.

You can easily print your black and white copies in the comfort of your own home, as long as you have a color copy machine.

The advantage of sunlight is that you can use it at any time, day or night. You won't have to worry about trying to find the perfect lighting for your project!

In blacklight's absence, what are some ways people might try and get around this obstacle? Sun printing is a favorite among newbies for creating prints with texture and color. Although it can be done on any type of paper, some folks prefer to use vintage or handmade papers that are more textured than regular printer sheets. The process requires an empty frame (you'll need one about the same size as your piece), clear contact sheet film (typically used in photography) which you place inside of the frame behind your artwork so there's no glass between them, then expose them together under direct sunlight until they're both dry - usually around 30 minutes if it's cloudy outside!

5. Transfer Gel

There are two methods for transferring to fabric. The first, which is more charming and old-fashioned, requires a transfer gel that you need practice with before starting on the final project. To avoid mistakes when using this method make sure to try it out on some tussle fabric or an extra shirt ahead of time so there's no risk of ruining your work!

While the method is simple, it requires a fair amount of effort. It may be time-consuming, but fret not as it will pay off in time.

What you will need

  • Gel medium
  • A fabric (preferably cotton or linen)
  • An image printed on paper
  • Brush with regular bristles/paintbrush
  • Use a spray bottle filled with water


  1. On a separate piece of paper, copy your design. A magazine cover, postcard, souvenir, or something similar could be an appropriate choice. Before spreading the gel medium, cut off the excess piece.
  2. Apply the gel to the printed image with a paintbrush or regular bristle brush. A dense coat is necessary. From right to left, and from bottom to top, paint parallel strokes across the image.
  3. On the fabric, press the picture. Flatten air bubbles. Let it rest for an hour or two. If, however, you want to ensure that the transfer is successful overnight, you can let it dry.
  4. If the design is intricate, wet it with a wet cloth or water from a spray bottle. From the center, rub the paper gently down the back. If not, clean the area with a brush. Rubbing too hard may cause the image to flake off or shatter. Taking this step might take up a lot of your time. Let's take it easy. If you feel like you need a break, rest.
  5. Rub the paper again after you have removed most of the paper. Be gentle when removing the last bits. Then, thoroughly rinse.
  6. By using a hairdryer or allowing it to dry in the sun, flatten the piece immediately. To keep the colors well-balanced, iron it from the other side. To make the final output more durable, add another layer of gel medium.


That's it! A few simple and straightforward steps for putting an image on t-shirts without transfer paper. As you have seen, stenciling your design is an alternative to using transfer paper to print designs on t-shirts. With stenciling, you will be able to transfer any design onto t-shirts at a less costly rate. So, allow your creativity to soar with the stenciling technique for producing awesome t-shirt designs. Your family, friends, and customers will love it!

About Karen Jones

Karen Jones has always been a writer at heart. As a freelance writer and social media marketing consultant for the last decade, she's honed her skills in crafting catchy and interesting articles that reel in readers. She also enjoys traveling, which is where she gets most of her ideas for her writing. In fact, if you can't find Karen around her friends and family, it's likely because she's holed up in her home office working on refining her writing composition and printing press!

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