4 Tips For Making Iron-On T-Shirt Transfers Last Longer

Iron-on artwork transfer sheets are a great way to add color and pizzazz to a plain t-shirt without buying any special equipment. However, these transfers need to be handled carefully during the ironing process in order to bond as tightly as possible to the shirt. Help your new t-shirt last through dozens or even hundreds of wash cycles with minimal cracking and fading by using these four handy tips.

Remove Lint

Even the newest t-shirts can end up with a light coating of fuzz and lint on the surface. When the iron-on transfer ink is applied over this nearly invisible layer of fluff, the bond is not as tight as it could be with a little extra preparation. Use a sweater brush or lint roller to remove as much fine debris as possible from the shirt before heating up the iron.

Wash Inside Out

Don't forget about taking care of the design after it's been applied to the shirt. Instead of just tossing the garment in with the rest of the wash, turn it inside out before washing. Cool water tends to affect the printed design less than hot water, and hand-washing is the best technique for minimizing physical wear and tear that leads to cracking. Line drying or tumble drying on a low heat setting is also recommended for delaying cracking and fading.

Test First

A strong bond between fabric and ink requires the perfect combination of heat and pressure, and the amount of both can vary based on the transfer medium. Try ordering a second inexpensive iron-on design and using it on another t-shirt to practice your process before applying your favorite design to a brand new t-shirt. Cutting your test design into a few pieces allows you to try various heat and pressure combinations until you hit upon the right blend.

Improve the Design

If your iron-on starts to look a little faded, you can remove the transfer residue from the surface of the ink to freshen it back up again. Simply use a silicon baking sheet or a piece of baking parchment and iron with it over the transfer design. This will pick up the residue and leave behind a brighter, more colorful design with minimal effort. Of course, this trick only works a few times before it eventually loses its power, but it's worth the extra effort for a t-shirt that starts fading after only a few washes.

For more information, consider contacting a professional like those at West Coast Rhinestone Designs.