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HP Printers - Printing HP Iron-On Transfers (Mirror Images)

This document is for HP inkjet printers and HP iron-on transfers.
Print HP iron-on transfers with an inkjet printer and apply them to fabrics such as t-shirts and bags.
  caution:
HP iron-on transfers for inkjet printers cannot be used with LaserJet printers. Heating elements in LaserJet printers can melt the transfer and cause damage to the printer.
Step 1: Prepare for printing
Gather the following items before printing the transfer.
  • High quality, lighter color 100% cotton or cotton-polyester blend fabrics: The steps in this document are optimized for thick, 100% cotton, high quality t-shirts. Other fabrics work, but you should practice and modify the ironing heat, pressure and time to get a successful transfer on different types of fabrics. Transfers look best on white or light colored garments. Transfers to dark colors may not show up well. Unprinted areas of the transfer show up more on dark colored fabric.
  • HP iron-on transfers: Confirm the transfers are for use with either light-colored or dark-colored fabrics, depending on the items you want to apply them to.
  • Iron and ironing surface: Use a hard, smooth, heat-resistant surface such as a formica counter, laminated pressboard desk, or heat-safe table top that is at or below hip level. A lower surface height makes it easier to apply the required pressure with the iron. Do not use a standard ironing board or a glass surface.
  • Cotton or a cotton/polyester blend pillowcase: Used between the ironing surface and the item you are applying the transfer to.
  • Clock or timer: Ironing times vary depending on the transfer size.
  • Bathroom scale: Used to demonstrate the amount of pressure to apply when ironing.
Step 2: Create a mirror image of the original design
After creating the design, use your graphics or printer software to flip it horizontally so that a mirror image prints on the transfer. The mirror image reverses the text and picture that prints on the transfer paper so that it is shows the original orientation when ironed onto the item.
Most design software can create a mirror image. The setting might be called Flip horizontal, Mirror image, Reverse, or Rotate. If you cannot find this feature, use the following steps depending on your computer operating system.
Original image orientation
Mirror image of the original
Original image orientation
Mirror image of the original to print
Step 3: Print the transfer
Load the transfer paper into the input tray so that the design prints on the front non-HP logo side of the paper.
  1. Remove any plain paper from the main tray.
  2. Load the transfers into the tray based on your printer type.
    • Printers with a front load tray: HP logo side facing up
    • Printers with a rear load tray: HP logo side facing down
    Loading transfer paper into a rear load input tray
    Loading transfer paper into a front load input tray
    Loading transfer paper  into a rear load input tray
    Loading transfer paper  into a front load input tray
  3. In the app you created or saved the design in, click File > Print, and then click Properties or Show Details to display all print settings.
  4. Select a paper type such as HP Premium Inkjet Paper, Special Paper, or Iron-On Transfer, depending on what is available in the menu.
  5. Select the Best quality setting from the Quality Settings, Paper Type/Quality, or Advanced Options menu.
  6. After printing, confirm the design printed on the front side without the HP logo. If the design is on the side with the HP logo, insert a new sheet of transfer paper in the paper tray and reprint your design on the correct side.
  7. Cut away any unprinted areas that are not part of the design. Leave approximately 1/4 inch around the edge of the design.
Step 4: Prepare the iron and ironing surface
Before applying the transfer to the item, preheat the iron and make sure the ironing surface is flat and free of wrinkles.
  1. You must press hard when ironing. To demonstrate the pressure required, place a bathroom scale on the ironing surface, and then place both hands, one over the other, on the scale. Press down to generate 23 kgs (50 lbs) of pressure. Use this amount of pressure while you are ironing.
  2. Preheat your iron on the hottest setting (cotton or linen) for at least 8 minutes or until the iron reaches its maximum temperature. Do not use steam.
  3. Place the pillowcase on the ironing surface, and iron it to remove any wrinkles. The pillowcase and ironing surface should be completely smooth.
Step 5: Iron the transfer
Heat, pressure, and time are the key requirements for a successful transfer. If you have never used iron-on transfers, it is recommended that you practice on an old garment first.
  1. Position the item you are transferring the design on at the center of the pillowcase.
  2. Iron the item to remove any wrinkles, and then iron it for one additional minute to remove any moisture. The fabric must be completely smooth and dry to receive the transfer.
  3. Place the transfer where you want it onto the warm fabric, design side down and HP logo side up.
  4. Review these guidelines for ironing time, methods, and techniques based on the size of the transfer. If you do not use enough heat, pressure, and time, your transfer might crack or peel off the fabric.
    Transfer size
    Ironing time
    Recommended ironing method
    Full sheet
    3 minutes
    1 minute around the outer edge, 1 minute around the center, 1 more minute around the outer edge
    1/2 sheet
    2 minutes
    1 minute around the outer edge, 1 minute around the center
    1/4 sheet
    1 minute
    1 minute around the entire transfer
    • Use both hands, keep your arms straight, and use your upper body for leverage. Make sure you are ironing with 23 kgs (50 lbs) of pressure.
    • Iron the entire transfer evenly. Make complete circles, paying special attention to the edges and corners.
    • To prevent scorching, keep the iron moving at an even pace as you work towards the center of the transfer.
  5. Iron the transfer onto the item.
  6. Allow the transfer to completely cool. Remove the fabric from the hot ironing surface to cool the transfer faster.
      note:
    You can iron transfers to both sides of a shirt if you take steps to avoid heating the first transfer again. Depending on your ironing surface, try placing the shirt over the surface so that the first side is not heated again. If your ironing surface is small enough, you can slip it inside the shirt. Do not remove the backing from the first transfer until after you have ironed the second. Let the second one cool, and then remove both backings.
  7. Use your fingernail or a dull, flat blade to gently pull away a corner or edge of the transfer paper away from the fabric. If the paper starts to tear, try pulling from a different corner or edge.
Step 6: Care for items with iron-on transfers
Review these guidelines to help preserve transfer quality.
  • Wait at least 24 hours before washing the item.
  • Turn the item inside out when washing.
  • Machine wash in cold water with color-safe detergent.
  • Remove the item from the washer and dry immediately. Leaving the wet item in the washer for extended periods can cause the transfer to bleed.
  • Machine dry using a warm dryer setting.
  • When ironing the item, do not iron over the transfer.
  • Expect the transfer to fade up to the fifth wash. After the fifth washing, additional fading or loss of color typically does not occur.

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