How To: Use Transfer Paper
Our simple steps
to get you embroidering like a pro
Learn how to easily transfer whatever your heart desires onto fabric so you can embroider it.
We love embroidery transfer paper because it gives you flexibility to transfer anything you want, a photo a favorite quote, wedding wishes and embroider over it. When using transfer paper you have two choices, you can either draw a new design on the fabric or transfer an existing design. The most appropriate technique to transfer a design depends on the color, thickness, and weight of the fabric.
Draw the embroidery design on white paper with a black marker. Place the design under the fabric and use a DMC Embroidery Transfer Pen
or DMC Embroidery Transfer Pencil
to trace it directly onto the fabric. To see the design more easily, tape the paper and fabric onto a sunny window or use a light box. This method works best for light colored and light weight fabrics. If you are using a DMC Embroidery Transfer Pen, the blue ink is completely water soluble so that the marks can be removed with a lightly dampened cloth. For darker fabrics use a DMC Embroidery Transfer Pencil, which is chalk-based. The white pencil markings can be removed with a damp cloth, just like the transfer pen, or by gently rubbing the fabric.
Using DMC Embroidery Transfer Paper/Dressmakers’ Carbon, place a piece of the DMC Embroidery Transfer Paper color-side down on your fabric and place the pattern on top of the paper. Trace the pattern using a stylus or empty ball-point pen to transfer the design to the fabric. DMC Embroidery Transfer Paper includes four 8.5 in x 11 in sheets of wax-free transfer paper—two yellow and two blue. Use the yellow for dark fabrics for and the blue for light-colored fabrics.
CREATE YOUR OWN COMPUTER TRANSFER
Scan your own design or a photo and print it onto specialty transfer printer paper following the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer papers can be found in most office supply stores and at some needlework and quilt shops. Remember to reverse your photo before printing so when you transfer it to the fabric it looks correct.
Cut out the photo, leaving a border of about ¼ inch.
Iron on your cotton fabric so you can transfer the photo correctly. Place the photo in the middle of your fabric (with the image facing down and the backing paper facing up). Iron over the backing paper, be sure the edges are ironed.
Wait for the paper to cool down and gently remove the backing paper.
Download our Photo Embroidery project here
Paperbacked iron-on transfer designs are available in a variety of colors and styles. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions before using.
Stencils are great for repeat patterns, mixing and matching for a unique style. Or you can use a few elements of a stencil design to create a distinctive individualized look. Tracing stencils works best on medium-weight fabrics such as cotton, lightweight denim, silk, linen, rayon and various synthetic blends.
- Position stencil on right side of fabric and secure in place (tape works well). Use a DMC Embroidery Transfer Pen or DMC Embroidery Transfer Pencil to follow the cut-out areas of the stencil.
- If the fabric has any stretch to it, you may find it easier to make small dots along the cutout lines rather than drawing a solid line.
- Use the Embroidery Transfer Pen lightly when tracing and keep moving along the cut-outs without pausing. Holding the marker in one spot for too long could create a thicker line than needed.
- For textured fabric, more pressure may be needed when tracing.
- If you need to make any corrections to your design placement, simply dab the traced lines with a damp cloth to remove markings.
- Stitch over the traced lines with a line embroidery stitch of your choice or fill in the open areas with a filling stitch.
For best results with any of these transfer methods, your fabric should be clean and free of any starch or protective coatings, which can interfere with the ink or chalk transferring to the fabric.
Please note that these transfer methods are removable and should not be confused with hot iron transfer ink pens, pencils, or patterns. Heat transfer methods create a permanent image that must be completely covered by stitching to be invisible. When using a hot iron transfer pencil, also remember that a reverse image of the design will be created. This means that your pattern needs to be traced in reverse before transferring the design to the fabric.
Visit our Embroidery Pattern section to download free embroidery projects