How To Use Iron-On Transfer Paper On Dark Fabric

Thanks to technology, it is now much easier to carry out some commercial processes of clothes at home. This includes printing on fabric as we will see.

There are people who like dark fabrics such as grey t-shirts and black hoodies. Transferring images on these fabrics is done differently from how it is done with light-colored fabrics.

How Do You Iron-On Transfer Paper In Dark Fabric?

It is easy. Dark fabrics need dark transfer paper to iron-on images perfectly. Dark transfer paper has a white background that makes it possible for images to print out on dark fabrics. This white background makes the images visible.

The ink used to print iron-on transfer paper is translucent. It is not clearly seen until it has a clear or light-colored background to compare it against. Making it much easier to iron-on on light-colored fabrics.

Steps To Use Iron-On Transfer On Dark Fabric

Now that we know the difference between light-colored and dark-colored fabric, let us see how the iron-on transfer paper on dark fabric is used.

You will require the following items to do this by yourself:

  • Dark fabric
  • Inkjet printer
  • Iron
  • Flat surface for ironing
  • Silicon fixing paper
  • Image

When you have these ready, you can now make your iron-on sticker for dark fabrics in this way:

Step 1. Print your image from an inkjet printer.

Step 2. If there is still ink on the printout, let it dry before transferring it to your fabric. This ensures that you don’t stain your fabric with ink. 8-12 hours of drying is the recommended time frame.

Step 3. Cut out any excess parts from the printout. You only want the relevant parts of your image on your fabric.

Step 4. Prepare the fabric to receive the image by ironing it flat and removing any dirt particles then let it cool.

Step 5. Peel the back of the iron-on transfer paper and stick the image on the already ironed and cool dark fabric.

Step 6. Place a suitable fabric over the image. A suitable fabric will be heat resistant and can iron easily.

Step 7. Press your iron on the fabric to activate the adhesive on the image. This makes sure that the image sticks onto the fabric for good. Iron the image firmly. Moving the iron up and down over it.

Step 8. Use a soft cloth to rub the transfer to cool it then peel off the transfer sheet.

Tips For Working With Iron-On Transfer On Dark Fabric

Always remember to use dark transfer paper. This is because dark transfer paper has a background that allows the printed image to be visible on dark fabric. Inkjet printers don’t have white printer color, thus, the image needs a background to be visible.

Also, when printing iron-on transfer images for dark fabric, do not reverse the image or apply T-shirt settings. This is because the image has a white background and also, the dark transfer paper has a backing where the image rests on printing. This backing will be removed to allow the image to stick onto the fabric.

When working with dark transfer paper, make sure to test your print-out image. You can use an ordinary sheet of paper to find out how the image will look once it is printed. This helps you to identify areas of the image that may not be visible once the transfer occurs or that need to be trimmed out.

When you finally print on the dark transfer paper, make sure to trim out all-white background parts that you don’t want on the image. Trim everything you need before peeling the backing.

Working with iron-on transfer on dark fabric is a longer process than with light-colored fabrics for this reason.

Sometimes, depending on the color of the dark fabric you are using, you may need to add a background similar to the color of the fabric on your image. This helps to keep your iron-on transfer visible and blending well with the fabric.

When you are working with iron-on transfer on dark fabrics, you are likely to encounter some issues. One of the most common issues is that the iron-on transfer may turn yellow rather than maintain its original color. The solution, you need to reduce the heat on your iron.

When ironing your iron-on transfer, confirm that you have the recommended heat settings at all times. Also, always use a covering fabric on your iron-on transfer while ironing.

Difference Between A Light Colored And Dark Fabric Iron-On Transfer


The first major difference between a light-colored and dark fabric iron-on transfer is on printing. Light-colored iron-on printing doesn’t need a background as the image will be visible as soon as it gets on the fabric.

For a dark fabric iron-on transfer, when printing you need to use the dark transfer paper which has a background and enables visibility of the intended iron-on transfer image.

Another difference in printing is that when you print for light-colored fabrics, you need to reverse the image. For dark fabric iron-on transfer, print your image as you intend for it to look on the fabric. You don’t have to reverse it.

Fabric Colors

Iron-on transfer for light-colored fabrics is easy to carry out and complete. For dark coloured fabrics, you will need to use dark transfer paper to successfully use iron-on transfer. Dark transfer paper can be considered a sticker. This is because it has a backing that can be peeled of and the image pressed onto the fabric.

You can use dark iron-on transfers on light colored fabric and it will maintain its visibility and appeal. Contrarily, you can’t use a light-colored transfer on a dark fabric. It would blend in with the dark fabric and lose visibility.

Iron-On Transfer

Another difference between the light and dark colored iron-on transfer is during the actual iron-on transfer. For light-colored fabrics, the reversed image is ironed on with the image facing the fabric and the backing on the iron. The backing paper is peeled off after ironing.

While transferring with a dark transfer paper, the upright image is on top while the backing paper is peeled off before ironing to ensure that adhesive activates properly. You need a covering fabric on the image so that you don’t spoil it with heat.

Will I Need A Special Ink For Transfer Paper?

The one advantage of transfer paper is that you can use it with an ordinary office inkjet printer. This makes it highly convenient and easy to use. This means that you can start a T-shirt business with ease.

Since all you need is an ordinary inkjet printer, you don’t need any special ink to print on transfer paper. If you have access to an inkjet printer for everyday use, just change your printing paper and set up your transfer paper.

Change your printer settings if you need to. For dark transfer paper, you don’t need to change the settings to reverse or T-shirt. Just print normally, and follow the above instructions to iron-on transfer paper on dark fabric.

How Long Should You Iron During The Iron-On Transfer Process

When ironing your fabric or clothes for the iron-on transfer process, you need to start by ironing the fabric or clothes. Prepare the fabric to receive the iron-on design by ironing it. Make sure it is well pressed without any wrinkles.

Depending on your fabric type, you will iron-on your transfer paper for about 45 seconds to about 2 minutes. This is enough time to activate the adhesive and to make sure it will hold onto your fabric forever.


Dark fabrics need special care and attention when it comes to the use of iron-on transfer. Getting the right dark fabric transfer paper is essential to making this process a success.

Knowing the difference between iron-on for light-colored fabrics and dark fabrics enables you to transfer your design easily onto your dark fabrics.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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