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Can You Use a Regular Printer for Transfer Paper?

Yes, you can absolutely do this. A better printer that was manufactured for transfer paper would also provide you with better results. However, there really is no reason why you cannot use a regular printer.

The thing that many people do not know about is that there are transfer papers for inkjet printers. Often, the question that people have is whether or not you can use regular ink on transfer papers.

What are transfer papers anyway?

A transfer paper allows you to transfer an image from the paper to the fabric. So, what happens is you print an image on the transfer paper, and then you transfer that image to a piece of clothing. Most transfer papers are available in A4 and A3 sizes.

These transfer papers need heat. Once you transfer the image, you must use an iron to press it against the clothing or apparel. It is the heat that dissipates the ink and moves it to the fabric.

Think of a transfer paper like a sticker. However, the image on the sticker gets transferred to the fabric. In a normal sticker, the print stays on the glossy sticker paper and will not be washed off.

What printers work on a transfer paper?

Can you use a regular printer for transfer paper? Yes, you can. There are many ordinary or regular printers you can use with transfer papers. As such, you no longer need to buy new ones, especially so if you are just working on a print as a hobby.

Heat transfer paper is a miracle—it is a great solution for printing as you no longer need to create a silkscreen. Now, since there are many different printers out there, the most common question I get is, can you use a regular printer for transfer paper?

The key here is not the printer but the type of transfer paper. There are transfer papers built for some specific ordinary or regular printers.

The first step to knowing whether or not your printer will work on a transfer paper is to Google more information about it.

Next, research on the ink type that your printer uses. If your printer is using a toner, then it is not an inkjet printer. It is a laser printer. If the printer uses a cartridge, then it is an inkjet printer.

From here, you can shop for a transfer paper that works with your type of printer. For example, buy transfer paper for inkjet if your printer is inkjet and vice versa.

How should you print the image on the transfer paper?

For a transparent transfer paper, you must mirror the image. What it means is that before you print the image on the paper, it has to be reversed.

After printing, the side of the print is what you will put on the surface of the fabric. Then, you apply heat to transfer the image.

On the other hand, if you are using white transfer paper, you do not need to mirror the image. The printed side of your image will be at the top side upon transfer—it is the other side of the paper that will touch the fabric.

Guide to buying transfer paper

To help you understand what transfer to buy and what suits your needs, below is a guide that I have prepared. First of all, heat transfer paper is made for specific fabrics like cotton, cotton blend, polyester, and nylon.

There are two types of heat transfer paper: light and dark. Light heat transfer paper was designed to transfer ink to a white or lightly colored fabric. Dark heat transfer paper is designed for dark clothing, especially black.

Since inks do not print white, the white transfer paper uses the white of the cotton or shirt as a substitute—dark transfer paper prints like a normal paper, which uses the white of the paper itself. Do not be confused—a dark transfer paper does not mean it is black.

For light heat transfer paper, all the images must be mirrored. However, this is not necessary for dark heat transfer papers.

There are heat transfer papers for inkjet and laser printers. The inkjet transfer papers are commonly used in home printers. You must buy the appropriate heat transfer paper according to your printer.

Inkjet transfer papers can hold wet ink. Laser transfer papers can only hold toners, not wet ink. The heat transfer process will be a mess if you interchange both of them.

Now, laser transfer papers are divided into several types. There is white, single, and full color. Single color laser printer transfer papers are great for light and dark shirts. Full color has several light and dark types, and you must choose what applies best to your project.

White laser printer transfer papers are unique. They are made for white toner laser printers. You can use this paper for one or multiple colors. On top of that, it can self-read the blank space of the background of your image.

When printing, use the highest quality settings of your printer. Keep in mind, however, that the ink can also bleed if it is oversaturated. The bleeding usually happens after washing the garment.

To avoid this, my tip is that you let the garment dry for 24 hours after transferring the ink. Do not wash it right away. Also, do not dry clean the garment.

After pressing the inkjet heat transfer paper, lightly stretch the transfer on the garment to build upon the softness and durability of the transfer.

Summary: can you use a regular printer for transfer paper?

Many types of inkjet printers work on transfer papers. It is not really the printer that you have to worry about but that type of transfer paper you are using.

Also, do not believe people when they say you must modify your printer in any way. There is no need to do this. What you must do is find the type of printer you have at home, then buy a compatible transfer paper.