Transfer Patterns with a Home Printer

Transfer Patterns With Your Home Printer. Easy Peasy!

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The moment you realize how easy it is to transfer patterns with a home printer you might use this method over all others almost, if not all of the time, like I do. It is by far my absolute favorite method because it's so quick and easy. My transfer has nice crisp lines which are right where they need to be, and when I'm done with my stitches there's no need to remove anything with heat or water.

It's also inexpensive, but if you don't already have a printer then there's a small upfront cost, around $100 which is still affordable and you'll be able to use it for other things besides embroidery patterns!

I've transferred hundreds of embroidery patterns and I almost exclusively transfer them this way, and I've been asked how to do this, so guess what today’s post is all about?

If transferring embroidery patterns is your least favorite part of the embroidery process then I hope this tutorial will change that for you.

What You'll Need

  • Printer: Printers are pretty inexpensive and you can get a decent one for around $100 to $150, although you can find less expensive ones. You can use either an inkjet or a laser printer to transfer your patterns. I have a Brother laser printer and an Epson Workhorse inkjet printer and both work beautifully. If you want to wash your embroidery later though, only the laser print will be waterproof. This doesn't mean your inkjet will definitely bleed if it gets wet. Printer inks are different from one brand to the next so reduce the opacity and test it out on fabric.
  • Sticker Paper: I use Online Labels 8.5 x 11 inch sticker paper which is perfect for this job but any sticker paper in that size will do.
  • Fabric, Scissors, and Your Pattern: Your fabric needs to be larger than your sticker paper and this process will be easier if you have an extra half an inch on all sides. Use fabric scissors, not embroidery scissors or your hand might cramp up after awhile. If you've printed your pattern onto paper already and it's centered and looks good to you then you can use that when it's time to transfer if your printer allows you to make copies.

Step One

Lay your ironed fabric on a flat surface & set it aside.

Fold the backing of your sticker paper down about 2 inches and press the sticky part firmly down onto one end of your fabric like this:

Carefully lift the sticker paper up slightly and pull the backing away, inch by inch. As you do, smooth the sticker down from the top onto your fabric until the entire backing has been removed.

Give your sticker paper a firm rub over your fabric to make sure it's on there good.

Turn it over and smooth out any wrinkles (make sure your hands are clean).

Step Two

Next, trim the fabric to fit the sticker paper.

Then set your fabric back down on a hard surface (fabric side up), place your backing on top (or sheet of paper), and rub it down once more. Be sure to get the edges because if it comes loose in your printer that could cause a jam.

Now, lightly pinch your fingers along the edge and pull outward to find any loose threads. Just remove them as they come off. Once in awhile you'll need to cut them off. Rub down the edges once more to be sure they are really stuck before they go into the printer.

I might be a bit ocd with making sure the edges are stuck on good but it’s better than running into a jam later.

Step Three

Before you transfer embroidery patterns onto fabric, make a test print on paper at around 40% opacity. Lighter lines means it'll be less likely to show behind your stitches.

If your test comes out perfect and centered replace all paper in the tray with your fabric/sticker paper, and print with the settings on plain paper & normal quality.

Tip: Be sure you set your fabric in the tray so you're printing on the fabric, not the sticker.

Step Four

How did it print for you? Now all you have to do is carefully remove the sticker and you'll be left with your printed pattern. Hoop and stitch right away! Yay!



Can I reuse the sticker paper? Yes, you can transfer embroidery patterns a few times using the same sticker paper, but as it loses its stickiness it increases the chances of a printer jam so don't reuse it more than 2 or 3 times at most.

What if I want to transfer embroidery patterns that are meant for an 8 inch hoop? Unless you have a wide format printer you're limited to an 8" hoop with most printers. Fabric that is 8.5 x 11 inches wide will slip along the narrow side. Here's what I do:

  • Transfer embroidery patterns using the same method
  • Then sew an additional piece of fabric about 1.5 inch wide on each narrow side.
  • The sewn on pieces won't show up on the front so you can now hoop this to an 8" hoop.

Will this work on dark fabric? This method won't work if the fabric is too dark. Transfer embroidery patterns on dark fabric with other methods like tracing with white carbon paper.

Won't this jam up my printer? Some printers are finicky so if you transfer embroidery patterns this way there's always the possibility that it can. I've never had it jam up my printers but I make sure that my fabric is really stuck to my sticker paper and I remove all other paper in my tray before printing.

Why do you remove all other the paper out of your tray to print fabric? My printer likes to grab both my fabric and an extra sheet of paper sometimes which results in the paper being printed on, not my fabric. While it's never caused a jam in my experience it could in other printers so it's just good practice to reduce any future headaches.

    I hope you've enjoyed this lesson and will use this method to transfer embroidery patterns for most, if not all, of your embroidery projects!

    If you like the mandala pattern I used for this tutorial and want to follow along with me as I stitch then head over to that post and download the free pattern. I'll include all the colors and stitches!

    I hope this method works out for you but if you don't have a printer and need another way to transfer embroidery patterns I've posted alternative methods.

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