Iron-on film is an ideal solution if you are looking for a way to personalize clothing and fabrics. Thanks to iron-on films, you can present different motifs, lettering and even whole pictures on T-shirts, bags or other textile objects with little effort. All you need is the right utensils, tips and tricks when using the film.
Do you want to prettify your T-shirts or create your own style with lettering? Iron-on films are ideal for this purpose. Iron these onto the fabric according to the name and then let them rest. This turns the foil into an “imprint”, which can, however, easily be designed on your own and hardly requires professional help. In this way, you can implement your own ideas exactly as you wish.
If you want to use iron-on film, you will find here some tips and tricks regarding the implementation, necessary materials and utensils, as well as the different types of film that can be used here.
Iron-on film | Types
First and foremost in the use of iron-on films are the different types offered in specialist shops, craft shops or on the Internet. These each have different characteristics which have a strong impact on the final outcome of the project, as well as the process itself. This is why it is so important that you know about the different types to order or purchase the appropriate iron-on film. In total, there are three types with special properties.
The transfer foil or transfer paper is an iron-on foil that you can print on yourself. These are available in different DIN sizes, most often DIN A4 and DIN A3. These are only suitable for inkjet printers, as laser printers cannot print on the film. They can be either transparent or opaque, depending on the manufacturer. When using them, care must be taken to ensure that they can tear if used incorrectly. It also blows out faster than other films, but is easily stretchable. Costs for ten DIN A4 films amount to about ten to 15 euros.
These films are very thin and can be easily fixed to the fabric thanks to their elasticity. They are made of silicone and are very popular for lettering, as they are very colour-intensive and are also available with various effects such as glitter. They are not printable and therefore you have to order motifs from a service. It is quite soft and feels pleasant on the body. In comparison to the transfer film it is only available in opaque, but besides DIN formats also in numerous roll lengths. Ten flex foils in DIN A4 format are available for about eight to ten euros.
Now you have a small overview of the different slides. If you still wonder which film is more suitable for which project, the properties have to be compared. So you should do without transfer film if you want to use a highly resistant iron-on film. It is normal for transfer film to be removed from the fabric faster than flock or flex film.
If you have complex motifs in mind, either the transfer foil or the flock foil is recommended. The transfer foil can easily be printed out and flock foil ironed over. This is not possible with flex foil. Depending on the manufacturer, flex film has properties that the other two do not have. An example of this is breathability. Take your time when choosing the film.
Tip: When selecting the iron-on film, be sure to observe the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the suitable textiles to be used as underlay. Not every film adheres to synthetic fibres or sensitive ones such as silk and can irreparably damage them.
Materials and utensils
In addition to the suitable iron-on film, the other utensils are just as important. With these, the project can be implemented effectively and without major hurdles and can be seen. Fortunately, you don’t need too much for this and you will probably already have most of the following list at home.
Fabric or article of clothing for ironing
Depending on which iron-on film you want to use, additional equipment is required in addition to the materials mentioned above. In the case of the transfer film, for example, you will need a computer and printer to print the film. When choosing the fabric or garments, it is important to have a plan in advance. Once you are sure about what and in what size you want to iron on the fabric, everything goes much faster.
It also makes it easier for you to order the film, which also saves you money. If you plan sufficiently in advance, don’t spend too much money on too much iron-on film, which is easy on your wallet.
Note: If you do not have a printer available, you can print the iron-on film either in the copy shop or in many libraries. However, this method is only suitable as an alternative for a few films, since high quantities in shops naturally cause more costs and many people use the equipment in the library.
Before you read the tips for using the iron-on sheet, you should prepare the project. This applies especially to the preparation of the fabric so that it provides the ideal conditions for ironing. If you just use the ironing foil, it will most likely just come off, which is not desired.
This can also lead to the loss of the film, which in turn causes higher costs as you have to reorder more. To prevent these problems, follow the following preparation steps.
Before ironing the textiles, you must wash them. To do this, follow the temperature of the label or material so that you do not damage it beforehand. The older the fabric, the more difficult it is to use ironing paper. It becomes even more difficult if the fibres are damaged.
Do not use fabric softener when washing. This prevents the fibres from absorbing sufficient adhesive, which is important for holding the iron-on film. Detergent, on the other hand, is important for the fibres to be clean, which is important for the adhesive effect of the films.
After washing, allow the fabrics to dry thoroughly. For the best effect, prefer drying in the air, but there is no reason why the dryer should not be used. There must be no moisture in the fabric after this process, otherwise the adhesive in the film can only stick with difficulty. This is especially important with very large pieces, as otherwise the heat distribution is not really sufficient to work effectively.
Cutting to size or printing
The last point of preparation is the cutting or printing of the iron-on film. When printing, make sure to mirror the design before printing, otherwise it will land on the fabric mirror-inverted. This is especially not recommended for lettering. Complicated shapes with flock or flex films, on the other hand, should be cut out beforehand, as this can take quite a long time.
With these points you are ready to go and can use the iron-on film.
Use iron-on film | Tips
When using iron-on films, a lot can go wrong, especially if you have never tried anything in this area before. The process is similar to classic ironing, but the foils are usually much larger in size, which causes completely different difficulties. The following tips will make it easy to iron your selected foils onto the fabrics or garments and then look forward to the new style or possible uses.
The underground is much more important than you might think. This affects the final shape of the film and can also lead to the result not being as desired. Do not use a classic ironing board. As these are covered with fabric and padding, wrinkles can quickly occur which do not allow the ironing film to adhere effectively in some places.
During ironing, the foil must rest on the fabric for the entire time. It is therefore essential that you choose a surface that is hard enough, such as a worktop or desk.
If you’re wondering if you should iron with or without steam, the answer is clearly no. The wetter the fabric is, the worse the film’s adhesive performance will be and the project will only work slightly. So be sure to iron only without steam when using the film. You can check if your iron is using steam when you place it on baking paper and turn it on. If the appliance moves by itself, the steam function is either on or there is water in the iron.
The required temperature of the iron is selected according to the fabric being ironed. Ideally, your garment or fabric should be cotton with no synthetic content. In this case, a temperature of 150°C to 170°C is sufficient. If you use a film that is suitable for other materials, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions as described above. This makes it easy to choose the right temperature.
Place iron-on film
Before you apply the iron, you must place the ironing foil. The best way to do this is to mark either the corners or the entire shape of the foil or parts with tailor’s chalk. This allows you to place them without any problems.
The baking paper is always placed on the iron-on film after the film has been placed on the fabric. Baking paper protects against accidental sticking of the iron-on film during use, which could irreparably damage it.
When ironing, be careful to guide the iron slowly over the surface. The more time you take, the better the result. For this reason, you should “iron” every part of the fabric for about 25 to 30 seconds. More is not necessary per place and can even damage the foil or the fabric. Do not forget to iron on the left.
allow to cool
Last but not least, it is important to let the film cool down completely. When it cools down, the adhesives strengthen even better and survive the wearing and washing of the garment.