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Clear Inkjet T-Shirt Transfer Paper... Is There Such A Thing?

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Clear T-Shirt Transfer Paper

From time to time, we get asked if we sell a ‘clear’ inkjet transfer paper. When I enquire what exactly they mean by that, they usually state that they are looking for a t-shirt transfer paper that will only show the image and/or design, (including text) that they print, and not show any of the unprinted transfer paper visibly on the fabric after making the transfer. Especially in cases where the design or image is intricate and too detailed to trim all the background prior to application.

Is there such a thing?….. actually yes there is…..well, sort of! Yes, you can achieve this, however there are a few caveats!

Our Inkjet Transfer Paper for Light Fabric does just that. It is made with a translucent membrane onto which you can print your image, design and/or text, in mirror image. You then place the transfer paper onto the fabric (facedown) and apply using heat from either a home iron or a professional heat press. If applied correctly, the result will be a good quality image that is soft, flexible, with a clear background, and all without excessive trimming. There are however certain conditions that must be met in order to achieve maximum transparency:

  • If your design/image does not take up the majority of the transfer paper, it’s a good idea to trim some of the excess off, especially around the circumference. It is advisable to leave a edge of approximately a quarter of an inch.
  • For maximum transparency, you must use on white colored fabric only. Since the membrane is translucent and not completely clear, if applied to white fabric, the result will be only your image/design will be present. On white fabric, any unprinted translucent transfer paper will blend in with the the white background. The result will be more of a ‘shadow’, clear and no color, but barely or ever so slightly visible.
  • The darker or heavier the image/design, the better the results. That is to say if your image/design is black or a very dark or rich color (say deep red, dark green etc), it will stand out more, making the background less visible.


As stated, the maximum transparency is achieved by using white fabric. However, you will get a similar result when using other colored fabric, however you are limited to the colors you can use on your design/image. Use the formula: the darker the fabric, the darker the image. By this I mean make sure the image/design you are making is several shades darker than the fabric you are using. That’s where the limitation of colors on your design/image comes in. If you are using, for example, a burgundy fabric, you are limited to your design/image being black most likely, as that is the only color that will show up on the burgundy background. However, even on the darker colors, the translucent transfer paper will fade into the background.

However, this shouldn’t necessarily be thought of as a disadvantage. If you are looking to create a more subtle design, such as adding a muted paisley print onto your fabric, this would be a great way of doing that.

So the answer to your question as to whether there is such a thing as a clear transfer paper is ‘yes’......well, sort of!

As always, we welcome your comments and personal stories and/or experiences. We would be interested to know how you use this product and also let us know any hints and tips you would like to share.