First off -- the heat tool. The Walnut Hollow one (about $19.99 at Joann's, Hobby Lobby) WILL NOT WORK. It does not get hot enough. You will need a regular wood burning heat tool that heats up to 700 - 800 degrees. Your tool will come with several different tips. These are the two most commonly used for transferring. Some people like the big fat one -- I prefer the smaller triangle pointed one (which I have on).
Now you've got your tool, you need to let it preheat for about 5 minutes or so. I put mine in a ceramic coffee cup. Those silly little wire stands they give you with the tool do not give good support. And this thing gets HOT and it will scorch/burn whatever it touches -- so watch your fingers!
Get your item to transfer. I've been using print outs from a laser printer and photocopies from a copier using toner. I print/copy on regular typing paper. You will need a hard surface to make your transfer on. I use a square of pine board and I put a couple of sheets of plain paper on it to pad the surface. I wouldn't recommend using your good tabletop -- it could scorch!
Here's the picture I want to transfer. It was printed on a laser printer. I put down a piece of 100% cotton fabric (must be 100% natural fiber fabric -- polyester won't transfer as well and can melt).
Lay your piece of fabric right side up on your board. Put your transfer image face down onto the fabric where you want it to transfer. Grab your preheated tool and go to work. (For those of you who notice the scorch marks, it's because I already transferred this once. I can get at least 2 transfers from each copy). Your copy will also transferred reversed -- so if you have lettering on your copy, be sure and reverse the print. Here's me transferring. As you can see you get a little scorching action going on. That's fine and to be expected. Just keep the tool moving around on the paper. The tool will cool off a little while you're rubbing it on the paper. Just put it back in your cup and let it heat up a few seconds and then keep transferring. You must keep the tool moving or you'll totally scorch (and even burn) the paper. This doesn't take too long (depending on the type of transfer you're using). For a simple line drawing like this -- about 5 minutes is the total time to go over all the lines).
Here's the finished transfer:
The fairy is now transferred onto fabric. This transfer is totally water proof. It can be washed and there is no smearing or fading. You're ready to paint, embroider, sew, whatever.
I have tried doing colored pictures but they come out very faint from the laser printers (even using the darkest color setting). I don't have access to a color copier so I haven't tried that (yet). I also have not tried doing this with an ink jet printer. I'll let you know how that comes out.
Meanwhile, here's one last "before and after" of a photograph that I burned onto fabric.
This was also printed on a laser printer. The original copy is on the left -- the one burned onto fabric is on the right.
Have fun with this technique and if you use it, drop me a comment and let me go and see your results.
And now since Blogger has so nicely cooperated with all these photos, I think I'm going to hurry and publish this.