Iron Me On: 30 Sheets of Awesome Fabric Transfers, by Mike Perry

Reported by Jen Geigley

I’m a big fan of iron-ons of all kinds, so when I spotted this book of fabric transfers illustrated by Mike Perry, author and illustrator of Hand Job, I had to check it out.

It’s called Iron Me On: 30 Sheets of Awesome Fabric Transfers and it’s chock full of gorgeous illustrations of all sizes, ready to be made into wearable art.

Each page has several images on it that you can cut apart and rearrange, or use as-is, plus several pages of alphabets that you can use to make custom word art.

I decided to start with a couple of kid-sized t-shirts for my daughter, so I tore out a page with a large design on it (which was made super easy by the nicely perforated pages).

It’s important to pay attention to the instructions in the book. If your t-shirt is new, you should pre-wash it to remove the sizing. Iron your t-shirt or fabric before you begin, and you’ll need to heat your iron to the high/cotton setting, allowing it to heat up for at least five minutes. Don’t use an ironing board, as it will not hold the heat necessary for the transfer to work properly. The book suggests a plywood board or other hard surface (I used a glass table).

Carefully place your transfer sheet onto your shirt, image side down. The paper can be slippery, and it’s extremely important that you don’t lift your iron at all for the full time recommended for each transfer (from 3-5 minutes). The book suggests firm, even pressure on your iron as you work. You also must be super careful not to shift the paper while moving your iron, or shadowing/double images can and will occur. This is tough to do, but if you’re careful, it can be accomplished.
Don’t peek until the time is up! This is also tough to do, but if you move your paper away too early, you’ll find that certain parts of your image may appear faint or unfinished. There’s a little trial and error to this process, but if you do pull it away too early, you can usually try to match it back up, lay the paper down and try again (but you risk making a double or shadowed image).

My first transfer turned out pretty good! I held the iron in place for a full 4 minutes and the image was vivid and complete. I immediately found these transfers to be different than others I had used in the past. Right away, I noticed that there is no translucent ‘halo’ around these iron-ons; it looked as if I had used fabric markers or colored pencils to doodle directly onto the shirt. There was no texture to the image, either, which I liked.

I chose to add a second image of a bird to the bottom corner, and added that next.

After this first project, I was confident I could use two images on the same surface with some space in between, but next I wanted to try some closer layering of the transfers.

I picked out these two images and decided to start with the top ‘blobby’ illustration first, and then add the skateboard guy after, to reduce the chance of moving either one of them accidentally.

The first transfer worked beautifully:

But as you can see, the second one shifted considerably, and created a double image on my shirt. Like I mentioned earlier, it is really tough to keep the transfer pages from shifting under the pressure of the iron. I had also let my iron touch the pink and green area from the first transfer while ironing the skateboard guy, and when I moved my iron to another area on the shirt, pink and green got all over the other half of the shirt. So, the end result of this t-shirt was a bit messy and frustrating.
I decided I wanted to try a canvas tote bag next, and chose to iron-on two pages of images, side by side.

It worked, but the colors definitely didn’t come out as bright on the canvas as they did on the t-shirts. These also took a lot longer. Over six minutes each. And I had to lay them down/match up the images several times as the images weren’t transferring evenly. A couple of hours later, the colors actually started fading, which I found odd.

And when I opened up my bag…

I found that the images had bled all the way through to the back side (so take note … not all fabrics will work well with these transfers).

So I went back to the tried and true t-shirts, now that I was more experienced with my iron-ons. I successfully transferred several images onto a yellow t-shirt, and was really happy with the end result. Cotton t-shirts will definitely be your most reliable surface to work on. You’ll notice in my first photo of this post that I had considered adding iron-ons to a pair of Vans, but after the canvas tote bag mishap, I decided against it.

All in all, I made some super fun things with the Iron Me On images. Here’s one last look at my projects.


  • Extremely cool illustrations
  • High-quality ‘feel’ of the transfer is very nice
  • Customizable designs that you can cut up and rearrange
  • The book folds up to hold cut pieces of transfer papers for future use
  • Vibrant colors
  • No iron-on ‘halo’


  • Unpredictable on different fabrics
  • Hard to keep transfer papers from shifting while ironing
  • Time-consuming (3-5 minutes for each iron-on… sometimes more)
  • Can bleed through fabric
  • Not easy to layer


Do you love iron-ons? Let us know what you think of Mike Perry’s Iron Me On (available at here) … what would you make with these transfers?

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6 Responses to Iron Me On: 30 Sheets of Awesome Fabric Transfers, by Mike Perry

  1. Avatar
    Julie Kirk April 7, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    Hi Jen, I used those on a t-shirt project which I blogged here:

    I totally *love* the designs, and your projects are great too but am just wondering … have you put yours through the washing machine yet? I did …and they’ve almost vanished!

    I’m currently experimenting with using the designs on patches of fabric which I can then seal in some way using gel medium or similar. Then, rather than wear them on T-shirts etc I think I’ll use them on bags, brooches …things that don’t need so much washing! I’ll let you know if I have any success.

    Julie 🙂

  2. Avatar
    Anonymous April 8, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    FYI- for using any transfer or ink based project on clothing (or fabric with layers), always place a layer of cardboard, matteboard or other material between they layers of the material to keep “bleeding” or ink transfer to a minimum.

  3. Avatar
    Donna April 8, 2010 at 11:10 pm #

    You can also use a pressing sheet or even parchment paper between layers.

  4. Avatar
    Notebook April 10, 2010 at 5:17 am #

    ooo I have that, I haven’t tried it yet though. I wasn’t sure about what combinations of transfers to use.

  5. Avatar
    cre8ivecrafter April 10, 2010 at 10:03 pm #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Avatar
    cre8ivecrafter April 10, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    I always iron the waxy side of a sheet of freezer paper to backside of whatever layer is taking the transfer (or paint if I am stenciling). It takes seconds with a quick touch of the iron – and stabilizes the fabric to take a clean image. It also prevents any bleed through effects. When the shirt is done, the freezer paper easily peels right off.