Aunt Martha’s Hot Iron Transfers

Reported by Susan Reidy

Last summer, my family and I visited a quaint little town in Missouri. And as I like to do when traveling, I visited the local craft stores. In one such store, I found a quaint, old-fashioned craft that I just had to try — Aunt Martha’s Hot Iron Transfers by Colonial Patterns.

Along with my transfers, I picked up some flour sack towels. I already had the embroidery floss and hoop, so I was all set.
The transfers are printed on an 18-inch by 24-inch sheet of newsprint paper. Each pattern is printed with black transfer ink, and each packet contains several designs. Here’s the pattern I bought unfolded.

Colonial Patterns says there are more than 250 printed pattern packets, including angels, animals, birds, butterflies, cars, animated dishes, flowers, fruit, holidays, kitchen, monograms, nursery, religious, Southwest themes, vegetables and more.
I opted for some cute kittens and wine country motifs. The transfers can be used for many kinds of craft projects — embroidery, fabric painting, quilting, wearable art, needlepoint and just about anything else you can iron onto.

I started with the image above and a flour sack towel, also by Aunt Martha’s.

Per the directions written on the back of the packet, I first cut out the image I wanted to transfer onto my towel. I ironed the towel first because the directions say hot fabric stamps more quickly.

At first, I opted not to pin my image down. I was too lazy to find pins. Big mistake. As you can see from the transfer below, my paper slipped. No, you’re not drunk, you are seeing double.

So then I decided to find those pins, and pinned my image to my towel. I moved my iron back and forth slowly, for five seconds.

I lifted up a corner to check the image, and went over sections that hadn’t transferred completely. The whole transfer process took less than 15 seconds. On my second attempt, the image was very crisp and visible.

I used the image twice, and had good results each time. According to the directions, each image can be used several times.

Next, I busted out my embroidery hoop and some floss, and got to stitching. I had totally forgotten how fun and soothing stitching can be.

I’m very pleased with how this turned out, and can’t wait to make one for each day of the week.

I wanted to try something else with the transfers besides stitching. I still have some Roc-Lon Multi-Purpose Cloth left (read that review here), so I cut out some squares and painted them a neutral color. After the paint dried, I ironed on my images.

The image was just as crisp and clear on the Roc-Lon as it was on the flour sack towel. At first, I thought about painting, but I couldn’t find the right colors in my stash. Instead, I used my Koh-I-Noor pencils (read that review here) to color in my images.

After coloring, I outlined the images with the black pencil. I love the rustic, almost watercolor look of the final images. I attached three panels together with some jute, tied on some burlap strips for a quick banner for my dining room.

I had fun with this quaint, old-school craft, which also happens to be very affordable. The Hot Iron Transfers are available at major craft stores for less than $2 per packet. The flour sack towels are inexpensive as well; I found individual towels for about $1.50 each.

These images can be used for so much more than towels. I’m thinking of more possibilities — fabric painting, quilting or adding them to some cute, vintage aprons.

I love all the different images available, especially the vintage look, which is so popular right now.

  • Lots of images available to suit every taste, from cutesy to vintage.
  • Super affordable at less than $2 per packet.
  • Very versatile, can be used for many different projects.


  • Image can slip during transfer if you don’t secure it in some way.
  • That’s all I got!

Have you tried Aunt Martha’s Hot Iron Transfers? How do you like to use them?


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3 Responses to Aunt Martha’s Hot Iron Transfers

  1. Avatar
    Anonymous January 6, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    I have tried Aunt Marthas iron on transfers and really like them. They have definitely withstood modernism and are great to use for a multitude of projects.

    Hugs XX

  2. Avatar
    Erika Martin - Stampin' Mama January 6, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    I love Aunt Martha’s! I did my first one when I was about 16 or 17 years old, back in the early 90s. They were in all the little craft shops in southeast PA (where we lived at the time). I did a horse on my pillow case and then painted it.

    A friend of mine just gave my daughter a bunch of stuff from her stash and I got a smile on my face when I found some really old Aunt Martha’s patterns in there. 🙂

  3. Avatar
    Bonnie in SC January 7, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    Oh my gosh! My family and I have used Aunt Martha for many years. I even have some left to me by my grandmother. And they still transfer. I they are so versatile too. I’ve even transferred an image onto wood for a wood burning project.