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Transferring designs onto fabric with vellum paper

Transferring designs onto fabric with vellum paper | Hello! Hooray!

Transferring designs onto fabric with vellum paper is a great permanent method. It works with a heat transfer pen, so I’ll show you how!

This is one of the methods that I recommend in my book, Colourful Fun Embroidery, and I use it in many of the projects there. I prefer to use a permanent method for design transfer in bigger projects, because it means that I can take my time stitching without worrying that the design is going to disappear! Throughout my book I use a Sublime Stitching transfer pen, which are available in black, blue, green and red. They have a very fine tip, which is great for transferring the design with precision. More recently, I have discovered the Prym heat transfer pen, which has a slightly thicker tip but it a brilliant alternative (and it’s also slightly cheaper than the Sublime Stitching pens).

Modern vellum paper is plant based, so it’s perfect for vegan crafters!

The Sublime Stitching and Prym pens are all available to purchase from my haberdashery, along with the transfer paper – yay! It’s lovely quality 100gsm paper, and in each pack you receive an instruction sheet and 10 sheets of transfer paper. But in this blog post, I’ll talk you through it in a little more detail and show you exactly how it works in my little tutorial video on You Tube (see below).

Using the Prym heat transfer pen | Hello! Hooray!

Transferring designs onto fabric with vellum paper

The key things to remember are that you must transfer a design in reverse for it to work, and also that any mark on the vellum will be permanently transferred to the fabric. Really take your time drawing on the paper to avoid mistakes that can’t be covered by stitching, as the mistakes on the vellum will appear on the fabric.


Print out or copy your design in reverse. Tape it to a flat surface with some washi tape (or tape that can be easily peeled off), before placing a sheet of vellum paper on top. Stick the vellum down securely too. Carefully draw over the design, using a ruler for any straight lines to make them super neat. Really take your time with this bit to avoid unwanted errors.


Iron the fabric that you want to transfer the design on to. Place a plain, flat tea towel (by that I mean one without any lumpy bits in the fabric!) on your ironing board, with the fabric on top. Place the paper on top of the fabric, with the design the right way up. Then using a very cool iron with no steam, iron over the design until it has transferred. Use a heat setting somewhere between 1-2 dots (silk – wool) and no higher, or the paper will bubble and crack. Test it out on a corner or edge to check first – you’ll see this in my video tutorial at roughly 6:48. Try not to move the paper, or the design will be blurry. And please remember to keep your fingers out of the way at all times!


Lift an edge of the paper as you iron to check that the design is visible on the fabric. Ta-dah! When you’re happy with the transfer, you can remove the paper. You’re ready to start stitching. Remember to try to cover up the lines as you stitch, as they are permanent and will otherwise be visible on a finished piece. 

YouTube video: Transferring designs onto fabric with vellum paper

Here is the full tutorial video if you want to see in more detail how to use this transfer paper:


The paper has bubbled when I have ironed the design. What’s happening?

If this happens, it means that your iron is a little too hot! You may be able to save the design if you have just tested a corner, in which case simply let your iron cool down and try again. If it bubbles over the design, you will need to start again on a new sheet.

I have ironed over the design and it hasn’t transferred to the fabric. Why not?

If you have a design that looks similar the right way round and in reverse, it could just be that you are ironing on the side that you drew on! Turn it over and try again. Remember that you need to trace in reverse, and then iron on to the fabric the right way up.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments about this tutorial below!

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