How to Print White Text on Transfer Paper

by Doug Berg | Last Updated: September 13, 2018

How to print white text on transfer paper:

One of the most common questions I get is how to use transfer paper to print white text. Unfortunately the answer is more complicated than it seems. The reason is that most printers don’t print white ink. Generally printers have black, cyan, magenta and yellow (CMYK). Those colors can to create almost any color. Unfortunately no combination of those inks can make white.

So how does your printer accomplish the illusion of white text?

It fakes it. When you print on white paper then anywhere there is no ink will appear white. But, when printing on transparent transfer paper, no ink will be applied where the white should be. You’ll be left with a missing portion of your image.

Alright, then what can you do? 

There is a process you can use to get white letters with white transfer paper (not transparent). What you need to do is add a stroke to your text and then cut out the letters with a razor blade. You should print the text separately from the rest of the design and apply it last.

I’d only attempt this for straight, horizontal text. I’d never be able to individually place text on an arc and get good results. And if you could, it’d take you forever.

For just a few pieces this might be worth it. Cutting out and aligning your text is not going to be easy.

The Best Solution

The easiest solution is to modify your art or use another printing method. I have an article that covers all the common printing methods, here

I’m sorry I don’t have better options. Designing without text white can be very frustrating. Heat press transfer paper has its place. It’s best for full color designs like images or designs with a background.

Doug has been an entrepreneur for years, starting several businesses. Doug is a web developer, father of 2 great kids and husband to the best wife ever. I've been working on building my custom tee shirt business for 3 years.