Problem: My iron on transfer won’t stick.

by Doug Berg | Last Updated: September 5, 2018

Top Question: My iron on transfer wont stick! What should I do?

When it comes to iron on transfers, there are 3 factors that we can control to make the adhesive stick to the shirt (or other item).

  1. Temperature
  2. Pressure
  3. Time

All transfers are different when it comes to the optimal amount those three factors. However, you also need to take into account what type of fabric you’re trying to adhere it to.  Generally, cotton can take the most heat and synthetic fibers can take less but it really depends on the blend.

Make sure your surface is properly prepared before application

Before attempting to iron on your transfer, make sure the surface you’re applying it to is clean. It should also be free of any major wrinkles. Lint or debris from the manufacturing process can interfere with the adhesive and make your applications peel. One easy trick is to run a lint roller over the surface to remove dust or other particles.

Not all fabrics are created equally

Be very careful with synthetic fabrics, you can always increase the pressure you apply but you can’t always increase the temperature. Be sure to check the manufacturer instructions with regards to how much heat it takes to get a good application of your transfer. If you’re not successful with the recommended time and heat, first try to increase the amount of pressure. Next try applying head for a longer duration, and finally, if you’re still not successful getting your iron on transfer to stick, try turning up the heat.

An good peel is key to a good transfer

Also remember to peel off the transfer paper carefully, with an even pressure and try to do it in one pull. Starting and stopping can cause the transfer paper to stick or peel the letters with it if you’re too slow.

What if my iron on transfer still doesn’t stick?

It’s certainly possible that you just got a bad batch of transfers. You can reach out to the manufacturer or you can look into some other methods of creating custom designs. I’ve compiled a list of different methods of creating custom tee shirts and I also have a review of 8 of the best Printful alternatives. If you’re not able to create your own, it might be easier to have the designs printed for you.

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.