How To Transfer Designs Onto Felt

What Works and What Does Not

Need to know how to transfer designs onto felt? Well, since felt is opaque, it can be a little hard to transfer designs onto it because you can't use the traditional methods of tracing on the window or using a light box. So to help you learn how to transfer designs onto felt, we created this guide.

This guide will explain 3 easy transfer methods that will work well on felt and a couple of common transfer methods that don't work at all on felt. Some of these methods will need specific sewing notions made just for that method, while others use common household items that you probably already own. So we hope you will find this sewing tutorial helpful and that you can find a method that works for you!

How To Transfer Designs Onto Felt

transfer designs onto felt

3 Methods That Work On Felt

1. Stitching Through Paper

This method can be done with a variety of paper types. The paper needs to be transparent and easily torn such as tissue paper or wax paper. Tear-away stabilizer is also an option, and it would work very much like the wax paper and tissue shown below. Using this method does not require a reverse/mirror image of your pattern. And when you are done, there will be no transfer ink marks on the felt.

How To Do This Method: Place your chosen paper over your pattern. If it is wax paper or tissue, you can usually see right through it. If it is something more opaque, you will need a light box or window. Then trace your pattern onto the paper with an appropriate pen (see photos below for suggestions). Once your pattern has been traced onto your paper of choice, place your paper onto your felt and pin or baste it down to keep it in place. Then simply begin to stitch along your lines through the paper and felt. When you are finished, gently tear the paper away from your stitches. You may need to use tweezers to get some of it out.

Tissue Paper:

transfer designs onto felt

Wax Paper:

transfer designs onto felt

Tear-Away Stabilizer:

While we did not show an example of the Tear-away stabilizer, it works much the same way as the tissue and the wax paper shown above. The only difference is that it is more expensive and seems to be a little harder to tear away. But some stabilizers come with options that tissue and wax paper cannot offer like the following stabilizer products:

transfer designs onto felt

So if you like the self-adhesive paper or water soluble paper features, then these stabilizers might be worth the extra cost.

2. Iron-On Transfer Pen

transfer designs onto felt

We found that the Sulky Iron-On Transfer Pen worked very well on felt. The only caution is that you need to lightly press on the pen or you will get a thick line that might not get completely covered with your embroidery floss. You will also need different colored pens for light and dark felt. And for this method you will need a reverse/mirror image of your pattern.

How To Do This Method: While the pen will come with instructions, the basic idea is that you print out your pattern (the mirror image) on regular printer paper, trace over the image right on the ink on the paper, flip this down on your felt, and iron it on. The image is then clearly on your felt for you to stitch over. Below we show you how this method looks.

transfer designs onto felt

3. Iron-On Transfer Paper For Inkjet Printers

transfer designs onto felt

This method is quite different from the first two. It is not great for transferring a pattern of lines (embroidery pattern) like the first two methods shown above, but rather for transferring a colored picture or image onto the felt. It works by transferring a film of plastic onto the felt that will leave the surface of the felt feeling plastic-like. So while you wouldn’t want to use it for a basic embroidery design, it does allow you to transfer fun pictures and images onto your felt! So this would be great even for kids to use and make ornaments or other creations!

transfer designs onto felt transfer designs onto felt transfer designs onto felt

How To Do This Method:

The transfer paper you buy will come with instructions, but the way it works is that you print out your image (the mirror image) on your inkjet printer, onto this special paper. Then cut out your image leaving at least a ¼" to 3/8" border (photo A).

Next, place it face down onto your felt (white or light colored felt is recommended) and iron it on according to the package instructions. Then you quickly and carefully remove the paper, leaving the printed image on your felt (photo B).

Your transfer design can now be embellished with embroidery stitches, beads and/or sequins (photo C).

What Does Not Work On Felt

transfer designs onto felt

Iron-On Transfer Pencil

This method did not work so great on felt. Transfer pencils work best on cotton fabric. When we attempted to use it on felt, we got no visible line transferred onto the felt no matter how hard we pressed or how dark of a line we drew. So we do not recommend this for felt projects.

transfer designs onto felt

Carbon Paper

Embroidery or dressmaker's tracing paper is a type of carbon paper and it too, does not work on felt from our experience. This method of transferring also works best on cotton fabric. So again, we don't recommend this for felt projects.

For more helpful hints on how to embroidery stitch or how to sew by hand, click the link below.

Return to Helpful Hints from How To Transfer Designs Onto Felt

What is your favorite way to transfer designs onto felt?

kimberly Says:

this is AMAZING i like this website alot!!!! :)

indira Says:

This was amazing, really it was something new for me about which I was unaware. Thank you so much.

lentina Says:

I am new to felt crafting and this is VERY helpful so thank you for sharing!

grace Says:

very nice work

How To Transfer Designs Onto Felt