Using Sulky Iron-On Transfer Pens
One of my favorite time saving tools when doing a project is Sulky Iron-On Transfer Pens. They are permanent-ink fabric pens and are perfect for transferring a shape that needs to be cut out of fabric. I recently used one when I was making this little sock monkey snack mat from Eazy Peazy Quilts. I needed the pens to transfer the pattern of the monkey ears to my fabric.
First I picked an ink color that I knew would show up on the back of my fabric but not show through. I chose green.
Next I traced over the ear on the original pattern.
Once I trace the pattern, I was ready to prepare my fabric for the transfer. I start by warming up the wrong side of the fabric with the iron. If the fabric is warm, it will take the ink better from the transfer.
Then I turned the pattern that I had traced over, so the pattern side of the paper is laying on the wrong side of the fabric, and I pressed the paper. I didn’t move the iron around, just pressed. If you move the iron, you will likely move the paper underneath which will cause a blurred line to transfer.
When I lifted the iron up, I was able to see the transfer ink was darker through the paper which was a good clue that the transfer was successful, but I did hold the pattern in place and just lift up a corner to be sure the transfer was complete.
Look! Here is my first monkey ear!
I then simply moved the pattern over and repeated the pressing process for the second ear. I can get numerous transfers from one tracing.
After my monkey ears were transferred, I cut on the line and followed the pattern directions to add them to my monkey snack mat. It made a cute little project quick and easy!
Have you tried Sulky Iron-On Transfer Pens yet? What do you think?
Betsy Alderman Lewis
Would it be possible to use these transfer pens, say in red, to transfer the pattern to the right side of the pattern for transferring a redwork pattern to fabric? Do you think the line is thin enough to be covered by a 12 wt. thread? Thanks!
Betsy, You can use the Sulky Iron-on Transfer pens for redwork patterns! The tip of the pen is designed so you can do a thinner line if you hold the pen straight up and down to write or a thicker line if you hold it at an angle. I hope that helps!
Betsy Alderman Lewis
Thank you so much. I look forward to trying it.
I see where that would be great if you were making doll faces. You could trace the face, then iron it on several times, making many faces that are the same. So many times the face turns out with a weird expression because the line was a tad longer on one side, etc.
Janet, great idea!
Kelly – how many times can you use one transfer, would you say?
You can use it 3 or 4 times in my experience. You might could do more on a very light fabric.
Do I trace the pattern with the pen then iron on the fabric?
Yes! And you can even make more than one transfer with each tracing.
Would the yellow or red pen transfer well to dark fabric?
You can certainly try them on dark fabric, but in my experience none of the pens work great on black. When I am using black fabric, I usually transfer the design with a chalk pencil or with Sulky Stick ‘n Stitch.
Can I use a heat press instead of an iron?
Yes! That would work just as well.
Is the transferred ink permanent or will it eventually wash out?
The ink is permanent!