Iron Transfer Pencils for Fabric Collage

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite supplies for textile art, hot iron transfer pencils. As someone who worked at both fabric and craft stores and never new of such a thing until stumbling upon it by accident, I thought there was chance this could be a revelation to someone else.

I love creating fabric collages. It eliminates that blank page paralysis and allows you to play with colors, textures and shapes to slowly build up the piece. One of the best ways I’ve found to create unique fabric collages is to include elements you’ve drawn yourself. I’ve explored new materials and techniques to accomplish this over the years, one of which is these iron transfer pencils.

To get started, you’ll need drawings to work with. A great exercise to build up a library of images is to make a list of shapes and things you’re drawn to and spend time doodling those things in lots of different ways. My list included things like the moon, stars, leaves, branches, city skylines, cats, giraffes, triangles and more. Once you have drawings you’d like to include in your textile work, trace them onto tracing paper. I use a micron pen or fine point sharpie for this step. Now you can trace the drawing with the iron transfer pencil. I generally trace the back side of the drawing so the iron transfer matches the drawing exactly, but you can choose to trace the front if you want to create a mirror image instead. It all depends on your composition.

Now that your image is prepared and traced, simply place the tracing paper onto your fabric where you want it to appear and iron over the tracing paper to transfer the marks. From here, you can use free motion sewing with a machine, hand embroidery like I’ve done below or even applique bits and pieces to fill the shape.

It’s also possible to transfer your image onto a separate piece of fabric, cut it out and applique the image onto your final piece, however there’s a different technique I prefer for that purpose. I’ll share that in another post so if this is new territory for you, stay tuned!

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