Embroidery Design Transfer: 7 Methods for Accuracy
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Carbon Paper Transfer Method
  2. Water Soluble Stabilizer Transfer Method
  3. Heat Transfer Pencil Method
  4. Self-Adhesive Stabilizer Transfer Method
  5. Dressmaker's Carbon Paper Transfer Method
  6. Iron-On Transfer Pencil Method
  7. Freezer Paper Transfer Method

Embarking on a new embroidery project is always an exciting adventure. But, when it comes to the part where you need to transfer design to fabric, things can sometimes get a bit tricky. But don't worry! In this blog, you'll discover seven accurate methods to transfer your favorite embroidery designs onto fabric. So, whether you're a seasoned stitcher or just starting out, these tips will help you enjoy the art of embroidery with even greater precision and satisfaction.

Carbon Paper Transfer Method

Let's start with the Carbon Paper Transfer Method. It's a traditional and reliable way to get your design onto fabric. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Choose your design: Start with a design you want to embroider. It could be a pattern you've drawn yourself or one you've found in an embroidery book.
  2. Get carbon paper: You'll need carbon paper for this method. This is not the same as the carbon paper you might find in an office supply store. Instead, look for embroidery-specific carbon paper, usually found in craft stores.
  3. Prepare your fabric: Place the carbon paper on your fabric, ensuring the carbon side is facing down.
  4. Trace the design: Position your design on top of the carbon paper. Using a stylus or a ballpoint pen, trace over the design. This will transfer the design onto your fabric.
  5. Embroider your design: Once the design is on the fabric, you're ready to start embroidering.

Remember, patience is key when tracing the design. The more care you take, the more accurate your design transfer will be. And before you know it, you'll be stitching away with ease, creating beautiful embroidery art that you can be proud of.

The Carbon Paper Transfer method is a great way to transfer design to fabric, especially for intricate designs. Its simplicity and reliability have made it a favorite among embroidery enthusiasts all over the world.

Water Soluble Stabilizer Transfer Method

Next on our list is the Water Soluble Stabilizer Transfer Method. This is a fantastic method if you want to transfer design to fabric without leaving any trace of the transfer material. Curious? Let's see how it works:

  1. Choose your design: As always, start with the design you want to embroider.
  2. Print or draw the design: If you have a printer, you can print the design directly onto a sheet of water soluble stabilizer. If not, don't worry. You can just as easily draw the design onto the stabilizer using a permanent marker.
  3. Attach the stabilizer to your fabric: Once your design is ready, place the stabilizer on top of your fabric and secure it in place. You can use pins or a temporary adhesive spray to do this.
  4. Embroider your design: Now, you can start embroidering directly over the design on the stabilizer.
  5. Dissolve the stabilizer: After you finish embroidering, simply rinse the fabric in warm water. The stabilizer will dissolve, leaving only your beautiful embroidery behind.

Impressive, right? Whether you're working with delicate fabrics or intricate designs, this method ensures clean, precise results. Plus, it's always satisfying to watch the stabilizer dissolve, revealing your finished embroidery like magic.

Remember, the Water Soluble Stabilizer Transfer Method is a brilliant way to transfer design to fabric. It's user-friendly, mess-free, and perfect for both beginners and experienced embroiderers. So, give it a try on your next project!

Heat Transfer Pencil Method

Let's move on to another classic method to transfer design to fabric: the Heat Transfer Pencil Method. This is a popular choice for its simplicity and precision. Want to know how it works? Let's break it down:

  1. Prep your design: Start with your chosen design. Remember, with this method, your design will be reversed on the fabric. If your design isn’t symmetrical, you'll need to reverse it before you start.
  2. Trace your design: Use a heat transfer pencil to trace over your design. These special pencils contain a type of ink that transfers to fabric when heated.
  3. Transfer your design: Place your traced design face down onto your fabric and iron over it. The heat from the iron makes the ink from the pencil transfer to the fabric. Be sure to follow the pencil manufacturer's instructions for best results.
  4. Embroider your design: Once the design is on your fabric, you’re ready to start embroidering. It's as simple as that!

Isn't that neat? The Heat Transfer Pencil Method is an easy, straightforward way to transfer design to fabric. And the best part? You don't need any fancy tools or materials—just a heat transfer pencil and an iron. So, why not give it a go on your next embroidery project?

Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you use this method, the better you'll become at transferring your designs accurately. Keep experimenting, and soon you'll be a pro at this method.

Self-Adhesive Stabilizer Transfer Method

Let's shift gears and talk about a different method to transfer design to fabric. Have you ever heard of the Self-Adhesive Stabilizer Transfer Method? It's a little bit more advanced, but don't worry. I'm here to guide you through it:

  1. Get your materials: For this method, you'll need a self-adhesive stabilizer. Think of it as a sticker that can be ironed onto your fabric. You'll also need a fabric marking pen.
  2. Trace your design: Using your fabric marking pen, trace your design onto the self-adhesive stabilizer.
  3. Stick and stitch: Now, peel off the backing of the stabilizer and stick it onto your fabric. It's just like putting a sticker on! Once it's secure, you can start stitching your design.
  4. Remove the stabilizer: After you've finished stitching, all you have to do is remove the stabilizer. It's that easy!

The Self-Adhesive Stabilizer Transfer Method might sound a bit high-tech, but it's actually pretty simple once you get the hang of it. Plus, it's a fantastic way to ensure your design stays put while you're embroidering. So, why not try it out? You might just find it's your new favorite method to transfer design to fabric.

One thing to keep in mind is that every fabric and stabilizer is different, so you might need to do some experimenting to find the perfect combination. But don't fret—remember, every great embroiderer was once a beginner too. Keep practicing, and you'll soon be transferring your designs like a pro.

Dressmaker's Carbon Paper Transfer Method

Okay, let's move on to another exciting method that can help you transfer design to fabric. This time, we're going to talk about the Dressmaker's Carbon Paper Transfer Method. Don't worry if you've never heard of it before—I'm going to break it down for you:

  1. Pick up your tools: For this method, you'll need dressmaker's carbon paper and a tracing wheel. The carbon paper is different from the one we use for writing—it's made specifically for fabric use.
  2. Prepare the transfer: Place the carbon paper on your fabric, carbon-side down. Then, place your design on top of the carbon paper.
  3. Trace the design: Using the tracing wheel, go over your design. The pressure will transfer the carbon to your fabric, leaving behind a clear impression of your design.
  4. Start embroidering: Now that your design is transferred, you can start the fun part—embroidering!

The Dressmaker's Carbon Paper Transfer Method is a classic choice, especially for more complex designs. It's a bit old school, but sometimes, the traditional ways are the best, right? Plus, the carbon paper is reusable, so you can use it for multiple projects.

It's important to remember that the carbon may leave a mark on lighter fabrics, so always test a small piece first. And remember, it's all part of the learning process. Each method you try helps you understand more about how to transfer design to fabric, and that's what makes you a better embroiderer. So, why not give the Dressmaker's Carbon Paper Transfer Method a try?

Iron-On Transfer Pencil Method

Ready for another effective way to transfer design to fabric? Let's dive into the Iron-On Transfer Pencil Method. This method is pretty handy and popular among many fabric artists. Here's how it works:

  1. Get your tools: For this method, you'll need an iron-on transfer pencil. These pencils are available in different colors, so you can choose one that stands out on your fabric.
  2. Draw your design: First, trace or draw your design onto tracing paper with the iron-on transfer pencil. Remember, the design will be mirrored once transferred, so make sure to draw it in reverse, especially if it includes text.
  3. Heat it up: Now, place your drawing pencil-side down onto the fabric. Use a hot iron to press over the back of the paper. The heat from the iron will transfer the design onto your fabric.
  4. Start stitching: Once your design is transferred, you can begin your embroidery.

The Iron-On Transfer Pencil Method is a favorite for its simplicity and effectiveness. It's a great option if you're working with darker fabrics where other methods might not show up as well.

Just a heads-up, though: the lines from the iron-on transfer pencil might be permanent. So, make sure your stitches cover them up. And if you're a bit uncertain about the outcome, you can always try it first on a scrap piece of fabric. After all, practice makes perfect, right?

So, are you ready to try out the Iron-On Transfer Pencil Method and take your fabric design transfer skills up a notch?

Freezer Paper Transfer Method

Now, say hello to a method that's quite different from the others: the Freezer Paper Transfer Method. This one has a bit of a DIY feel to it, but don't let that scare you off. It's a reliable way to transfer design to fabric, particularly for embroidery and quilting projects. So, how does it work? Let's find out:

  1. Grab your materials: You'll need some freezer paper, which you can find at most grocery stores, and a printer. Yes, you read that right, a regular old printer.
  2. Prep your design: First, you'll need to get your design ready. You can draw it or use a digital image. Just keep in mind that the image will be mirrored once transferred.
  3. Print it: Now, cut a piece of freezer paper to the size of a regular sheet of printer paper. Make sure to feed it into your printer so that the design will print onto the paper side, not the shiny side. Then print your design!
  4. Iron it on: Next, place your printed freezer paper shiny side down on your fabric. Iron it (without steam) until the design transfers. The heat will cause the freezer paper to temporarily adhere to the fabric, transferring your design.
  5. Get stitching: Once your design is on the fabric, you can start your embroidery or quilting.

The Freezer Paper Transfer Method is a fantastic option if you want a precise design transfer, or if you're working with a complex design. And the best part? The lines aren't permanent, so you won't need to worry about them showing through your stitches.

Feeling crafty yet? With the Freezer Paper Transfer Method, you're not just transferring a design to fabric — you're making magic happen. Ready to give it a whirl?

If you enjoyed learning about embroidery design transfer and want to explore more methods for transforming your handmade illustrations, check out Jola Pictures' workshop, 'Digitising Handmade Illustrations.' This workshop will provide you with valuable techniques and tips to accurately digitize your artwork and elevate your embroidery projects.