Photo Transfer Tips


Finding a printer and paper that will give you the best results.

Some copy machines are more effective than others with image transfers. Here are some of the models our Artists have had success with, and recommend. If you've got one that's worked for you, please be sure to share it with us!

Black & White:
HP 425ON
HP P2015d

HP CP3505N
CM1321 nfi MFP
HP CP1025nw

Powder- Toner (not solid ink) Laser Printers that work:

Lexmark color laser printer (C540).


Mary Bailey Thomas also passed on a recommendation for the name of a printer that she highly recommends. They don't have minimums, you can send in your hi-res jpeg or pdf images via email and they will ship them to you. (Located in the Winston Salem, NC area).
Contact person: Craig Phillips : cphillips@nuexpression.com .
Website: http://www.nuexpression.com/

Good news! The printers that seem to work best are the inexpensive, black and white only, toner based types.

If you are going to buy a printer, be sure to test a few (with different paper types) before investing. Get a copy center (i.e. Kinkos or Staples), to photocopy an image.  Use a sheet with image and text. Request one copy using the normal settings and one copy using the best settings/ photo quality settings.  Then transfer the images to paper or fabric. Take notes about which copiers and settings are best.  

Use a toner-based machine (laser as opposed to an inkjet; the powder in toner works better than the ink) Start by setting your printer to a “normal” print setting, not high quality. The “normal” setting doesn’t set the ink as well as the higher setting.

If you decide to have copies made elsewhere, don’t discount the local independent store. These stores often have older machines which seem to work better (it’s also good to support local merchants).

If you use a “big box” store like Staples or a Kinkos to make your copies, check to see if they have more than one copier. We suggest getting copies from each one to compare. Also, you can ask them to give you different qualities to test, too.


Paper makes a difference! Try somewhere between 80 and 100 lb. If the paper is too thick, you’ll have to work harder to get the toner to release, if the paper is too thin, it’ll tear.

An alternative is to use glossy clay coated paper (the kind used in high end magazines - National Geographic, etc.)

Don’t wait too long when doing your photo transfers. More toner is released at the beginning, so the fresher the copy, the more success you’ll have.

*remember to label each copier/setting/paper sample!*

(Many thanks to Wendy Huhn and Mary Taylor, who contributed their time and artistic efforts for these instructions.)