DIY iron-on typographic tote bag | How About Orange

August 21, 2012

DIY iron-on typographic tote bag

I enjoy an attractive script typeface now and then, so I've made a little printable featuring Wisdom Script. You can download the "Look on the Bright Side" graphic below and iron it onto T-shirts, pillows, or totes.

To make this tote bag, download the mirror-image design here. It's flipped so that the design will read correctly on the finished fabric.

Print the backwards PDF onto iron-on transfer paper. (I used HP Iron-on Transfers for light-colored fabrics.) Trim around the graphic leaving about 3/8" border around the lettering.

Place the design face down onto fabric and iron over it slowly using the cotton setting, no steam, for a minute or two. Let the design cool, peel off the backing, and you're all done.

Designs will be machine washable after 24 hours. When laundering, turn the fabric inside out and use cold water.

I know, I know! This type absolutely ought to be orange, but from experience I've learned that my inkjet printer has a grudge against orange. Very sad. Prints turn out muddy instead of vibrant, so I settled for red. To change the color, open the PDF in Adobe Illustrator, select the shapes, and choose a new color.

If you'd like to download the normal, un-flipped design, click here.

26 comments:

Katie Lewis said...

Cool! I totally love the design and the simplicity.

Suzanne said...

Thanks for such a fun project. I love the message and the font with which you share it.

Dorkys Ramos said...

How cute! Thanks so much for creating this for us!

Beth said...

I love your design! And such a fun project!!

Sharon said...

Awesome, I totally love it. I recently did an iron-on transfer to a shirt for the first time--and discovered a little too late that I should have cut off as much of the white around the graphic as I could--like you did. You're smart. And I now have the Monty Python song "always look on the bright side of life" in my head.

Del4yo said...

Awesome!
About printing orange...I illustrate books , working in the US, for a French publisher, printed in China. I learned the hard way how to make the printer work. Orange is difficult , you have to make sure there is absolutely no blue or black whatsoever in it, then take a close look at a printed sample of yellow, and add just the right amount of magenta. You also have to look at the color way in Photoshop AND your printer...and work in CMJK to avoid too much translation. I hope this will help, I find really too sad that your printer doesn't allow you orange!

Jessica Jones said...

It's super sad! I've tried lots of combinations of 0C, various M, 100Y, 0K, but it's always a bit muddy on my desktop inkjet. In my professional work, oranges in commercial offset printing have turned out fine, and of course spot Pantone colors are great. It's the personal projects printed at home that give me grief. The paper stock makes a difference somewhat, but a bright, clear orange is still an elusive dream. :)

claire said...

Thanks Jessica for the reverse design - I will put it on a t-shirt. Awesome blog, love all links to cool downloads.

Jill Plenty said...

Thank you so much for providing this in reverse image. I miss out on lots of projects I'd like to do because for the life of me I cant get either of my 2 printers to print in reverse/mirror image. Now I can do this project!!!

Kara @me_and_elna said...

I love this!!! Just pinned it so I remember about it at Christmas. :)

Live a Colorful Life said...

GREAT project. Thanks.

Emily Peck said...

This is such a great idea! I'm already thinking about christmas ideas and what I can do handmade. I might make everyone a bag and fill it with goodies! :)

able mabel said...

Lovely design, even if it is red.

Anne-Marie said...

What a fun project, I'm going to have to try it out! :)

Jules said...

Thanks!

Veronika Biskupova said...

Jess, I love the note you created... the meaning of it has such a double meaning... it inspires me to use it...thanks for sharing Veronika

Hena Tayeb said...

I love that.. so cool. Thanks

York Graphic Designers said...

Good use of typography and I love the font.

Trude said...

Love this!! I'm so addicted to Wisdom Script, I have to force myself to use other scripty fonts. :) I've been wanting to do my own tote bag, thanks for the inspiration!

Betty - Bammin' Designs said...

Thank you so much - I am going out tomorrow to buy some transfer paper to try this cool project.

Irina said...

Cool!!! will definitely try this one out! Thanks for the tip<3

www.socialbliss.com

Ben said...

looks great! - i'm curious though, because from the photo it looks like you've been able to print *just* the red letters; there doesn't appear to be any of the "transparent" bits of transfer showing, ie. at the edges or the bits between the letters - usually you can see where the "clear" transfer bits are on the garment, but on your pics there appears to be none - only plump, juicy red letters. is it just good photography? :) cheers!

Jessica Jones said...

I know exactly what you're referring to, Ben. On t-shirts I've made, that transparent film shows up more. But for some mysterious reason, maybe due to the off-white color and slightly rough texture of the canvas bag, those transparent film parts don't show up unless you hold the bag in just the right light at just the right angle. Then you can see a tiny bit of sheen where the film is. But I was really pleased how "invisible" it turned out. It looks like a screen print. Not sure why it worked so well!

Camila said...

Great and fun project, love the font!! I wish I had seen this earlier! I used to make fabric handbags when I was living in venezuela!!!... I'll post some pics of them for memory's sake... Thanks for all the sharings!

Elina said...

What do you suggest for the fabric of the bag? Your tote looks very soft, not like the rough canvas tote bags I see in craft stores. Was yours a blend of cotton, or 100%? Also, do you have any clue if the HP paper will work on an industrial Color copier at a Staples?

Jessica Jones said...

I don't have the bag anymore, so can't read the content on the label. You're right that it wasn't the thick, scratchy kind. I think I got it at a small non-chain craft store in the Chicago area. Maybe you can hunt online for blank tote bags? Or, try emailing The Needle Shop in Chicago because I think they used to sell some of this lightweight kind for screen printing. (info@theneedleshop.net)

As for the iron-on paper, some copy centers will print out a single sheet for you so you don't have to buy a whole box; they can tell you which one will work with their printers. Those are probably color laser printers, so look for laser-compatible paper instead of inkjet. The folks at the copy center can tell you which you'd need, though.

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