• Last updatedLast updated: Oct 22, 2020

7 Best Heat Transfer Paper Sets for Your Perfect Customized Creations

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Adding iron-on designs to shirts, bags, hats, and other items allows you to create your own unique pieces for gifts, sale items, or just for yourself. Of course, every brand claims to have the best heat transfer paper for the job, though not all of them can achieve the quality you’re looking for. Luckily, we’re here to help. We’ve done the necessary research and found the best 7 heat transfer paper options for use with a heat press for you to choose from.

When making our selections, we focused on a few specific features to ensure you’re getting the highest quality products. We made sure that the fabric would still be flexible, with bright colors, clear designs, and no cracking or fading. We also chose options for both light and dark fabrics, so you can use the right one for the pieces you’re using. We even included a pack of transfer paper that can be used on non-fabric materials, like ceramic, plastic, and many more, so you can widen your project options as you see fit. If you’re interested in the best heat transfer paper to use with your heat press machine, read on.
Editor’s Choice

A pack of heat transfer paper that can be used for both light and dark fabrics

  • 25 sheets for light fabric
  • 25 sheets for dark fabric
  • 5 parchment sheets
Read Our Review
9.9
CraftyScoreTM
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Premium Choice

The most versatile heat transfer paper the market has to offer

  • Suitable for fabrics, ceramics, plastic, etc.
  • 100 sheets included
  • Sublimation ink needed
Read Our Review
9.7
CraftyScoreTM
?
CraftyScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Best Hot/Сold Peel Papers

Paper for light fabrics that can create smooth or matte finish

  • 20 sheets included
  • Crack-free images
  • Work with all inkjet printers
Read Our Review
9.6
CraftyScoreTM
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CraftyScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.

Easy-to-use papers for light fabrics

  • 25-30 seconds transfer time
  • 20 sheets included
  • Suitable for inkjet printers
Read Our Review
9.5
CraftyScoreTM
?
CraftyScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Best Light Fabric Papers

High-quality paper proudly made in the USA

  • Designed for light fabrics
  • Flexible and bright-colored design
  • 8.5 x 11 inches sheets
Read Our Review
9.4
CraftyScoreTM
?
CraftyScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Best Beginner Transfer Papers

20 sheets of easy-to-peel dark fabric transfers

  • Fade-resistant coating
  • Clear edges
  • Best for 100% cotton fabrics
Read Our Review
9.3
CraftyScoreTM
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CraftyScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Best Value

A great option for dark-colored T-shirts, bags, and more

  • Vibrant colors even after 20 or more washes
  • 5 sheets included
  • Great price
Read Our Review
9.2
CraftyScoreTM
?
CraftyScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.

Top 7 Heat Transfer Paper Sets Review 2020

Features
  • Best for: light and dark fabrics
  • Sheet size: 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Sheets included: 25 for light fabric; 25 for dark fabric; 5 parchment sheets

More features: made in the USA

If you don’t want to be limited to one shade of fabric, the NuFun Activities Inkjet Heat Transfer Paper is a great option to try out. This pack includes 25 sheets of light fabric transfer paper and 25 sheets of dark fabric transfer paper. This allows you to create whatever designs you like on fabrics and materials that are white, black, and every color in between, so there is no limit on what you can make.

Of course, there are different instructions on how to properly use the light and dark transfer paper, which is why there are two sets of instructions included in the package. Be sure to use the right one to avoid wasting paper and having to start your project over again.

No matter which sheets you’re using, the transfers you create will be high quality. They are also quite durable, so they won’t fade when washing them, and your designs will look fantastic for quite a while.

You can use any design you like, creating them on your home computer. You can also go to the Nufun Activities website and use any of their free printables for seasonal or holiday designs. When you’ve chosen your design, you print it out using an inkjet printer, and it’s ready to apply to your chosen item.

The transfers are easy to use and can be applied to cotton, poly blends, burlap, canvas, and many more different types of fabric. They are also decently priced, so you won’t break your budget on your projects.

Pros
  • High quality
  • Vibrant colors
  • Inkjet printable
  • Multiple fabric options
Cons
  • Two sets of instructions
Features
  • Best for: light fabrics, ceramics, plastic, and more
  • Sheet size: 13 x 19 inches
  • Sheets included: 100

More features: work with most inkjet printers

The Koala Sublimation Heat Transfer Paper isn’t just the best heat transfer paper for t-shirt printing. You can use it for a variety of other projects as well, like mugs, plates, puzzles, tiles, pillowcases, phone cases, and so much more.

It works on all types of fabrics containing at least 70% polyester or those that are coated in a polyester substrate. This also means it doesn’t work with materials that are higher than 30% cotton, but you still have a wide variety of projects to work on with this paper.

This pack contains 100 sheets of transfer paper, which are smooth and flat for easy printing. It works with many different inkjet printers, like Epson, Canon, HP, and Sawgrass, though you can’t use regular ink with this paper. You need to use sublimation ink to create your designs. This ink dries quickly on the sheet, so you can do your transfers in no time, which is a must when you’re working on multiple pieces.

These sheets are simple to use, even for beginners. The instructions are easy to follow, requiring you to mirror the image, print it out, and then apply it using your heat press machine. The high transfer rate means bright colors and clean lines, creating the perfect reproduction of your design every time.

You can use these sheets on white or light-colored fabrics, making gifts for birthdays, Christmas, and any other holiday for everyone on your list.

Pros
  • Large size
  • 100 sheets in the pack
  • Works on a variety of materials
  • Great quality
Cons
  • Can’t be used with regular ink
3.

Caregy Heat Fabric Transfer PaperBest Hot/Сold Peel Papers

Features
  • Best for: light fabrics
  • Sheet size: 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Sheets included: 20

More features: leaves the fabric soft, flexible, and crack-free

If you’re looking for the best heat transfer paper for t-shirts, you can’t go wrong with the Caregy Heat Fabric Transfer Paper. This paper includes a unique formula that helps it bond better with fabric. The result is a transfer that is softer than some other brands, plus it is flexible and stretchable, so it won’t crack if the fabric is folded. This keeps your transfer looking as good as the day you applied it for as long as possible.

This heat transfer paper comes in a pack of 20 sheets. It works well on white or light-colored t-shirts, plus you can use it for aprons, pillowcases, bags, and many more items for a wide variety of project options.

The heat transfer sheets are easy to use and are compatible with any inkjet printer, so you don’t need to buy a special machine to create your chosen designs. All you need to do is choose the text or picture you want, reverse the image, and then print it out. Then you’re ready to apply it using your heat press machine or your iron. It includes a paper liner as well to protect the transfer as you apply it to your chosen garment.

Another handy feature is the cold or hot peel option. After the transfer has been ironed on, you can peel off the backing while it’s still hot to create a matte finish or you can wait until it cools for a smooth design, so you can choose the one you like best.

Pros
  • Machine washable
  • Soft and stretchable results
  • Reusable paper liner included
  • Cold or hot peel options
Cons
  • Not for dark fabrics
Features
  • Best for: light fabrics
  • Sheet size: 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Sheets included: 20

More features: transfers images in 25-30 seconds at 347-365℉

The A-SUB Iron-On Light T-Shirt Heat Transfer Paper is recommended for use on cotton fabrics, so it isn’t as versatile as some other heat transfer papers out there. Of course, this doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying out. This inkjet heat transfer paper works well, is easy to use, and creates great designs for your cotton t-shirts, sweatshirts, aprons, pillowcases, bags, and much more.

These transfer papers are easy to use, with simple instructions that even first-time users can follow. It even includes the settings for a heat press, which requires a temperature of 347-365 degrees Fahrenheit and a time of 25-30 seconds, so you can adhere it to your chosen garment in very little time. You can also use it with your home iron if you don’t have a heat press on hand. When done correctly, the finished product won’t peel or crack, even after several washes.

You can use these sheets on white or light-colored fabrics, creating your favorite designs to customize these pieces as you see fit. They are compatible with any inkjet printer that uses regular ink, though pigment ink creates the most vibrant colors and the cleanest lines.

There are 20 sheets in the pack, which is quite reasonably priced, making them a great option for those on a budget but still want quality designs. The sheets are sized 8.5 x 11 inches and can be trimmed down as needed after printing.

Pros
  • Great low price
  • Simple instructions
  • Vivid colors
  • Good quality
Cons
  • Only recommended for cotton fabric
Features
  • Best for: light fabrics
  • Sheet size: 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Sheets included: 20

More features: compatible with all inkjet printers

The PPD Inkjet Iron-On White and Light Colored T-Shirt Transfer Papers have a decent price for a pack of 20 sheets, making it a great option for those on a budget. This paper is also decent quality, so your designs look great, with bright colors and cool details.

These sheets are designed for use with white or light fabrics, so don’t try it on black pieces, or you’ll be disappointed. You can print your favorite designs or text using any standard inkjet printer, so you don’t need a special one to create a fantastic design. You can also trim the design with scissors or use a die cutting machine to make this process easier.

You can apply these heat transfers to a variety of fabrics, including cotton, silk, viscose, linen, and any other material that can handle the high heat. This means you can make t-shirts, bags, aprons, and many more items with your chosen design. You do need to use a lot of pressure as well for them to stick properly. For that reason, these may be the best heat transfer papers for a heat press, to save your arms when doing multiple pieces at a time.

These transfer sheets are durable, stretchable, flexible, and crack-free, so you won’t be tossing your pieces after only a few wears. They are also machine washable, so you don’t need to worry about them fading too quickly.

Pros
  • Decent price
  • Soft and flexible results
  • Machine washable
  • Heat press compatible
Cons
  • Needs lots of pressure to iron on properly
6.

Printworks Dark T-Shirt TransfersBest Beginner Transfer Papers

Features
  • Best for: dark fabrics
  • Sheet size: 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Sheets included: 20

More features: recommended for 100% cotton/poly-cotton blend fabrics

Though the colors may not be as vibrant as you’d see with some other brands, there are several reasons why the Printworks Dark T-Shirt Transfers are still a great option. They have a decent price that is comparable to the high-end brands, plus they are easy to use, with simple instructions that even iron-on beginners can follow for excellent results.

Though it states on the package that this heat transfer paper for inkjet printers is meant for dark fabrics, it actually works great on lighter colors as well, so you can use it for all your projects. It is recommended for cotton or poly-cotton blends, so you can add your favorite designs to t-shirts, bags, hats, or pillowcases made of these types of materials.

It takes as little as 10 minutes to create your designs, print them out, and iron them onto your chosen garment, so you can do several projects in only a few hours if needed or be done with one in no time. There are 20 sheets in the package, so you can do several pieces at once or make only one or two and save the rest of the package for future projects.

Another great feature is the fade-resistant coating, which keeps the colors bright, even after you wash it. For the best results, you should wash the item inside out on the gentle cycle and hang it or lay it flat to dry as soon as the wash cycle is finished.

Pros
  • Fade-resistant coating
  • Easy to use
  • Versatile
  • Clear edges
Cons
  • Not the most vibrant colors
Features
  • Best for: dark fabrics
  • Sheet size: 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Sheets included: 5

More features: compatible with most printers; fade-resistant

Though these are a bit pricier than some other products on the market, the Avery 3279 Printable Heat Fabric Transfer Paper may still be the best heat transfer paper for dark shirts, bags, and other projects. There are five sheets in the pack, which is enough to get you started with your transfer printing.

This transfer printer paper is easy to use with any inkjet printer. You can create your own design if you have something in mind or go to Avery.com and choose one of their templates. You can even customize their free template options if you like to create the perfect image or text message.

Once you’ve chosen your design, print it out using your inkjet printer. This paper is also compatible with most electronic die cutting machines as well for added convenience. This transfer paper is designed for dark fabrics, so there is no need to mirror the image, making it much easier to print your design.

You can use these heat transfer papers with a variety of pieces, including t-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, and pillows. The graphics are high-quality, with sharp lines and bright colors, no matter what color the fabric you’re working with is. They are fade-resistant, too, so they should last for 20 washes or more when done properly.

The only downside to these heat transfer papers is that the backing is a bit tricky to remove. It isn’t impossible, though having someone with long fingernails around makes this process much easier.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Fade-resistant
  • Customizable templates
  • Quality graphics
Cons
  • Hard to peel backing off
  • A bit pricey

Buying Guide

Heat transfer paper allows you to add cool designs to your favorite pieces, including t-shirts, bags, aprons, hats, and even ceramic or plastic items. The finished projects make great gifts for birthdays, Easter, Mother’s Day, or even just to show you care. Of course, you need the right heat transfer paper for the job. There is paper for specific materials, ink types, and colors of fabric, so you need the best one for the project that you have in mind. If you’re unsure which one to choose, the following sections will help you figure this out.

What is Heat Transfer Paper?

Heat transfer paper is a special type of paper. It is thin, with a coating of wax and pigment. This paper is used in a variety of crafts and art projects, allowing you to print out images and text using your home computer and a regular printer. You can then transfer these images onto fabric items, including t-shirts, aprons, hats, tote bags, and pillowcases. These types of sheets can also be used on several types of material, like cotton, burlap, polyester, canvas, plastic, and ceramic.

When printing out the design you’ve chosen, the film on the sheet creates a permanent image. Then, when you press it onto the fabric using a heat press or iron, the polymer film bonds with the fabric’s fiber, basically melting into it for a lasting image.

When choosing your heat transfer paper, be sure to pick a high-quality pack. These will create clean, bold lines and vibrant colors, which gives your finished pieces a more professional look. The prints won’t crack, bleed, or fade as easily, even after washing, so your prints last longer. This means your gifts will be well received. If you’re selling your pieces, higher quality items will keep your customers happy and coming back for more of your merchandise.

Features to consider when choosing heat transfer paper

There are a few different types of heat transfer papers on the market, and choosing the wrong one can ruin the paper and the garment you’re trying to apply it to. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right one for the job you have in mind. Check out the sections below to help you make this decision.

What materials it’s recommended for

7 Best Heat Transfer Paper Sets for Your Perfect Customized CreationsWhen choosing the materials that you want to use with the heat transfer paper, there are two things to consider. These include the type and the color of the material you’re transferring your image onto.

In terms of material type, you want to check what’s recommended for the specific brand of paper you’re considering. Some transfer paper can be used with a wide variety of materials, like the NuFun Activities Inkjet Heat Transfer Paper, which can be used with cotton, poly/cotton blends, canvas, burlap, and a variety of other materials.

Some heat transfer papers work better with polyester and coated polyester substrates, like the Koala Sublimation Heat Transfer Paper. This allows you to use these transfer papers to add designs and embellishments to mugs, plates, puzzles, phone cases, as well as bags and t-shirts. This broadens your design capabilities, though this type of paper doesn’t work well on fabrics that contain more than 30% cotton, so there are some limitations.

If you’re interested in using your transfer paper on a variety of different fabrics and materials, but one set doesn’t cover them all, keep a few different types of transfer paper on hand, so you always have the right sheets for the job.

When it comes to the color of the garment, there are different types of heat transfer paper for light and dark materials. Light garments include white, beige, tan, and gray, as well as some pastels. The light heat transfer paper that you use with these colors includes a transparent polymer coating, which will show up on the fabric where there are empty spaces around or in your design, no matter what color of fabric you’re using. This is why you need to trim the edges and even in the non-colored spaces in your designs, to keep them from altering the coloring of the image.

When it comes to dark fabrics, you need dark transfer paper, like the Avery 3279 Printable Heat Fabric Transfer Paper. This type of transfer paper has an opaque polymer coating, which keeps the coloring of the shirt from showing through any unprinted areas on your transfer sheet. This keeps your design exactly as you’ve created it, even when applied to your garment. Of course, you do need to trim away any edges or areas that don’t show color since these areas will show up as a white patch on the garment. For a cleaner look, get rid of these areas before applying the printed image to the garment.

Size of the sheets

7 Best Heat Transfer Paper Sets for Your Perfect Customized CreationsThe size of the sheet is another important feature to consider. This is because the sheet size determines how large of a design you can create and print onto the heat transfer paper. The smaller the paper is, the smaller the design needs to be. If you’re adding an image to a hat, you likely won’t need a huge sheet of paper, but adding one to a t-shirt or sweatshirt may look better if you add a larger design that can be seen from a distance.

Most of the heat transfer sheets included in our reviews are 8.5 x 11 inches, which is the standard size. These allow you to create a decent-sized image for almost anything. If you’re creating multiple pieces using a smaller design, you can even print a few of them onto one sheet and cut them out after printing before applying them to your chosen garment. You can also use these sheets for one large image, with minor trimming needed before you do the transfer.

There are also larger sheets available, like the huge 13 x 19 inches available with the Koala Sublimation Heat Transfer Paper. These allow you to create large designs that you can use on tote bags, pillowcases, t-shirts, and sweatshirts. You can also use these sheets for multiple designs on one sheet if needed, which you can trim and use on several pieces.

Number of sheets included

The number of sheets included in the pack of heat transfer paper determines how many designs you can create out of that one pack. If you don’t plan on using the sheets very often or you are going to make a few gifts at Christmas and don’t intend to use them after that, then a smaller pack will likely suit you.

You can get heat transfer sheets in small packs of 5, like the Avery 3279 Printable Heat Fabric Transfer Paper. If you need a few more sheets but don’t want to get stuck with a huge pack that you won’t use, you can also get a pack of 20 sheets of heat transfer paper, like the PPD Inkjet Iron-On White and Light Colored T-Shirt Transfer Papers. There are also huge packs, like the Koala Sublimation Heat Transfer Paper, which includes 100 sheets of transfer paper. These are best purchased by those who intend to do a lot of projects. If you like to give out handmade gifts for birthdays, Christmas, and any other holiday that comes along, buying a pack of this size will ensure you won’t run out for a while, plus it’s always cheaper to buy the large packs, saving you some money as well.

You should also consider what type of sheets you need. If you plan on using only light or dark fabrics, you can buy a single pack for light or dark material. Of course, if you like to mix it up with a variety of colored materials, you may want to consider a combo pack. The NuFun Activities Inkjet Heat Transfer Paper includes 25 sheets for light fabrics and 25 sheets for dark fabrics, as well as 5 parchment paper sheets for added convenience. This gives you enough heat transfer paper to get a variety of projects done without having to buy multiple packs of transfer sheets.

If some parchment paper is included

7 Best Heat Transfer Paper Sets for Your Perfect Customized Creations

Though the light transfer paper doesn’t need this extra addition, the dark transfer paper needs parchment paper to cover the transfer design when you’re using your heat press or iron to apply it. Though parchment paper is readily available in any grocery store, it’s more convenient if this is included with the transfer sheets in the pack. This means you won’t have to run out and buy some if it isn’t included and you don’t already have it at your house.

Another benefit of the included transfer sheets is that it saves you a bit of money since you don’t need to buy it separately. These pieces are usually reusable, so you don’t have to toss them after only one transfer. The NuFun Activities Inkjet Heat Transfer Paper includes 5 reusable sheets, so if you’re careful with them, you will have enough sheets to get through the entire set of 25 dark heat transfer sheets without needing to buy extras.

How to use paper for heat transfers

When you’re using transfer paper, the methods are different depending on whether you’re using light or dark fabrics. To make things easier, we’ll cover the method for both options in this section.

Light Heat Transfer Paper

  • Choose or create your image or text on your computer
  • Reverse the image to create a mirrored copy
  • Print the image
  • Trim the edges, leaving a small margin around the design to ensure proper transferring
  • Open the heat press, set the temperature, and choose the pressure, using the included instructions with the heat transfer paper (thicker material requires higher pressure)
  • Lay the garment in the heat press, smoothing out all the wrinkles
  • Place the transfer on the garment with the design side down
  • Close the heat press and set the timer using the instructions included with the heat transfer paper
  • When the time is up, open the heat press and remove the garment
  • Peel off the backing from the transfer paper, then let the garment cool

Dark Heat Transfer Paper

  • Choose your design and create it on your computer
  • Print the image – Do not reverse it with dark transfer paper
  • Trim the edges, leaving a small margin around the design to ensure proper transferring
  • Open the heat press, set the temperature, and choose the pressure, using the included instructions with the heat transfer paper (thicker material requires higher pressure)
  • Lay the garment in the heat press, smoothing out all the wrinkles
  • Remove the backing and place the transfer on the garment with the design side up
  • Lay the included parchment sheet over the design
  • Close the heat press and set the timer using the instructions included with the heat transfer paper
  • When the time is up, open the heat press and remove the garment
  • Remove the parchment sheet and allow the garment to cool

Using an iron instead of a heat press is a bit different in terms of the method. The printing process is still the same, depending on what color the fabric you’re using is. When you’re ready to apply it, you need to lay the garment on a hard, flat surface, like a table or floor. Lay a towel or blanket beneath the garment to protect whichever surface you place it on.

Then set your iron’s temperature to the setting recommended in the sheet’s instruction manual. Do not use steam since this could destroy the design you’ve printed onto the heat transfer sheet. Using a lot of pressure, run the iron over the transfer sheet, moving it constantly to avoid burning it. The time needed for this should also be listed in the instructions but if you find that the transfer hasn’t fully adhered to the garment, keep applying heat until it is fully attached. Then remove the backing on a light transfer sheet or the parchment paper from a dark one and let the garment cool.

FAQ

Not every type of heat transfer paper can be used with polyester t-shirts. This is because polyester doesn’t handle the high heat needed to do the transfer process properly. To add a transfer to polyester, you need to use lower temperatures, which may take longer. You also may need to use a special type of heat transfer paper, like the Koala Sublimation Heat Transfer Paper. This specific paper is designed for materials that are 70% polyester or higher, so you can use it with your 100% polyester t-shirts and still end up with a great design.

The best way to wash the fabric pieces you`ve created using the transfer paper and your chosen images is to first turn it inside out. Then you can put it in the washing machine on the gentle cycle using cold water. You can also hand wash it if you prefer this method. Remove the piece immediately after the wash cycle ends and lay it flat. This allows you to spread out the transfer design, preventing it from wrinkling, which could lead to cracking in the transfer over time. Let it dry completely. Now it`s ready to use.

The only option in our reviews that is suitable for ceramics is the Koala Sublimation Heat Transfer Paper. This paper is designed to be used with polyester materials or pieces with a polyester substrate coating, like ceramic. This allows you to create mugs, plates, or other ceramic pieces for gifts or home décor. You can also use it with a variety of other pieces, like tiles, puzzles, phone cases, t-shirts, and pillowcases, allowing you to create a variety of gifts for friends and family or some pieces for yourself.

Our Verdict

There are a variety of heat transfer paper options on the market, though some offer higher quality results than others. We have chosen a few favorites from the 7 options in our reviews.

Our top choice is the NuFun Activities Inkjet Heat Transfer Paper, which includes 25 sheets each for light and dark fabrics, plus 5 reusable parchment sheets. These sheets create high-quality transfers with vibrant colors that last through multiple washes. You can use them with multiple materials, with free printables available from the NuFun Activities website.

The Koala Sublimation Heat Transfer Paper includes 100 sheets of light fabric transfer paper, which can be used with a variety of polyester and poly-coated substrates. The sheets are 13 x 9 inches, with a high transfer rate for long-lasting designs.

The Caregy Heat Fabric Transfer Paper is also for light fabrics. It includes 20 sheets that contain a unique formula for higher bonding, plus a reusable paper liner. You can hot or cold peel these for either a matte or smooth finish for even more design options, and they are machine washable.

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