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Butterfly Table Linens




We experimented with three systems that many people have at their disposal -- a computer, some desktop-publishing software, and an ink-jet printer -- to come up with some inspiring paper projects, such as these butterfly table linens.

These cream-colored linen tablecloths and napkins are embellished with iron-on transfer paper on which we printed clip-art butterflies. In the search for images to use in your own projects, a multifunction printer allows you to scan just about any design. Good sources for usable material include clip-art books and websites, as well as old publications, greeting cards, or postcards.


  • 8 1/2-by-11 iron-on transfer paper
  • Scissors
  • Iron


  1. Step 1

    Scan or download the images, or slip the CD into its drive and import them -- they are usually numbered, making this a technological paint-by-numbers project. Using a desktop-publishing program, size and arrange them. Then print them on 8 1/2-by-11 iron-on transfer paper (sold at crafts-supply stores) specifically for use in ink-jet printers.

  2. Step 2


    Iron-on transfers often leave a shiny film on cloth. You can avoid a glossy halo around the images you have chosen by cutting them out as close to their edges as possible; leave no white space around the perimeter. To iron on the designs, follow the instructions that accompany the transfer paper.

  3. Step 3

    Once printed, the table linens are cold-water washable; be sure not to iron the pictures when you press the linens.

  4. Step 4


    To get the maximum use from transfer paper, we placed as many pictures as possible onto each sheet. Cut out the images with scissors. The hot iron melts the plastic transfer material onto the surface. Then the paper backing is removed, leaving the plastic fused with the cloth.

At Home with Technology, Special Issue 2001



Reviews (4)

  • LindaHoffmann 1 Aug, 2011

    you can find some on .google clip art butterflies . and if you cant e-mail me and i will send you some i have . i do all kinds of butterflies . cards, clay hair pins, roses hair pins too . i look at something and i can make it work .

  • Kristin7177 15 Mar, 2011

    anyone have an idea which clip art they used here?

  • MWetzel 20 Aug, 2008

    I have made many projects similar to this.Onsies for new baby/baby shower gifts, pillow cases etc. I use Avery t-shirt transfer paper, which holds up well.It is such an easy project to give to the kids to do on their own using ANY image they like. Check it out it is worth it even IF the image another.

  • Jokin 31 Dec, 2007

    I like the look and the ease of the project. I wonder how long it will hold up after washing. Probably wouldn't want to use it much, for fear the decals would come off or crack.