Mary Jane Watson from Spider-Man is one of my go-to “comfy cosplays” because all you need is a t-shirt, jeans and a red wig. But not just any t-shirt! It’s got to be Spidey in a heart shape. This is an easy to one to put together with a plain t-shirt, iron-on paper and a handy downloadable logo.
*Post contains Amazon affiliate links where I may earn a commission if a purchase it made.
There are different images that use this shirt style in different colors- like a white one on a comic book cover and a blue on the cover of Maxim Magazine. The first time I made it, I just had a blank grey shirt and that works too!
A Cosplay Essential: Iron-on Paper
Iron-on paper, specifically the type made for dark colors, is something I try to always have on hand. I’ve used it for many things, from Spider-Man shirts to a Superman costume for my son, and even on my first business logo shirts when I had a costume shop. Anything you can print out, you can iron on!
Click here to find this same iron-on paper on Amazon. It’s usually the best priced one and works great!
Step-by-Step for Using Iron-On Paper with Inkjet Printers
1 – Prepare your image for printing
You can get a decent print from anything at least 150 dpi or higher. If you are making this Mary Jane shirt, Click here to use the Spidey-heart logo I use on my shirts. The iron-on papers for light colors will usually have you print your pictures backwards, but the ones for dark colors are different! You print it as you want it to appear. I usually do a few test prints at the “draft” setting first so I can figure out just the right size before setting the print option to “best” for the final image.
2 – Prep your surface
You can use this iron-on paper on any fabric surface. I’ve used it for shirts, bags, even tights! For a shirt, make sure you iron the wrinkles out first for a smooth surface. It works best to lie it on top of a thin towel or pillowcase. An ironing board is too squishy. You need something you can press down on while ironing. There’s no need to put anything inside the shirt, as the iron-on paper doesn’t bleed through, but sometimes it can help with keeping it smooth. I’m using the transfer paper for dark colors, even though it’s a white shirt, because I like the style of this paper better.
3 – Print your design
For printing, you’ll want to change your usual setting to print at the “best” or “photo” settings so you get a nice clear print. Make sure to put your paper in so the image prints on the correct side. This brand has a logo printed on the back to make it easy to know which side to use.
4 – Cut out your design and leave a little extra
This part contains one of the most valuable tips in this tutorial– how to cut out the design. You can cut it right on the border, or leave a small white border around it. Either way make sure you leave a little extra bit on one small part. This will be the piece you use to get the peeling started. It can be a real pain to peel off the iron-on part if you don’t leave a little peel tab! You can use this extra piece to rip it a bit and help get the peel started. Once you peel it off, just cut off the extra piece.
5- Iron on your design
Place your peeled off design exactly where you want it to go and then put the ironing paper over it. This prevents the design from sticking to the iron. Every iron-on paper pack will come with several of these sheets, and they can be used more than once. Make sure your iron is nice and hot but turn off the steam function. Press down as you iron the design and make sure you get every section, spending a little extra time pressing down all the edges. It doesn’t take very long to get the transfer to stick!
6 – Put the rest of your look together!
If you are going for the full Mary Jane cosplay, click here to see my Amazon Wigs List that includes the red wig I wear for my Mary Jane, plus shoppable photos with other cosplay items tagged. I have a whole collection of shoppable cosplay pics that show what goes into each costume.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and if you used this printable Spidey-Heart logo, or just used this tutorial to make your own iron-on design, please tag @SewGeekMama or @GeekMamasMag on Instagram or Facebook so I can share your photos!
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About the Author
Candy Keane is a digital content creator and long-time cosplayer, most well-known for being on the cover of the Star Wars documentary Jedi Junkies. After making costumes professionally for over a decade, she now writes about about geek culture and mom life, and continues to cosplay for fun, while sharing her love of costumes on Instagram @SewGeekMama. Her first children’s book, I’m Going to My First Comic Convention, was published in 2020 and won a Story Monsters Approved award for Excellence in Literature.
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