I recently made my first PCB with toner transfer using an iron. It was pretty ugly.
I bought a cheap-o laminator from walmart for $25 + tax. It’s a Scotch TL901. I used masking tape to hold things in place. It worked well enough that I’m not going to complain.
I never realized what a difference a laminator makes! It’s hard to mess up now. I also tried using parchment paper.
The results are so much better with parchment paper and a laminator than proper transfer paper and an iron. At the end I have a pic of transfer using transfer paper. The edges are a lot more crisp, but it costs quite a bit more.
Toner transfer with parchment paper
Scotch TL901 Thermal Laminator
I had a slightly messed up print on toner transfer paper that i put on my test board. The lines are even sharper than with the parchment paper.