Earlier this week I was looking for some t-shirts to take away with me on holiday, I wanted something different with original designs, not the usual boring stuff. After looking around for a while I found a shop displaying a great selection of t-shirts, sporting some truly unique designs – they looked ideal, that was until I noticed the price tags.
“These are all limited edition designs,” said the assistant “so they cost a bit more,” a bit more? I thought – it would be cheaper to wear a painting from the Tate!
That night I remembered an article in a computer magazine about printing your own t-shirt at home. It said all I needed was a t-shirt, an Inkjet printer, an iron, a sheet of ordinary white copier paper, and a pack of inkjet transfer paper. So all I needed to pick up was a t-shirt and the transfer paper. According to this article all I had to do was print out my design or photo onto the transfer paper and then iron it onto the t-shirt, peel off the backing paper, and voila you have your own very unique t-shirt, sounds easy enough I thought.
I ended up with a pack of three plain t-shirts for $12 and a pack of ten t-shirt transfers for $8. I discovered there were two types of t-shirt transfers, one for dark t-shirts and one for light or white t-shirts, I chose the dark t-shirt transfers as my new t-shirts were black.
As soon as I got back home, I got on the case straight away and set about knocking up a few designs. To get some inspiration I flicked through my collection of fonts and photos, drew up some outlines, and before I knew it I had several designs I liked ready for print.
Wasting no time, I printed out my design onto the transfer paper, cut it out, and furiously began ironing my transfer on to my new t-shirt, ensuring I had covered the entire area of the transfer paper with the iron. A couple of minutes later I was peeling the transfer from my t-shirt with baited breath. And there it was, my design emblazoned across the chest of my new t-shirt, it looked great, except for the fact that it was back to front! I had forgotten to create a “mirror image” of the design before printing it to the transfer paper, as it clearly states in the instructions. Curses – one t-shirt wasted, just as well I got the 3 pack.
I managed to get the other t-shirts printed up to my satisfaction, looking good this time, they were the right way round!
Whilst reading the instructions again I discovered that it is possible to get a different finish on the t-shirt design by ironing over it with different types of paper. You can get a matte finish on your t-shirt by ironing over it with a sheet of ordinary white copier paper for 10 seconds, this, I thought gave the transferred design a less shiney, more professional look. The transfers also work on many different items of clothing such as shorts, baseball caps, and even on some mouse matt’s. I was really surprised to find that the printed t-shirts were fully machined washable.
Although I wasted one t-shirt, a sheet of transfer paper and managed to burn myself with the iron in my excitement, it was well worth it. I am doing the shirts for our under tens football team just for fun. It is very easy to do, but I would say to read the instructions carefully before you start and try on a sample first before using real clothes!