Creating personalized shirts is a great way to save money on team jerseys, party favors, fundraising giveaways and more. In addition to templates offered by craft stores, you can create custom images and lettering by purchasing T-shirt transfer paper for at-home printing. While finding cheap printer ink for this project is a no-brainer, here are other steps you need to take in order to get the perfect customized tee shirt every time.
Use a Cotton Tee Shirt
Transfers work best on shirts made from 100-percent cotton. Craft stores sell basic cotton tees, but you can also find ones with more style at Target, Walmart or discount retailers like TJMaxx.
Wash, Dry and Iron
Prewash your tee shirt for the best results. Even shirts that claim to be “preshrunk” can fit differently after being laundered. Iron out any wrinkles or creases to create a smooth canvas from which to work.
Preplan for Good Measure
Before purchasing your iron-on letters or images, measure the garment to determine the optimal size for the space. If you're creating jerseys or something with names, make sure to buy smaller letters for longer names!
Placement is Key
Put the shirt on to determine exactly where you want the image or lettering. Once you decide on placement, apply masking tape just above and below the space where you’ll be working. This method is especially helpful in keeping letters level.
Make Precise, Equal Cuts
When working with letters, make precise, equal cuts to ensure the words or names line up correctly. This is less important if you're taking a more free-form approach to your design!
Prep Your Space
Preheat the iron to the desired setting based on instructions from your iron-on template. Every brand is a little different, so this step is important. Make sure your ironing board is level and place the letters or images adhesive-side down.
The last thing you want is to discover your newly ironed-on words are misspelled or backwards! Don’t forget to double and even triple check your work. Once you start ironing there’s no turning back.
Take your time when you begin ironing. Press firmly on each letter for the time recommended by the template packaging. Test the adhesion by using a pin or a toothpick to lift the paper backing from the letter or image. If the image lifts, re-iron and test again.
Let the shirt cool for a few minutes after you’re finished. Turn the shirt inside out and iron across the newly personalized area for about 15 seconds. This will help set your creation.
Launder With Care
When it's time to launder your personalized item, turn the shirt inside-out to protect the transfer for many more wears to come.
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