T-shirts never go out of style. Although you can buy them in the store or online, making your own custom-designed T-shirt gives you the opportunity to express your creativity in a wearable style. You can create unique prints using photos, clip art and digital art. It is easy to make custom-print T-shirt designs with a computer, iron-on transfer paper and a printer.
Design or upload the print that you will place on the T-shirt. You can use Microsoft Word to create a text image print, or clip art, or you can use pictures or digital images saved to computer files or downloaded from the Internet. You can also use picture editing software to create designs to print on the shirt.
Print a test copy of the design on a plain white sheet of paper before you use the iron-on transfer paper. Examine the printout and ensure that it looks exactly how you want it to look on your T-shirt. Make the necessary adjustments to the picture or design, such as the size or color, to ensure the print comes out right.
Design images containing text with the letters in the image mirrored or flipped backward so that it appears backward when displayed on the computer monitor and when it is printed. You can use photo editing software to mirror or flip images with text.
Place the iron-on transfer paper in the printer. Follow the instructions on the transfer paper package by placing the right side of the paper in the correct position so that the print impression appears on the part of the paper that will be transferred to the T-shirt. Print the image onto the paper and allow the ink to completely dry before ironing it onto the T-shirt.
Trim off the excess paper around the image. Place the iron on a cotton setting and allow it to preheat before using it. Place the T-shirt on a flat, hard surface. Ensure that the T-shirt has no creases on the area where the pint will be applied. Iron the shirt if it is wrinkled before transferring the print.
Position the iron-on transfer paper with the print design facing down on the area of the T-shirt where you want the print to be displayed. Iron the image onto the T-shirt by ensuring the heat from the iron is evenly applied over the entire area of the transfer paper.
Start by ironing from the top of the paper, then the bottom and around the edges using a circular motion. Repeat this process until the design is completely transferred to the T-shirt.
Peel off the remaining part of the transfer paper backing while there is still heat on the paper to get a smooth, satin finish of your design print. Let it cool for a few minutes before peeling off the transfer paper backing to get a glossy finish of your print.
Allison McCalman has been writing professionally since 2009. Her expertise is in business, media, intellectual property law and tourism. McCalman's work has appeared in various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism.