printing t-shirts with your picture

How To Print a t-shirt with Custom Picture Using a Heat Press

Everyone loves t-shirts, and why not?

They are comfortable, comes in huge variety and is easy going. One cannot go wrong with a t-shirt and that is for sure. But other than the normal t-shirts that one can buy easily from any shop for cheap another thing that attracts a whole lot of customers are personalized t-shirts.

Getting one’s name or picture printed on a t-shirt can be a great and fun style statement that will make others jealous. Everybody must have seen someone wear such t-shirts and must have also wondered that how can anybody get such a t-shirt.

Well, the overall process though seems difficult, but it is not. the most important machine that one will require is heat press which can be bought from any online website or market for pretty cheap and affordable prices. And after one brings home a heat press, they can follow a simple step by step process which will give them a beautiful yet fun t-shirt at the end.

Using heat press is one of the easiest and accurate techniques which gives neat end results after printing and the durability is also great which means the prints will last longer.

How to get started?

Before starting the process it is always advisable to acquire all the needed materials and equipment.
One will need:

  • Heat press:Heat press

One can buy a small and affordable heat press for their personal use. One should check the temperature uniformity along the edges and middle of the plate. Temperature uniformity will make sure that the picture transfer is equal and design does not peel off from the t-shirt.

  • Inkjet printer:Inkjet printer

An inkjet printer is required to print a picture of oneself which can be transferred to the fabric. Inkjet printers are a better choice than the laserjet printers because the heat transfer viable prints are produced by inkjets and also they are more affordable.

  • Transfer or carrier paper:

Carrier paper is the one on which the picture will be printed. On one side of the carrier paper, there is a film on which the picture will be printed on. The paper should be soft and not tough like cardboard. Also for dark t-shirts choose opaque and for white t-shirts choose transparent transfer paper.

  • Plain T-shirt:

Lastly choose a t-shirt of one’s own choice of size, shape, and color.


The process to be followed step by step is:

  1. Choose the picture: one should first choose the right type of picture that one will print on the t-shirt
  2. Print the picture: using inkjet printer print the picture on the film side of the carrier paper. Also one should reverse the picture before printing it.
  3. Cut the transfer paper: one does not want blank film off the paper to transfer on the t-shirt. That is why one should trim the areas of the paper on which on there is no color or print.
  4. Prepare the heat press: one should switch on the heat press and select temperature depending upon the type of paper and then by lifting the handle one shall shift the plate from the silicon pad. Now one should set the pressure depending on the quality of transfer paper.
  5. Place the t-shirt and the paper: firstly the t-shirt will be placed on the heat press plate and the side on which the picture will be printed will face up. And then take the trimmed paper and place it on the t-shirt with the film side upside down.
  6. Start the press: after placing both the t-shirt and the paper put a cloth or silicon pad on the t-shirt to keep it safe. Now pull down the handle of the press and press the start button which will get automatically switched after the timer goes off.
  7. Check the result: now remove the shirt from the press and peel off the film from the t-shirt.

And voila!! A t-shirt with one’s own picture is ready.

Tips to keep in mind

  • One should follow the instructions completely otherwise one will end up with a t-shirt from which the picture will out after a few washes.


  • One should never forget the cover sheet to be placed over the fabric before starting the heat printing.


  • One should keep accessories and trinkets away from the transfer paper so that even pressure can be applied throughout.


  • One should know about the fabric so that temperature can be set accordingly otherwise the fabric will start melting.


  • One should pay attention that the transfer paper is placed correctly without any crease or line.


Therefore one can say that heat pressing is simple and easy only if one follows the rules and process diligently. There are many places where things may go wrong but having a perfect checklist will always help. So now go ahead and enjoy the process and the end result of making a professional quality personalized t-shirt.

About the Author James C. Cho

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