Whether you have old, stained shirts you can’t quite bear to get rid of, you’re trying to come up with amazing one-of-a-kind gift ideas or you’ve been thinking about a new business venture, you’ve likely–at the very least–considered customizing shirts. People customize wholesale crewneck sweatshirts, t-shirts and other types of apparel for all sorts of reasons, and while there are several methods for getting the job done, putting a design on a shirt is easier than you probably think. Whether you’re ready to invest in a bunch of equipment to launch your own screen printing business or you’re looking for a way to customize clothing using (mostly) tools and supplies you already have at home, there is an option right for you. Keep reading to learn how to put a design on a shirt!
Start with the Right Shirt
When it comes to custom clothing, starting with the right shirt ensures the best results. While it’s possible to add a design to just about any type of fabric (depending on what method you use), certain materials simply yield better results than others. Shirts made from 100 percent cotton are a good bet when it comes to ensuring your design pops and looks amazing.
If you’d like your shirts to be a bit more comfortable and wrinkle resistant, though, consider using shirts made from a blend of cotton and polyester. Cotton/poly blends are lightweight, hold color well, are durable enough to withstand high temperatures and they wick moisture away from the skin. Lots of folks love cotton/poly blend shirts because they resist wrinkles and feel great against the skin, too.
Whether you’re shopping for pocket t-shirts wholesale, tank tops, polos or any other type of shirt, quality matters. It’s always smart to choose products from trusted brands like Hanes, Anvil and Comfort Colors–especially if you plan on selling your creations.
Settle on a Print Method
There is definitely more than one way to add a design to a shirt. Screen printing, inkjet iron-on transfers, direct-to-garment printing and vinyl graphics are all solid options. Let’s face it–you could even customize shirts using fabric paint or markers. It’s up to you to decide which method is right for you.
Screen printing is a tried-and-true method widely used by businesses because it’s fast and cost-effective. Keep in mind, though, that special equipment is required. Also, screen printing isn’t as cost-effective for single prints as it is when you are printing multiple shirts with the same design.
Another option is using a heat press to apply vinyl graphics. If you have access to a vinyl cutter, the process is pretty straightforward. Cut out the design, apply it to the shirt using a heat press and you’re good to go. Learning how to use a heat press and vinyl cutter is pretty easy, and there is virtually no limit to what you can create using vinyl decals.
Direct-to-garment printing is a relative newcomer, especially in the DIY space. This method requires a special printer that prints directly on the fabric. The process yields incredible results, but it works best for small batches and single shirts.
With iron-on transfer paper, you can use your inkjet printer to customize shirts. All you need to do is print the design on the transfer paper and apply it to the shirt using a household iron or a heat press. As long as you follow the instructions included with the product, this method works very well, and the finished product is durable and machine washable.
Once you’ve purchased your shirts and settled on a printing method, it’s time to get started. At this point, you may need to invest in some supplies, or you might be able to use things you already have at home or have available to you.
When choosing or creating your design, quality matters. Make the design an appropriate size for the garment you are customizing, and be careful with placement to ensure the finished product looks right. Always take the time to read the instructions on any supplies or materials you purchase to ensure you get the job done right.
The Bottom Line
Because there are so many different methods, designing shirts is something just about anyone can do. There are options appropriate for all budgets and skill levels. Once you get started, you’ll see that putting designs on shirts is fun and easy.