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Video:Make a T-Shirt Transfer

with Keith Dunlop

You don't have to be a running contestant on Project Runway to design your own unique t-shirts and clothing. Put a personal stamp on your wardrobe by printing and ironing fun transfers onto your clothes.See Transcript

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Transcript:Make a T-Shirt Transfer

Hi, I am Keith Dunlop and welcome to About.com. Today I am going to show you how to take an image that is stored on your computer and transfer it onto a light colored tee-shirt, apron, or bag. Tee-shirt transfers are a great way to make personalized gifts or unique clothing for yourself.

T-Shirt Transfer Supplies

You just need:
  • computer
  • ink-jet printer
  • specialized tee-shirt transfer paper, available at your larger office supply stores or online
  • iron
  • large pillowcase
  • some lighter-colored cotton to print on - I will be using a white tee-shirt

Choose a Picture for the T-Shirt

I have a cool photo my step-son Zach made using the iPhoto booth on his Mac computer, which I think would make an interesting tee-shirt. You do not need a photo, however, just an image that you would like to print. So the first step is to bring the photo into a software program that can handle images. Also, it is important to reverse your image, especially if there is type. So choose Flip, Horizontal, Tee-Shirt, or Reversed mode before you print. For tee-shirt transfers, the ideal resolution is somewhere between 72 and 150 dpi. Higher than that and your transfer could end up too dark and muddy.

Test Print the Image

Before we print our image onto the transfer paper, it is a good idea to test print it on a regular piece of paper. That way, you will not waste your transfer paper if something is not quite right. So I will go ahead and print this, and we will see what we get. As you can see, this looks good. It is printing in the center of the page, which will make our transfer simple. So now we can print our transfer. It is the same as the regular paper, except that you have to be sure that you are printing on the transfer side, which is white and waxy. My printer prints down onto the paper as it feeds through, so the transfer side has to face forward. So lets go ahead and print!

Print the Transfer Sheet

This looks perfect, so now we can move on to transferring this picture onto a tee-shirt. Heat up your iron to the highest cotton setting with no steam. In fact, empty the water out of your iron before you do your transfer.

Iron the Picture on the T-Shirt

Now, iron your pillowcase so it is nice and flat. Lay your tee-shirt out onto the pillowcase and iron that, too. Now, place your image face down on your tee-shirt and press firmly with a circular motion, moving continuously for 2-3 minutes. Make sure you heat the entire image with the iron. After it has cooled, you can carefully peel up the transfer paper and let your shirt cool.

So remember: flip your image, test print before printing on the transfer paper, and use a hot iron without any steam, and your transfer will be a success!

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