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How to Make T-Shirts for Gifts, Personal or Business Use

Updated on May 29, 2009

Start Your Own Business, Make Your Own Gifts, or Express Your Own Unique Style

Have you ever thought about creating your own t-shirts? Whether you are looking to make your own to reflect your own individual style or maybe even to re-sell, then you've come to the right place.

There are several things to consider before designing your t-shirts:

How many shirts do you require?
What will you be using the shirt(s) for?

  • Self-use to represent your own individual style.
  • A few to make for unique gifts for friends
  • About 12. I need them for my group or organization.
  • A lot! I want to design and sell my own shirts for a business or a fundraiser.

What methods are available?

  • DIY (Do It Yourself) Style
  • Iron-On Transfer Method
  • Creating Design Online & Having Company Print For You

No matter how many shirts you need, or what method you use, they are pretty affordable to make. Not to mention, a lot of fun!

D-I-Y T-Shirt Design

If you're looking for a very inexpensive way to design your own T-Shirts, you can purchase everything that you need at your local craft store. Blank T-Shirts are available to purchase for typically $3-$5 per shirt, depending on the size. Your T-Shirt is your canvas and the possiblities are endless! Many craft stores now have shirts available not only in white, but also a variety of other colors so you can be more creative with your design. You can then decorate the shirt with supplies such as puff paint, rhinestones and appliques. There are also fabric permanent markers that are a easier to create intricate designs and a lot less messy.

Creating T-Shirts with this method is a perfect activity to host at slumber parties or to make personalized group t-shirts for sororities or bachelorette parties.

Some fun ideas are to enhance your fabric maker drawings with the puff paint to add demension to your design. If you are making t-shirts for a group, it is a lot of fun to sign everyone's name on each t-shirt to create keepsakes.

Note: Hand designed T-Shirts typically do not hold up in the wash and are good for one time use.

Best Selling T-Shirt 'Canvasses' by Hanes on Amazon

Affordable Iron-On Transfers

Iron-On Transfer T-Shirt Design

The next method that you can use to make your own T-Shirts at home is via the Iron-On transfer method. All you need is a digital image, some Iron-On Transfer sheets, a blank T-Shirt, a printer and an Iron. Basically, you start off with your blank T-Shirt canvas, and transfer an image that you've printed on a special transfer paper via heat that fuses the image into the fabric. This method will ensure that your shirt lasts a lot longer than gluing on rhinestones and using fabric paint.

You can get Iron-On Transfer sheets either offline at your local craft store, although some office supply stores carry them. You can also find great deals online and choose from a larger assortment of higher quality Iron-On Transfers. Not all are the same; make sure to get transfer sheets that correspond to your printer (either Inkjet or Laser).

When you design your image on your computer, make sure that it is a high resolution so it will look good on your T-Shirt after it's ironed on. Iron-On Transfers are wonderful because you can print out colored images and text and make your own professional looking T-Shirts right from your own home!

What Is Your Favorite Way to Design Your Own T-Shirts?

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Create Design Online and Order Professionaly Printed T-Shirts

The last method can be used no matter how many T-Shirts you need. Do you need 1 or 1,000? Prices at Cafe Press vary depending on the type of design, type of material and number of shirts ordered. You can easily customize your own design online with their online designing software, or upload your own image. You can choose from your own font and 1,000's of different images available on their online web t-shirt designer.

What's cool about CafePress? Well, you can also create your own designs online, upload them to the server and open your own online store: for free! When people purchase items (they carry hundreds of items aside from T-Shirts) you will get a portion of the profits and CafePress will print of the item and mail it to the customer. You don't have to keep an inventory or worry about shipping the item out. CafePress is a worldwide brand and is very famous for great quality items and excellent customer service.

So give CafePress a try; its free to design shirts to sell. You only pay if you actually order them for yourself. Whether you need to order a shirt or want to start your own T-Shirt business, it will definitely accomodate your needs.


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