How to make my own decal for a T-Shirt?

A friend and I are interested in making shirts with a portrait (B&W) on the front. I know there are services that you can send them a picture and they’ll put it on a T-Shirt for you, but we want to iron it on. (or whatever is necessary) Besides it being more fun, we need them by next Friday and I doubt a service would do it for us in that time.

So, how could I take a picture from the 'net printed on regular white printer paper and put it on a T-Shirt?

Almost positive you can buy the proper medium at a big-box office store, print it with your deskjet and then iron away.

Try this. The end results are not quite as good a professional screen-printed shirts because the ink in on a thin plastic film bonded to the fabric rather than printed direct, but should equal the one-offs you can get custom made in stores

Buy a pack of special iron-on transfer media - it just looks like paper with a plasticky side.

Make a mirror image of your picture (either in your choice of graphics software, or you may find that your printer driver will do it for you)

Print your image on the plasticky side of the media (inkjet printer only)

Trim as necessary

Place printed side down on the flattened fabric and cover with another sheet of paper.


leave to cool

Peel off the backing, leaving the transfer on the shirt.

The stuff I have also says you can put a sheet of baking parchment over the transfer and iron again to achieve a more glossy finish and a more permanent fix.

The plastic actually partially encapsulates the ink, so the results will be more or less washable (but don’t expect it to last through too many washes.

I’ve done this several times before, and I would suggest that you get it done at one of those kiosks in the mall where they often have photo->t-shirts. While they use essentially the same methods, they have a nice flat heated surface, so the image will be peeled off right and they tend to last much longer.

It’s maybe $12-15 per shirt, but if you only want a few shirts, you’re better off. Odds are you’ll mess up a shirt or two when you try it on your own anyway, and you’d have to buy a whole box of the transfer paper, which will often cost over $10 anyway.