posted by Ahijoy on November 8, 2022
How To Make Custom Shirts At Home
Making custom shirts at home can be a daunting task, especially for novices, but once you get the hang of it, you will love enhancing the beauty of every piece in your wardrobe
There's always a reasonable cause to create your own custom shirt, whether you're trying to advertise an exciting nascent company or want to print your favorite cartoon on your shirt. You most likely have a vast assortment of comfy, multipurpose shirts. But, as there is always potential for more, why not create your own?
In this step-by-step tutorial, we will teach you how to make customized shirts at home using vinyl. We will discuss how to create a design and successfully transfer it on the fabric. We're here to help you get started on personalizing your new shirt or transforming an old, favorite one using HTV!
What Is Heat Transfer Vinyl?
Heat transfer vinyl (or HTV for short) is a viable tool for adding customized touches to clothing and accessories (including names, logos, and images). It is a specialty vinyl polymer that comes in rolls or sheets. It has a heat-activated adhesive backing that allows the vinyl to permanently adhere to your clothing when heat pressed for the appropriate amount of time, pressure and temperature.
Different Colors And Textures In HTV
In order to personalize shirts, you may use heat transfer vinyl with a range of patterns, textures and colors. Following are the different types of HTV:
- Standard HTV: It includes basic gloss and matte HTV.
- Glitter HTV: This has little flecks of glitter embedded in it. It is fancy and shimmery.
- Metallic HTV: It has a glistening surface, just like metal.
- Holographic HTV: It radiates with a reflective metallic sheen displaying multiple hues under light.
- Puff HTV: This amazing vinyl film gives a 3D effect to your designs.
- Electric HTV: This is a vinyl in vibrant fluorescent colors to jazz up your fabric.
- Patterned HTV: Rainbow stripes, star, buffalo plaid and more, this HTV offers multiple vivid patterns on a glossy vinyl film roll.
Customizing Shirts At Home With HTV
Now you can transfer amazing decals on your shirt at home without any hassle. For the smooth process, getting the right tools is extremely important. Here’s what you should have:
- HTV of your choice.
- Electronic cutter.
- Heat press machine.
- Weeding tool.
- Teflon sheet or parchment paper.
Once you have chosen the shirt that you want to customize, select the HTV of your choice. You can make designs with two different heat transfer vinyl films or simply use a glittery one to add some bling. When everything is set and you have the design on your computer, it's time to get started:
Step 1. Create A Cut File
Prepare your design for cutting in the software that accompanies your cutting machine. With Silhouette, we use Silhouette Studio or Mint Studio and with Cricut, Design Space. You can even create the file on some other software and upload it on these. If you don't have a Silhouette or Cricut electronic cutting machine, you may cut HTV manually but for complex, difficult designs, it is recommended to use these.
Step 2. Set A Scale For Your Design
Once you've chosen your design, you'll need to assess your shirt area to calculate how large you'll need to cut the pattern. We advise that you begin by measuring your garment to get an idea of how broad and long you want your design to be.
Open the cut file in your cutting program once you've decided the size you want to cut your graphic in. The image must then be scaled according to it.
3. Mirror The Design
When dealing with HTV, you must mirror your design since you cut the design on the reverse side of the vinyl. HTV has a translucent carrier sheet that conceals the surface of the vinyl, and the heat-sensitive adhesive is on the opposite side. You cut your graphic on the adhesive side, and the transparent sheet on the other side retains it in place until you apply it to your shirt or any other surface.
4. Place It On The Cutting Mat
Place the HTV on the cutting mat. The glossy side of the HTV should face down on your mat. Remember, you will be cutting on the reverse side of the vinyl, which contains the heat-sensitive adhesive. This side will have a more matte finish. The clear plastic backing is located on the glossy side of the vinyl.
Line the HTV with the grid on your cut mat and smooth it out so there are no bubbles or wrinkles. You can use tiny pieces of masking tape to secure the edges of the vinyl to the mat. Make sure these pieces of tape do not get in the way of your design.
5. Cut The Design
Load the mat in the machine and check the cut settings. They should be according to the vinyl used. Every cutting machine has different settings for cutting the design. Cricut has a dial that lets you select the material and adjusts the settings accordingly. Cut the design and once it is done, you are ready to weed.
6. Weed Out The Excess Vinyl
Right now you just see cut marks on the matte side of the vinyl. You have to weed out the negative vinyl to bring out the actual design. For this you will need a tool just like the weeding pens available at Ahijoy.
Pick the right hand side corner of the vinyl with the weeding tool and pull it back at a 45 degree angle. You’ll start to see the design emerge. Now weed the middle of the design to pick out small pieces. It’s a skill that gets easier over time.
7. Heat Press The Vinyl On The Shirt
Adjust the settings of your heat press machine according to the vinyl you are using. First press the shirt to remove any creases or moisture. Now place the vinyl where you want it to be on the shirt, put a Teflon sheet on top and press it for the recommended time. Remove and peel the carrier sheet off. Your beautiful design has transferred to your shirt.
Note: If you remove the carrier sheet and the vinyl comes off a bit, place it back again and press for a little more time until you are sure it has completely adhered.
8. Using A Home Iron To Transfer HTV
Begin by plugging in your iron and setting it to cotton. Use dry iron, not the steam one. Next, place your design on your garment with the transparent carrier sheet over to ensure proper readability. Shield the carrier sheet with parchment paper or a light cotton cloth. This helps to preserve the surface and protects the vinyl from overheating.
For 10-20 seconds, apply pressure to each portion of the pattern with the iron. Do not slide the iron from side to side. Just apply pressure on every single part of the design. Once you are done, carefully peel away the carrier sheet.
Wait for 24 hours for the adhesive to set before washing. Enjoy your very own DIY T-Shirt customized at home.
Customizing Shirts With HTV Without The Cutting Machine
Did you know you can make your own DIY HTV shirt without a sophisticated cutting machine? Just follow these few easy steps:
Step One - Print The Design
Firstly, choose a design and print it out on a computer paper. It is preferable to choose a basic design for this method since it will be easier to cut, trace, and cut again. Keep in mind that you will be working on the reverse side of the vinyl (the side that will go against the t-shirt). If you have any lettering in your graphic, you will need to mirror the design so that you can trace it backwards and iron it on the proper side.
Step 2 - Cut Your Design And Trace It On The Vinyl
Using scissors, cut your design. Then use a pencil to trace it on the matte side of the vinyl that will stick on your garment.
Step 3 – Cut Your Vinyl Design And Apply It To your Shirt
With your scissors, cut the design traced on the vinyl. Make sure your scissors are sharp. Iron or heat press the design on the shirt following the steps mentioned above and your shirt is ready.
Take care of the following points to ensure longevity of the vinyl on the shirt:
- Wash the shirt with your hands.
- Wash it inside out with a mild detergent.
- Do not tumble dry. Leave the shirt on the clothesline to dry naturally.
- The shirt should be left to dry under the sun.
- Iron on it inside out.
Frequently Asked Questions
If designing your own shirts is your true passion or you want to take it on as a hobby, this guide will help you achieve the best possible results. Now it’s time for you to begin! Determine your goals and customize the perfect shirt.