There are a few things that anyone wishing, to put their own designs onto T-shirts will need. The obvious one is the T-shirt (or shirts if you have volunteered to arrange something like team shirts). Then, you will have to come up with the design –probably using a graphics program on your computer; if you are good at it, you will design all your own artwork; but, you can always draft out your basic ideas and get a professional to help you. You will also have to decide if you just need one big design on the front (or back); or a combination of smaller designs spread over the shirt’s surface area.
Next – Get Your Design On To A Sheet Of Transfer Release Paper
You can buy commercial grade transfer release paper in some (maybe hard to find) shops; but, while not rubbish; these commercial grades are generally of inferior quality, when compared with the specialist transfer release papers that the professionals use. A lower grade paper makes it difficult to successfully transfer the design off the paper and on to your shirt(s). If in doubt, it might be better to have a professional print the, reversed (mirror image) design onto the release paper for you.
Which Raises The Question Of Inks For the Printer
Inks are not that different in concept from paints and dyes; back in time, artists, writers, printers, etc exercised considerable imagination finding animal, vegetable and mineral, naturally occurring materials that could be turned into powder to dissolve, or suspend, in water to “stain” the medium they wished to paint, write or print on. Water soluble inks are still in use today but modern synthetic inks are probably predominating. Plastisol is a synthetic ink that is widely used in the textile printing business; it still requires coloring and is made by suspending PVC particles in a plasticizing emulsion. Its advantages are that it is waterproof and does not dry out; if left on the silk screen printing equipment that is commonly used in the garment trade. Plastisol does not sink right into the garment’s fibers and tends to sit on the surface; it also needs heat to be applied to set (or cure) the plastisol. Some people do not like the raised, plastic feel of designs printed on T-shirts in plastisol ink. However, you can get Plastisol Transfers if you wish to use that type.
This is to get your design off the transfer release paper and permanently onto your T-shirt. NOTE – never try to do this by using your domestic clothes iron to provide the necessary heat and pressure for the transfer. You will have to invest in a heat transfer press for this; but, assuming you will be making more custom designed tees over the years; it’s a relatively small investment that should pay for itself relatively quickly.