How to Make Custom Shirts Cheap

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Screen printers and online shirt printing services may produce professional-quality custom shirts, but the printing costs are sometimes very expensive. If your funds are low and you want to make some custom shirts more cheaply, you can do so at home using T-shirt transfer paper. You can find transfer paper for just $10 to $15 for about 15 to 20 sheets online or at your local office supply store, so your printing cost is a little under $1.

Things You'll Need

  • T-shirt transfer shirt
  • Ink-jet printer
  • Shirts
  • Iron and ironing board

Create your T-shirt design using a graphic design or photo editing program like Adobe Photoshop or InDesign. If you do not have one you can use a free online editor like the ones offered by Picasa and Pixlr.

Select the option in your editing software to mirror the design. Mirroring means to flip the image horizontally so that if you were to hold it up to a mirror it would look right. You need this mirroring effect to use shirt transfer paper. Look for the option named “Flip Horizontal” or similar on the main menu of your editing program.

Feed the transfer paper into your ink-jet printer as directed and print the number of copies you need. Try a test print on plain white paper first to make sure the image looks acceptable.

Pick the shirt you want to customize. In most cases it has to be a cotton blend. If you want to customize a dark-colored shirt, be sure to buy dark shirt transfer paper. You can find cheap long- and short-sleeve shirts online at wholesale prices.

Place the transfer paper face down on the shirt where you want the image to appear and iron it evenly for two to three minutes or as directed.

Peel off the paper carefully when it finishes cooling and start on your next shirt. You can also add another piece of transfer paper to the back if desired.

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