How to Put Pictures on a T-Shirt Without Transfer Paper

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Stenciling an image on a T-shirt is a fast and avoids using transfer paper.
Stenciling an image on a T-shirt is a fast and avoids using transfer paper. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Putting a picture on T-shirts at home is easy, cheap and fun. And, through the use of stenciling, you can do it without using transfer paper. Stenciling can range from a simple picture to a very complex design. Those who are less artistically minded can download a design already made into a stencil. Otherwise, you can utilize image editing software to create or transform a design into a stencil.

Things You'll Need

  • A4 photo paper
  • Thin acetate
  • Tape
  • Self-heal cutting mat
  • X-Acto knife
  • T-shirt
  • Cardboard
  • Masking tape
  • Fabric printing ink
  • Plate
  • Foam roller
  • Baking paper

Print your stencil design on to the A4 photo paper. Place the acetate on top of the image and tape it down.

Cut the image into a stencil on the acetate. Begin with the smaller areas in the middle, and gradually expand outward. Fix any errors you make in the stencil with the tape.

Prewash and dry the T-shirt to ensure it won't shrink later. Lay the T-shirt flat on your work surface and insert a layer of cardboard inside it. Secure the stencil to the surface of the T-shirt with masking tape.

Mix the ink on a plate until you have created the color you desire. Roll over the paint with the foam roller until there are no lumps and the roller is completely covered in paint.

Roll the ink across the stencil, making the first few strokes light and then building up the pressure. Cover the T-shirt in an even coat of ink. Carefully remove the stencil before the ink has completely dried.

Lay a sheet of baking paper across the entire stenciled image when you are certain that the ink is dry. Iron across the design for the length of time specified on your fabric ink.

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