How to Transfer Pictures to a T-Shirt

Things You'll Need

  • T-shirt transfer paper

  • Image in digital form

  • Inkjet printer

  • T-shirt

  • Iron

  • Tea towel or pillowcase

A photo T-shirt makes a great gift for anyone, from a grandparent to a large group. Transferring a picture to a T-shirt used to be a professional job; now the availability of inkjet printers and transfer paper opens up the art of the transfer to almost any home crafter. With a few simple items, transferring a picture becomes a straightforward home process, saving you both the money and the time it takes to send your T-shirt order to a professional printer.

Step 1

Wash and dry your T-shirt. This removes any leftover sizing from the fabric, and prevents the T-shirt from shrinking later and distorting your design.

Step 2

Heat up a standard flat clothing iron. Iron any wrinkles from laundering out of the T-shirt. The transfer must be performed on a completely flat surface; bubbles and wrinkles become weak spots and distortions in the finished design.

Step 3

Load your inkjet printer with transfer paper according to your printer manufacturer's directions. Open your photo in any image editing software. Verify through the program's size settings that the image fills the correct amount of space. Print the design onto the transfer paper.

Step 4

Place the T-shirt face up on a clean ironing board and pull the surface smooth so no wrinkles appear. Lay the transfer paper face down on the area of the T-shirt receiving the photo.

Step 5

Place a tea towel or pillowcase over the transfer paper. Iron over the transfer thoroughly. Peel the backing off the transfer when finished ironing to reveal your transferred photo.


Many transfer paper varieties contain their own photo transfer software, or have a version available online, which makes it easier to view and transfer photos.

Use white transfer paper for white T-shirts and opaque transfer paper for colored T-shirts.


Do not iron the transfer paper directly.