• College On Tap

DIY T-Shirts: How To Make Them, and Does It Work?

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

Recently I saw a post about how to make print a graphic on a white t-shirt using only items at home. This was super intriguing to me and I wondered if this would actually work. If it does, this would be a game changer for a lot of thrifty people looking to style their wardrobe for cheap. On the video I saw, the quality of the t-shirt looked really good so I was intrigued to see if the quality of the t-shirt matched how it looked. I tried this out for myself so I’ll walk you through the process, both explaining it and there’s a video to watch some of the steps on our Instagram Page: @c0llege0ntap. Then I’ll let you know how it turned out at the end of the article .

Items Needed:

White T-shirt

Printed picture

Saran wrap

Parchment paper

Hot iron


Step 1: Print out a picture and cut the white off all the edges of the paper.

Step 2: Wrap the paper in saran wrap. Put the picture face down on saran wrap and then wrap the edges around the back of the picture.

Step 3: Place the image on the t-shirt, with the image facing up. Then place the parchment paper on top of that.

Step 4: Use the iron (in the video I have a heat press but iron will work just as well) and press the image through the parchment paper for around 5 minutes on high heat.

Step 5: After about 3 minutes, while still hot, peel back the parchment paper and the image will be printed on the shirt!


Seems super simple right? Well it is, but there’s a little bit more to how this works. After it’s done the image is definitely on the t-shirt but the texture is extremely hard. I folded the shirt on the image and it created cracks on the image. You can also see the edges and it almost feels like you could pull it off. Based on the fact that the image basically cracks when I fold it on those areas, I’m assuming it wouldn’t go great through the wash even though I did not test this. I also did not do a full 5 minutes of heat, or wait a lot of time after removing the direct heat. That could have potentially made it a little worse quality, but I don’t think it would be that dramatic of a difference.

So this project is super simple and cheap, but the quality of the product is not very good. If you’re looking for a trendy top to layer with or wear alone for personal uses this could be an awesome options for you to wear, especially because the image looks good to someone not wearing the shirt. I don’t recommend using this strategy to start your graphic tee business or make in bulk.

Hope this helps! Let us know if you try it and what you find.


*Picture included is not the shirt we used but is an image you could make on your shirt!



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