How To Make Custom Shirts with Printable Paper Plus Friendly Tips

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Do you want to know how to make custom shirts with printable paper?  Indeed, the best way to enjoy the freedom of your ideas is to turn them into reality! Plus, how do you make custom shirts using printable paper?  Read on and find the easiest ways to be your own t-shirt designer!

What is a Printable Paper?

Printable paper, or printing paper, is a paper designed for printing such as offset and publication printing.

What Printable Paper is Used for T-Shirts?

To print your own t-shirts at home, you need Heat Transfer Paper.  TeckWrap has a Heat Transfer Vinyl and special transfer papers that help you print your t-shirt design and transfer it onto your material in simple steps.

What Is the Easiest T-shirt Printing Method?

Heat Transfer Vinyl Printing is the easiest t-shirt printing method.  And the second easiest is Sublimation Printing.  If you want more intricate designs, you will opt for sublimation printing.

If you want to learn t-shirt printing, using heat transfer vinyl, sublimation printing, and special transfer papers, read on!

What Do You Need To Print T-Shirts At Home?

Since you may print your own t-shirts or start your own t-shirt printing business at home by using sublimation paper or a heat transfer vinyl, you’ll need the following machines for these:

  • Cutting Machine
  • Heat Press Machine
  • Inkjet Printer for sublimation printing

Cutting Machine

A cutting machine, vinyl cutter, also sometimes referred to as vinyl plotter, is a machine controlled by a computer for cutting out shapes and letters from vinyl sheets.  These cutout shapes and letters become decals, signs, and even prints on shirts or even bags and other materials to which vinyl adheres.

Heat Press Machine

A heat press machine is used to imprint a design on a substrate, the most common of which is a t-shirt.  It uses heat and pressure to be able to transfer the design onto a material.

Inkjet Printer for Sublimation Printing

An inkjet printer is a computer hardware that can produce hard copies of a text document or high-quality image onto a material, usually paper or specialty paper,  by using ink from cartridges attached to it.

For an inkjet specifically for sublimation printing, Epson inkjets are the only printers usually converted to sublimation.  Sublimation is different from other printing methods because it uses dye-sublimation inks that contain heat-activated pigments.

But what’s great about sublimation is that these heat-activated pigments turn from solid to gas when heat-pressed like a t-shirt, mug, or tumbler.

Printing Supplies and Materials

  • Cutting mat
  • Scissors
  • Weeding tool or pen
  • Desk lamp or a light pad

Heat Transfer Vinyl Printing

Heat transfer vinyl is best for beginners in the industry, or for those who just want to try t-shirt printing at home.  Why? Because the process is less complex and the start-up costs are more affordable.

Printing Custom Shirts with Heat Transfer Vinyl

If you want to get the job done fast printing custom shirts with heat transfer vinyl is your best option.  Why?

Pros of Heat Transfer Vinyl Printing

  • You can customize each shirt according to how you want them to be (even if, for example, each has a different name design)
  • You can have lots of shirts with different colors at a more economical cost
  • When the purchase orders are just for 20 pieces and lower it is still more economical
  • Prints “where is, at is” meaning the design you have prepared is what you will see on the shirt, same quality
  • Capable of printing color gradients or complicated color schemes
  • Is faster to do than silk screen printing

Cons of Heat Transfer Vinyl Printing

  • Generally, can be washed off faster than designs that use screen printing but with TeckWrap Crafts HTV, you’ll have the most durable designs.
  • If you need to print more than 20 pieces heat transfer printing is not suitable
  • Borders are required for complicated designs

How to Print Custom T-Shirts Using Transfer Paper

Custom T-shirts are printed using transfer paper made of  Polyurethane (PU) or Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) materials.  

You will notice that the vinyl (short for Poly Vinyl Chloride or PVC) paper has two sides.  One is matte and the other is glossy side.  The matte side has an adhesive material that’s heat sensitive.  While the other side which is glossy is made of a plastic carrier sheet.

Step-by-Step Guide to Heat Transfer Printing Using Vinyl

So, you have finally made up your mind that you want to try heat transfer vinyl printing at home.  This article will guide you all throughout. So, worry not!

Let’s start with the materials or supplies you need.

Supplies to Gather When Heat Transfer Vinyl Printing Your Custom T-shirts

  • Heat transfer vinyl
  • Cutting machine (Silhouette, Brother, or Cricut)
  • Weeding tool or pen
  • Cutting mat
  • Heat press machine or EasyPress machine
  • T-shirt of the color you want

TeckWrap Craft’s Heat Transfer Vinyl comes in all sorts of designs that will make your custom shirts as interesting as you want them to be.

Some examples:

Colorful Camouflage Heat Transfer Vinyl

Colorful Camouflage Heat Transfer Vinyl

Ombre Glitter Heat Transfer Vinyl

Ombre Glitter Heat Transfer Vinyl


Puff Heat Transfer Vinyl

Puff Heat Transfer Vinyl


Glow-in-the-dark HTV


glow-in-the-dark HTV


TeckWrap Craft’s Mini Heat Press Machine- The Handy Dream Machine of Every DIY Crafter

Mini Heat Press Machine

Product Details

The Mini Heat Press Machine is a dream come true for DIY crafters. This small heating device might be mini in size, but it has high functionality and is perfect for both crafting novices and enthusiasts!

The mini heat press machine is a very handy and useful gadget at home. It is an all-in-one, hand-held heat press machine for those who love to work with heat transfer vinyl transforming T-shirts, hats, and shoes into stunning pieces of art.

What T-shirts Can You Use for HTV Printing?

The best t-shirts for heat transfer are cotton shirts, polyester, or cotton/poly blends.  Using HTV on these shirts ensures a good bond and a lasting design.

But what if my designs are intricate, should I use HTV?

When you want to print a multi-colored design with details that are so hard to do with HTV that’s where Sublimation Printing comes in.

Sublimation Printing

Sublimation printing is a digital printing method that uses heat to transfer the print on any sublimation blanks.  The process is done by printing on a sublimation sheet using a printer.

The process of transferring the design is called heat press, and the same heat press is done with HTV, enabling the design to be transferred to custom shirts.  The permanent transfer takes place as the heat cools off.

Sublimation printing is less prone to fading, and you’ll get the exact color of the full image.

Supplies to Gather When Sublimation Printing

  • Sublimation paper
  • Inkjet printer with dye sublimation ink
  • Thermal tape
  • Scissors
  • Heat press machine

Sublimation Sheets at TeckWrap Craft

sublimation paper

Dark Transfer Paper and Light Transfer Paper Printing

Other types of printer paper for your custom shirts and other fabrics are dark transfer printer paper and light transfer paper. They are the main material for this type of printing.

If you want to print on light-colored shirts, you may use light transfer paper. Ensure that it uses a mirror image or not.  You wouldn’t want to waste your transfer material.

If you need to print on dark-colored fabrics, what’s recommended is dark transfer paper.  And remember not to reverse the image if you use transfer paper for darker shirts.

You’ll still need a printer with pigment ink, a cutting machine, and a heat press machine.  And before printing the final design, print it using regular printer paper to ensure that the printer will print your desired transferred image. Some printers will print it as a mirror image.  

So, check out some tutorials to explore more about this characteristic.

Is it advisable to use dark or light transfer material for specific shirt colors?

Yes, it is advisable to use dark or light transfer material when printing on shirts as much as possible.  But this is only applicable when printing a small number of shirts because the overhead costs are too high for printing large batches.

Furthermore, the prints may become stiff and get ruined when directly ironed.

Let’s get it on and start printing!

As you begin with the process of printing your own custom t-shirt, put in mind that in practically everything else in this world, practice makes perfect.  

After ensuring the requirements and tips that your image editing program offers, you may now dive into the printing process.

Here are some easy-to-understand instructions on how to print HTV or sublimation on your shirts or even when you are thinking of starting your online t-shirt business:

Prepare the Design

You have to prepare the design for your custom t-shirts.  You’ll have to consider if you’ll be printing on dark-colored shirts or light-colored shirts in planning your design so you can choose the right colors.

Print the Design

As you load your transfer paper or your printable paper to your printer, you’ll notice that most transfer paper is the same size as your regular printer, and that is letter size or A4.

Remember, before you purchase a transfer paper make sure your printer can handle it.  Teckwrap Craft’s Transfer Paper like these Light Transfer Paper and  Dark Transfer Paper are all in A4 size.

Teckwrap Craft’s Transfer Paper
Teckwrap Craft’s Transfer Paper


Another reminder, you cannot just use any paper that you use when printing on a laser printer.  Most paper is for inkjet printers.  Check the transfer paper instructions to ensure you’re using the correct type of printer..

Do a test print first. Now, you may print the image onto the transfer paper, full page.  You may later on trim around the edges.

Cut the Design

Cut the design using your cutting machine.  Remember to mirror the design and test cut.

Weed the Excess Vinyl

Weed the excess vinyl using your weeding tool or pen.  This process ensures that the excess vinyl won’t be transferred to your garment.

Heat Press using an Iron

Heat press the design on your shirt using a heat press machine or a regular household iron.  Remember pre-press the shirt before pressing the design so it will be moisture-free.

This is the process for ironing on your Transfer Paper/Printable blanks.

  • First, ensure there is no water in your iron. If your iron has water, pour it out so it won’t give off any steam that may harm your design later.
  • Then,  before you heat press or iron on to its hottest setting, begin setting up a hard flat surface where you can do this well.  An ironing board is not recommended as it is too soft.
  • Heat the iron before ironing the shirt.  Do this by starting on top of the pillowcase until the shirt is completely flat before putting the design.  This ensures there are no wrinkles to go into your design. 
  • Place light transfer paper face down. While dark transfer paper is face up.
  • Ensure the image is straight, flat, and in the right position. 
  • Press the iron firmly by applying pressure with your whole hand.
  • There is a specific time you’ll have to do this ironing-on, usually around 30 seconds to a few minutes. Don’t forget to read the instructions.
  • Another thing is if you want to iron on your transfer to a light-colored fabric, ensure that peeling off the backing will have to wait until after it has been ironed on completely.
  • But it is the opposite with a dark-colored fabric, as you must peel off the backing before ironing on the design.


t shirt printing at home

Custom Print Shirts at Home using TeckWrap Craft


custom t shirt printing

With so many available designs at TeckWrap Craft and even beginner starter packs, you will never get bored printing your own shirts and flaunting or even selling them all later!

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