Guide on Decal Size for Shirts for Vinyl Printing

Printing decal vinyl on a shirt may seem like a touch-and-go process — cut the vinyl and press the decal. But that’s not it! To ensure the shirt looks great, you have to choose the right size for the decals, right?

The shirt decal placement depends on your preference, the type of design you have, and the shirt size. However, it’s better to have a basis when it comes to decal sizing and be aware of the common practices for t-shirt printing. Here you go

vinyl decal size on shirt
Glitter vinyl and Christmas Patterned vinyl on shirt
Creation by @sparklecraftvinyl

Decal Size Tips

Here’s the thing when it comes to vinyl decal sizes on shirts, what looks right for small shirts might look awkward on extra-large shirts. Of course, there are different sizes for adult t-shirts and toddler shirts as well. So here’s a summarized HTV size chart and several decal size tips:

Decal Size for Shirts for Vinyl Printing

Different shirt sizes using PU Heat Transfer Vinyl



Age / Shirt Size

Vinyl Size in Inches

Newborn Baby (below 6 months)

3x3 inches

6 to 9 months

5x5 inches

Older than 18 months

6x6 inches

2 to 3 years old

5x5 inches

4 to 5 years old

6x6 inches


vinyl decal size on onesies

Vinyl decal on different shirt sizes PU Heat Transfer Vinyl



Shirt Size

Vinyl Size in Inches

Extra Small

6.5x6.5 inches


7x7 inches


7.5x7.5 inches


8x8 inches

Extra Large

8.5x8.5 inches

  • For a youth t-shirt, place the design at least two inches below the neck opening.


vinyl decals on shirt

Gift ideas from TeckWrap Craft’s Facebook Page



Adult T-Shirt Size

Vinyl Size in Inches

Extra Small

9×9 inches


9×9 inches


9×9 inches


11×11 inches

Extra Large

11×11 inches


12×12 inches

  • For a regular shirt, place the design at least 3 inches below the neckline. For V-neck shirts, place the design at least 1.5 inches below the neck opening.


Shirt Size

Vinyl Size in Inches


4×4 inches

Hoodies or sweatshirts

12×16 inches

Under the sleeve

2.5×14 inches or 2×11 inches


4.75×2.75 inches

Full back designs for adults

11x11 inches


TeckWrap Craft’s Galaxy Heat Transfer Vinyl on a sweatshirt

Use Heat Transfer Vinyl for T-Shirt Printing

When printing vinyl on garments, heat transfer vinyl (HTV) or iron-on vinyl is used. Don’t get confused with adhesive vinyl as this is used on merchandise like mugs or tumblers. You can use HTV and cut a design using a cutting machine, weed it, and transfer the decal on the garment by using a heat press machine.


decals on shirt


Importance of HTV Size and Placement

Why is it important to pick the right HTV size and follow the proper placement? There’s one outcome: the shirt might look unprofessional. For instance, if the decal size is too small on a big-sized shirt, it will look awkward and misplaced. Also, it will look like a wrong-sized shirt.

On the other hand, if the decal size is too big for a small-sized shirt, it can be too close to the neckline, and the design would look too distorted. It’s important to have proper placement of the decal on the shirt and not just randomly place it on the shirt so it would look professional.

Misplaced decals on shirts should be rejected. This should not pass your quality control and should be rejected. Never risk the integrity of your brand and creations by selling or giving shirts with misplaced designs.

Properly Determine the Decal Size for Shirts

Now you have the idea of the suggested decal size for shirts, from the guide above, you have to remember t-shirt brands sometimes differ in size. The extra small adult shirts from Brand A might be of different size from the extra small shirt from Brand B.

Also, the size of the decal depends on where you intend to put it and the design you have. You may place a decal at the front and center for your regular t-shirt design. Or you have to print the design on the back of the shirt. Or for company shirts, the logo is printed best on the left upper corner.

That’s why it’s better for you to know how to measure the decal design manually. How do you do this? Take note of these steps:

  • Lay the shirt flat on your bed or a wide, flat surface
  • Decide on the placement and size of the design on the shirt
  • Using a ruler or measuring tape, manually determine the decal size that’s appropriate for the size of the shirt
  • Take note of the distance from all corners of the shirt. The blank space where the decal will not be printed should not be too small or too big.

Visualize the Final Design Before Cutting

After manually measuring the decal size, to make sure it looks nice you can also visualize the final design using software such as Cricut Design Space or Silhouette America software, whichever cutting machine you have.

You can use the software the visualize the decal size on the shirt size. Here’s what you can do before cutting the vinyl:

  • Browse for ‘Template Shirts’ on the cutting machine’s software
  • Depending on the cutting machine software you have, you can choose if it’s for female or male shirts
  • Insert the SVG file of the design on the shirt template
  • Resize the size of the design to see if it the sizing looks right

Correct HTV Placement on the T-Shirt

After you’ve determined the right size of the decal, you should learn how to properly place the decal on the shirt. You have to make sure it’s not distorted or misaligned so it will look professional.

For a front and center point decal and back decal placement:

  • Fold the t-shirt in half (lengthwise)
  • Iron the folded part
  • Fold the shirt on the top part of the shirt down and create a crease just under the armpits
  • Iron the folded part to form a line
  • Fold the bottom part of the shirt up for about 3-4 inches
  • Unfold the shirt, you can now see the grid lines where you can place center the design
  • If you want you can use a scrap paper on the center of the shirt as a reference of the design size

For logo or pocket print:

  • The logo for company shirts is best placed on the upper left side of the shirt (or the chest area).
  • To place the logo correctly, lay the shirt flat on a wide, flat surface (or your bed)
  • Place an imaginary line from the seam between the shoulder and neck opening.
  • Place an imaginary vertical line from the left armpit.
  • The right decal placement for logo printing is where these two lines meet.
  • If you want, you can draw chalk on the area as a guide.

How Do You Print Decal on a Shirt?

Are the tips on the proper decal size and placement becoming clearer? That’s great! Here’s a summary of how to print a decal on the shirt:

  • Prepare your design (SVG file)
  • Decide where to place the design on the shirt
  • Measure the size of the decal against the size of the shirt (as mentioned above)
  • Upload or create the design on the Cricut Design Space
  • Adjust the size of the decal
  • Don’t forget to mirror or Flip Horizontally the design. You need to mirror iron-on vinyl!
  • Prepare the heat transfer vinyl and place it on a cutting mat
  • Load the vinyl on the cutting machine
  • Adjust the settings of the cutting machine and test cut
  • Send the vinyl for cutting
  • Weed the excess vinyl
  • Prepare your heat press machine (determine the right temperature, pressure and time)
  • Pre-press the shirt for 5 to 10 seconds
  • Properly place the decal on the shirt before pressing
  • Press the design on the shirt
  • Remove the carrier sheet (make sure to check if the vinyl is hot or cold peel)
  • It’s done! Don’t fold the garment just yet, let it sit for 24 hours
  • Make sure to wait at least 24 hours to wash the garment

Aside from onesies, t-shirts, hoodies, and sweatshirts, you can print heat transfer vinyl on other garments as well. Canvas bags and pouches are a great business idea nowadays. When it comes to decal size and placement on other garments, the same concept mentioned above applies as well.

Inspiration of T-Shirt Designs

Are you looking for some inspiration for your t-shirt design? Perhaps you want to start a clothing brand with unique designs or just some gift ideas for your loved ones, here are some inspirational designs you can follow:


vinyl decal on shirt
vinyl decal on shirt
flock vinyl decal on shirt

Frequently Asked Questions

What size should a shirt decal be?

The size of a shirt decal should be proportionate to the shirt size. Design sizing will depend on the size of the shirt and your preferred decal placement. For instance, for adult sizes shirts, the size should be 11-14 inches. Refer to the guide above for the decal size for shirts.

How do I size a t-shirt design?

You can size a t-shirt design 2 to 3 inches below the collar. Make sure to use a ruler or measuring tape and find the center of the shirt by creating a visual line.

How big should a decal be on a large shirt?

On a large shirt for adults, the recommended design size is 11x11 inches. Give or take 0.5 to 1-inch. For extra-large shirts, the same size is recommended at 11x11 inches. For an extra-large adult shirt, the recommended decal size is 12x12 inches.

What type of vinyl to use on t-shirts?

The type of vinyl used on shirts is heat transfer vinyl. Do not use craft or adhesive vinyl. Heat transfer vinyl is available in different colors, patterns, and textures. Make sure to check out the selection at TeckWrap Craft.

Can I layer heat transfer vinyl?

Yes, you can layer heat transfer vinyl. It is recommended to layer upto three colors of vinyl. Also, specialty vinyl like glitter vinyl should always be on top. Make sure to read How to Layer Vinyl on a Shirt Like a Pro: A Step-By-Step Guide.

Summing It All Up!

There you have it! Just to recap what we’ve learned in this post, always remember to measure the decal size and it should be proportionate to the size of the shirt. If you find it hard to determine the right placement, fold the corners of the shirt and create a crease by using an iron.

The HTV size chart above is the recommended size of the decal. You don’t have to follow the exact recommendation. You can add or deduct 0.5 to 1-inch. Remember that not all clothing brands have the same measurements. American-sized and Asian-sized shirts are sized differently.

Lastly, it is recommended to use a heat press machine or EasyPress rather than a household iron. A heat press machine has more accurate temperature, pressure, and time settings, making t-shirt printing much easier. Lastly, enjoy what you do! Happy crafting!

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