StickerYou Blog

How To Put a Picture On a Shirt At Home

May 14, 2024  |  
Woman wearing a t-shirt with a picture

Starting a project to turn a plain shirt into a custom piece of clothing is a thrilling adventure in DIY fashion. This task mixes creativity with careful execution, demanding a sharp eye for detail and the proper tools to achieve a great result. 

Join us as we guide you through the process of DIY shirt printing, where you’ll learn how to imprint your favorite images onto fabric, turning everyday garments into unique expressions of your personal style.

Step 1: Pick the Right Shirt

Selecting the ideal shirt is a foundational step in the DIY picture transfer process. The choice of shirt, influenced by its color, fabric, and compatibility with various printing methods, plays a pivotal role in the success of your project.

Printing Method

Choosing the right printing method is vital for the longevity and vibrancy of your design. Inkodye is renowned for its resilience but requires shielding from extensive sunlight exposure. Transfer paper options should boast high washability rates to endure routine cleaning. Delve into design tutorials to refine your printing technique, ensuring your shirt reflects a professional touch. Embrace these insights to craft a shirt that not only captivates visually but also withstands the test of time.

T-shirt Color

The color of your shirt sets the stage for your design. It's imperative to match the shirt color with the dye or printing method to ensure design prominence. Consider how the shirt's hue complements or contrasts with your image. For printing precision, gather all necessary tools and materials in alignment with your color choice. Engage with DIY guides and troubleshooting strategies to navigate any color-centric challenges during your printing journey.

T-shirt Fabric

The fabric of your shirt serves as the canvas for your creation. It dictates not only the comfort but also the effectiveness of the print. Evaluate how different fabrics interact with your chosen printing method. Durability is key; hence, select a fabric that promises longevity for your design. Consider how your chosen hues will manifest on the fabric, and ensure your design files are optimized for the best printing outcome. Knowledge of proper ironing techniques is also essential to preserve the integrity of your print.

Step 2: Prepare Your T-shirt Design File

Preparing your design file meticulously is important for a successful print. Utilize robust design software to craft your image, paying close attention to color choices and graphic details. A minimum resolution of 300 DPI is recommended to ensure clarity. Tailor your file to suit the printing method you've chosen, whether it's screen printing or heat transfer, to facilitate a flawless application of your design onto the shirt.

Step 3: Apply Your File To the Shirt

Applying the design to the shirt demands precision. Whether using a heat press or iron-on method, the goal is a seamless transfer. Post-application, allow the shirt to cool, setting the design firmly. If you're exploring manual methods, ensure accuracy in design placement for an impeccable finish. Be mindful of the chosen method's durability and be aware of copyright considerations during the image transfer process.

Method 1: Printing On Transfer Paper

This method involves the use of transfer paper as a medium to imprint your design onto the shirt, offering a straightforward approach to DIY shirt printing.

Purchase T-shirt Transfer Paper

Acquiring the right transfer paper is pivotal for a successful print. Assess whether you need paper for light or dark fabrics and ensure it's compatible with your printer. Understanding heat press techniques is vital for a robust transfer. Properly sizing and aligning your design on the paper is key to a successful application.

Print Your Design On the Paper

Print your design precisely, ensuring alignment and sizing are perfect for the shirt's layout. Selecting the correct paper type and printer settings is essential for a quality transfer. If you're exploring alternatives to traditional transfer methods, consider the unique qualities each brings to the table.

Cut Out the Image

Cutting out your design demands meticulousness to avoid any unwanted borders or rough edges. Consider the design's placement on the shirt carefully before cutting, ensuring it aligns with your vision. Precision in this step is crucial for a clean and professional-looking transfer.

Cover a Hard, Flat Surface With a Cotton Pillowcase

Preparing your printing surface with a cotton pillowcase ensures a smooth and even area for the transfer. This step is key to avoiding unwanted ink transfer or smudging, setting the stage for a successful application of your design onto the shirt.

Set Your Iron So You Can Use It As a Heat Press

Adjusting your iron to mimic a heat press involves setting the correct temperature and ensuring even heat distribution. This adjustment is essential for the transfer paper to properly adhere the design to the shirt, contributing to the durability and quality of the print.

Place the Paper Onto the Shirt

Positioning the transfer paper accurately on the shirt is vital for the desired placement of your image. Ensure that the shirt's fabric is suitable for the ironing process to avoid any damage or misprints. Correct placement and adherence to ironing instructions are key to a successful image transfer.

Iron the Image Onto the Shirt

Iron the design onto the shirt with careful attention to heat distribution and pressure. Ensuring the entire design is adequately transferred without overheating is key for a vibrant and lasting print.

Let the Area Cool and Then Peel the Paper Off

Allowing the printed area to cool before peeling off the transfer paper is essential for the image to set properly on the fabric. A slow and steady peeling process ensures the design adheres well to the shirt, revealing your personalized creation.

A t-shirt with inkodye around it.

Method 2: Printing On Your Shirt With Inkodye

This alternative method utilizes Inkodye, offering a unique approach to shirt printing that harnesses sunlight for image development.

Lay Your Shirt On a Flat Surface and Iron It

Ensuring your shirt is wrinkle-free and smooth is essential for an even Inkodye application. Ironing the shirt prepares it for the dye, setting the foundation for a successful print.

Insert a Piece Of Foam Core or Cardboard Into Your Shirt

Inserting a stabilizer such as foam core or cardboard prevents dye bleed-through and maintains the shirt's shape during the printing process, ensuring a clean and crisp image transfer.

Create a Frame Where You Want To Place the Image

Framing the area for your design helps in defining the boundaries for the Inkodye application, guiding you to a precise and targeted print.

Place Your Negative On the Inked Part Of the Shirt

Aligning the negative accurately on the inked shirt is important for the sunlight exposure process, dictating the clarity and detail of the transferred image.

Expose Your Print To Direct Sunlight

Sunlight activates the Inkodye, developing the image on the fabric. Ensuring adequate exposure is key to achieving a vivid and durable print.

Remove the Negative

Carefully removing the negative post-exposure reveals the final print, showcasing your design imprinted on the shirt with the unique characteristics of Inkodye printing.


By following these detailed steps and addressing common queries, you can embark on a rewarding journey of personalizing shirts at home, infusing your wardrobe with a touch of individuality and creative flair.

How do the different DIY methods compare regarding durability and washability?

Understanding the durability and washability of different DIY printing methods helps in selecting the right approach for your needs, ensuring your design remains vibrant and intact over time.

What are the legal concerns when using copyrighted images for t-shirt designs?

Being aware of copyright laws is essential when selecting images for your shirt designs, ensuring your creative process remains respectful of intellectual property rights.

How can someone with little to no design experience create an attractive t-shirt design using these methods?

With the plethora of design tools and resources available today, individuals with minimal design experience can still create stunning t-shirt designs, exploring their creativity while adhering to simple design principles.