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How to create your own t-shirts at home

Is it possible to create your own t-shirts at home?

If you mean, manufacturing the t-shirt, It’s difficult. 

But I guess what you want to know is: Can I print t-shirts at home?

And the answer is yes.

Making t-shirts at home is a process. And for this process, you need 3 things:

  • A design
  • The t-shirt
  • To print the t-shirt

The most difficult part is printing the t-shirt.

And there are 4 main ways to print t-shirts.

The horrible way

The difficult way is: buying a screen printing kit. Learning how to screen print. And printing your t-shirts.

And it’s the difficult way because:

  • You need to invest money. 
  • You need to learn, and you can’t learn in a few months. There’s a learning curve.
  • It’s a mess. Screen printing involves inks, chemical products, unpleasant smells, and other bad things. This is not a technique suitable for a home. It’s more suitable for a factory, or a warehouse.

It’s not impossible to do. I do it. That’s my business. But it took me 2 years to dominate the screen printing technique. And I have a warehouse.

The expensive way

There’s an even more expensive way to print. It’s using a DTG (Direct to garment) printer.

I wrote a post about DTG’s. Take a look at the post:

Is it possible to start a t-shirt business with only a t-shirt printer (DTG)?

The stupid way

Sorry to call it stupid. But it is stupid.

And the stupid way to create your own t-shirts is using digital transfers. Digital transfers are made with a special paper, and printed in an Ink Jet, or Laser printer.

Then you transfer the design to the t-shirt, using a heat press.

Heat press to create your own t-shirts at home
This is what a basic heat press looks like. The basic models are inexpensive (less than $200)

The problem with this technique is the quality of print.

It’s not very resistant to washing. 2 or 3 washes and the design fades.

This kind of technique can be used to sell customized t-shirts when the quality is not important. If t-shirts are going to be used only one (or never), that’s OK.

A t-shirt for a birthday, or for a reunion, doesn’t need much quality.

But if you want to keep selling to the same customer, digital transfers are not the solution.

You’ll have a lot of complains.

The best way

The best way to create your own t-shirts is to buy screen printed transfers, and using a heat press, applying the design to the t-shirt.

Digital transfers and screen printed transfers are completely different things.

And the only similarity is that they both need a heat press.

Screen printed transfers can only be made by professionals, using the screen printing technique.

They are very resistant to washing. The colors are vivid, and they can be used in dark or light t-shirts.

So this is your best choice to create your own t-shirts at home:

  • it’s a low investment
  • the risk is low
  • but you can make a lot of money