Printing on T-Shirts

Today I’ve been printing Pikachu! We have a birthday party to go to on Monday, and just like my boys, the birthday boy is a big fan of Pokémon, so I’ve customised a plain Tee with a picture of everyone’s favourite Pokémon as a little gift for him.

Pikachu tee 1

The Pikachu drawing is by Tommy, one of my boys, who is a really talented artist… it is very useful to have an endless source of his Pokémon/Looney Tunes/Adventure Time pics to choose from for birthday cards etc.! This is one of his Adventure Time pics – hand-drawn then scanned and coloured digitally.

Adventure Time

And for readers of a certain age – Danger Mouse, drawn a couple of years ago now:

Danger Mouse

Can you tell how proud I am?

But back to the T-shirt, in case you fancy having a go yourself….

I use iron-on heat transfer paper to create the print for the T-shirt (I buy it from Crafty Computer Paper, which has a fabulous array of goodies if you are into this kind of experimentation) It’s really easy to use with an ink-jet printer – you just scan in the image you want to use, pop the special paper into your printer and then print it out.

Pikachu tee 2

Once the image is printed, you cut it out (you don’t have to cut very accurately if you are transferring it onto a white T-shirt – I had to do a fairly precision cut for my yellow Tee), peel off the backing, then iron the transfer onto the T-shirt. Ta-da! As you can see, the transfer paper is only semi-translucent, so you need to use it on a light colour fabric – but there is a dark fabric version available too, if you want to try it out. I first used this transfer paper a few years back now, and was worried about how it would wash (I thought peeling and cracking would be a problem), but it has been fine, and the transfer has had more longevity than the T-shirt itself!

It’s a really fun activity to do with your kids (Introduction to Ironing – Lesson 1!) and great for making personalised gifts. No one else is going to have a Pikachu T-Shirt quite like this one…

8 thoughts on “Printing on T-Shirts

  1. What a perfect present: a character that so many children want, made different by using your son’s drawing. Thank you for explaining how you do the printing.

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