Using Software & Technology to Design & Print Your Own T-Shirts

Have you ever seen a cool T-shirt that got your imagination going, leading you to think of some T-shirt ideas of your own? If you’re like most people, you probably put your ideas out of the mind, thinking that designing and printing a T-shirt would be a difficult project. Or, maybe you are one of the few that actually placed an order for custom-designed T-shirt. Well, no more. New technology and software packages make designing your own T-shirts something you can do at home. You can even use your bathroom with a bug light as a light safe room. And, you can even print your transparencies on an ink jet printer.

How It’s Done

You’ll start by using an artwork program such as Corel Draw or Adobe. The first step is to upload your artwork which you are software then converts to a vector format.

Once your artwork is loaded in the program, your begin separating the colors into layers. Beginners might want to start with a simple design such as black on a white background. Your art is then printed onto a transparency using an inkjet printer. The screen, or layer, is coated with a light-sensitive emulsion in a darkened light safe room. Next, you’ll tape the transparencies to screens and ensure that they are lined up properly. The screens are then exposed to a UV light. Afterward the transparencies are rinsed and dried, and you’re ready for the printing press. The layers of the screens are carefully realigned on the press. You then load ink and print, using a squeegee for pressure. As the ink passes through the open parts of the screen, it leaves your design on the shirt. The last step is to cure each layer of ink with a heat gun. That way the design will set and not wash off your T-shirt.

That’s all there is to it. You can go from a blank T-shirt to a finished design in 10 easy steps.

Please include attribution to with this graphic