By: Jonathon Hardcastle

For an artist, selling something he or she has made is really gratifying. As many of them admit, it's one thing to get feedback from people they know, but there is something about a complete stranger liking their art piece, design, song, painting, or idea, so much that they actually decide to pay money to acquire it. But today's software programs and easy-to-do techniques can turn anyone to a T-shirt designer. By following simple guidelines you can increase your skills to that of an T-shirt printing expert, given the fact that you have never worked at a T-shirt printing company. From creating your environmental organization's theme T-shirt while cleaning your local park to adding a new garment for your kids' soccer match next weekend, making your own T-shirt can be an exciting and genuinely artistic experience for everyone involved.

You hear other people say it is an easy and fun thing to do for a special event, but you lack the confidence needed to pull this off. Well, it is time to stop thinking that you are incapable of exploring this type of artistic expression as customizing your clothes can be really fun as well as extremely simple; even if you mess up the first time there is always room for improvement. All you will need are some regular household supplies, like an iron and an iron board, a white or lightly colored T-shirt, a clear dry pillowcase, your choice of crayons, some pieces of white paper, a pair of scissors, and some transfer printing paper which you can purchase from your local craft store.

You may begin by designing your own image using any of the software programs in your computer's memory, or you can choose from a vast variety of ready-to-use designs stored in the image bank of the software you select to use. Insert by copying and pasting the images you want to print into a blank page document and resize the icon so it fits the screen and it does not cross the boarders of your document's ruler. For greater impact, you can add text along with the image. If you are doing this with your kids, a clever idea is to print your child's favorite picture or phrase and let them select the type of colors they want to illustrate their T-shirt's theme. The phrase "Best Friends," for instance, can be placed above the picture itself, or be placed one upon the other so as to create a more "personal" effect. Be careful of the coloring you will use for the phrase as you do want it to be visible when you print it. Group the image and wording together so you can move them at the same time and then flip your grouped images horizontal in order to create a mirror image that will appear correctly when ironed onto the T-shirt.

Then it is time for the actual transfer. Print the design you have just created onto the transfer paper. Leave the transfer paper somewhere safely to dry completely; it is best to follow the specifications of the paper's manufacturer. After your image dries, you can cut with the scissors any excess paper living a thin -inch margin around the printed area. Preheat the iron to the hottest setting and prepare the surface you will use to press your design onto the T-shirt. First, place a pillowcase on the surface and iron it so as to eliminate any existing wrinkles. Then place your T-shirt on top the pillowcase and iron it as well. Put the printed transfer paper onto the surface of the T-shirt you want it to appear and iron it for at least 2-3 minutes. Move the iron from the corners to the center and be sure to press it with at least 50 pounds of pressure. Then let your T-shirt cool down before attempting to remove the paper from its surface. Ten minutes later you can remove the paper by holding the T-shirt with one hand and peeling the paper from any of its corners with the other. It's that simple! So, try this easy-to-do T-shirt printing project next time you want to surprise someone with a thoughtful gift and I am sure the outcome of your efforts will astonish you.

About the author:

Jonathon Hardcastle writes articles on many topics including Recreation, Jewelry, and Toys

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