Making Fun Shirts for Special Events

Want to make matching shirts for a family event?

A quick and fairly inexpensive way to do a group of shirts is iron on designs. Here is how simple it can be.


  • InkJet printer
  • Image editor app
  • Standard Iron
  • Iron on transfer paper
  • Shirts


  • Purchase your paper from any craft store. Buy extra sheets, testing and accidents make extra sheets essential.
    • One style is for light color fabrics only, this is the least expensive and will do best on white, any white in your design will not be printed. It will just show the color of the shirt it is put on. Any space left around your image may turn out glossy depending on your method of pressing it on. The instructions in the package will tell you how to get the results you want.
    • The other style is for dark fabrics, it will be printed on a white background. You can trim it to fit your design or leave the whole page if you want it to look like a printed photo. This will have a plastic feel to it. This will soften as the shirt is washed numerous times.
  • Create your design. Read your instructions carefully for light color paper you print the mirror image of the print because it will press on the opposite of what your print looks like. For the white transfer sheets to press onto dark shirts you print it exactly as you want to see it. Test your design on regular paper first to make sure you get what you expect to see.
  • Print your design onto the transfer paper, the instructions will tell you which side goes up. You must print on the correct side of the paper or you will get a mess.
  • Line up your transfer onto your shirt. Find the center of the neck, sometimes this is where the tag is printed but some shirts can have the tag printed or sewn in crooked. Line up the straight lines in your design with the threads in the weave of the fabric. This may take a bit to figure out but it is important to how the shirt will hang when worn and can result in a crooked print on the shirt if you are not careful. Sometimes you can easily see where it goes.
  • Heat up your iron, the paper you choose will come with instructions on how hot to set your iron and how many seconds to hold the iron on each section of your design sheet.
  • Remove the transfer paper quickly if you want a more matt look or leave it on to cool if you want a glossier finish.

You may want to do a practice run on an old shirt or cotton fabric scrap to determine how your transfer will look when you are done.

When you wash out your shirts be certain to use cool water and turn them inside out. If they need pressed don’t iron directly on the design, use a sheet of parchment paper to prevent the glue or plastic background from melting onto your iron.

You should be able to accomplish the transfer from the paper print in about 15 minutes per shirt, creating your design will take as much or little time as needed to perfect the design for your shirts.

Finally dress your group in their new shirts and off to the event you go!

This article was written by Teri H

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