DIY~Back To School T-Shirt

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It’s that time of year when the air outside starts to cool off and all the kids are packing their lunches to head to school. Making customized t-shirts is the most popular use of heat transfer vinyl! Read on to learn how to make your own customized back-to-school shirt for anybody!


imPRESSED HTV (black bundle)
-teflon sheet (we include a bonus sheet in our Assorted Color bundle)
-home iron or heat press
-cutting machine (I used a Silhouette Cameo)
-weeding hook or craft tweezers
-blank t-shirt

STEP ONE: Create design in software

Open your software program (I used Silhouette Studio) and either import a pre-made design, or create one of your own. I am making a shirt for my little boy that says what year he will graduate High School (gasp!) so I just typed up the text.

Next, change the font to your liking. I love this font because it is so collegiate!

One trick when you’re designing in your software is to add fill color to the text. That way you get a better idea of what the design will end up looking like.

Now because we are using heat transfer vinyl, we cut on the backside of the vinyl. So we need to mirror our image before cutting. To do this, right click your design and select flip horizontally. 

STEP TWO: Cut out HTV design

Once your text and design is ready to go, grab a sheet of black HTV from your black bundle.

WIth shiny side DOWN, place it on your cutting mat.

Go to your cut settings window and select Smooth Heat Transfer. Be sure to adjust your blade accordingly.

Load your cutting mat into your machine and let it get to work!

STEP THREE: Weed HTV design

Once your design/text has been cut, start to peel off the vinyl that is not part of the design.

Use a weeding hook or a pair of craft tweezers and peel out the insides of the little letters.

Continue until the whole design has been weeded!

STEP FOUR: Iron HTV onto t-shirt

Once the design has been weeded, turn on your iron or heat press. Iron your shirt to smooth out any wrinkles.

Now place your weeded HTV design onto your shirt. You can move it around as much as you’d like until heat is applied.

Place your teflon sheet over the design and firmly press it for 20-25 seconds for each area.

Here is the key to imPRESSED vinyl: Wait at least 1 minute before peeling the carrier sheet off. This is a COLD peel vinyl.

Once your design has cooled, gently peel off the carrier sheet. If any part of the vinyl starts to lift off, place the carrier sheet and teflon sheet back down and add some more heat and pressure.

Now you have your very own customized t-shirt! Another idea for this shirt is to make it in a large size and watch your child grow into it more and more each year. Happy crafting!


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