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How To Create A Large T-Shirt Transfer

How To Create A Large T-Shirt Transfer

Have you ever wondered how certain shirts manage to present themselves with a graphic that’s large enough to still appear cleanly? For medium-sized T-shirts, you may have heard of 8 inches being a good maximum width for heat transfers. While that size is ideal for most transfers, it might be rather small for those with finer details like text and additional shapes.  If you want to apply an oversized transfer to accommodate such details, you’ll definitely want to know how to do so properly in making a quality shirt. Before we dive into the process however, let’s consider what’s the best material to use for creating large T-shirt transfers.

While you can technically use any fabric-compatible heat transfer for this process, we’ve found that heat transfer vinyl is the best material to cut for larger heat transfers. To side with its consistent and solid nature when applied on fabrics, heat transfer vinyl is one of the more affordable and accessible materials. All you’ll need is a long enough sheet or roll of HTV, in addition to a cutter that’s at least 12 inches wide, which will still be able to cut wider designs in portrait orientation. If you’re customizing a white or light-colored shirt, other good choices are light heat transfer papers, like Neenah Jet Pro Soft Stretch for inkjet printers, and Forever Flex Soft for laser printers.

Though for polyester shirts, it’s best to stick to sublimation papers printed through sublimation printers like the Sawgrass SG1000. While the soft build of light heat transfer papers is well suited for cotton apparel, applying sublimation transfers on polyester tees always results in the most vivid colors on white tees, in addition to being permanently applied without extra depth from the transfer itself. Of course, considering what material to use should ultimately depend on the type of design you’re applying onto a shirt. Lastly, if you are creating a large transfer with any solid material, keep in mind that the more coverage your transfer has, the more heavy and uncomfortable it can feel when applied on a shirt.

With all this in mind, let’s get right into how to make a large T-shirt transfer. A key step to take before preparing your shirt’s design is to measure your desired transfer area at the center of the shirt’s front or back side. For more definitive measurements, you can slide your shirt into a mannequin, or have another or yourself wear it as you note them with tape measure. While measuring your shirt, you’ll want to make sure to not go edge to edge in width, as attempting to create a transfer like so will result in hidden details when worn. As soon as you lock in the width and height of your transfer, you can start creating or preparing your design based on these measurements. Feel free to note these measurements for future reference, especially when customizing a batch of the same or similarly-sized shirts.

With your design finished, it’s now ready to be cut or printed as a transfer. As we’re demonstrating this process with Siser EasyWeed Stretch HTV, we’ll first save and import it to our cutting software. If you use a Vinyl Systems cutter for your materials, you’ll first need to configure your material’s cut settings on the cutter itself. For heat transfer vinyl, we set our cutters with 80 to 125 gram Force, 400 to 650 millimeter Speed, and adjust the blade to where it's sticking at about one-fifth of an inch, or to about a business card’s thickness from the blade holder. If you’re unfamiliar with how to use a Vinyl Systems cutter or SignMaster, we recommend checking out our tutorial videos on them linked below. But with the cutter prepared, you may now load your material to it, position your blade if necessary, then send your design to be cut.

Once the cutter is complete, take your material out to weed and trim it, then it’s now ready to be applied on a T-shirt. With your heat press powered on, you’ll want to set it to the proper press settings. For most of Siser’s EasyWeed HTV line, this will be 10 seconds at 305 degrees Fahrenheit with medium pressure. To be sure that you’re applying your large transfer at the center of your shirt, we recommend using a graphic alignment tool like the Tee Square It to precisely place your transfers. When applying HTV, you can also apply a small fold to the top of the transfer’s carrier sheet, which can then line up to the center of the shirt. Once your transfer is in position, cover it with a protective sheet and press.

When the timer hits zero, open your machine and peel the transfer at the recommended warmth. For EasyWeed transfers, you may peel them either hot or cold and they will now be permanently applied to your shirt. Now that you know how to create a large T-shirt transfer, your versatility as a business-owning creator only increases. Not only will larger transfers make weeding more intricate details easier compared to 8 inch wide transfers, but you can offer this as an option to your customization service. Some notable applications for large T-shirt transfers are sports jerseys, concert tees, and designer apparel, all of which are perfect opportunities to start expanding your business’s options with.

If you’re interested in sharing your applied large T-shirt transfers with us, alongside a growing community of heat transfer and customization enthusiasts, feel free to join our HeatPressNation Creators Facebook group at heat.press/FBgroup. But to learn more about heat transfers and other tools and supplies, please visit us at HeatPressNation.com. For any questions, be sure to get in touch with a MyExpert representative at support.heatpressnation.com.

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