Amazing Tools

Tools professionals and amateurs use for home and garden improvements

How to create a cool t-shirt using a vinyl cutter and heat press

If you’ve often thought of creating your own customised t-shirts bearing your favorite characters or family name, or just about any design that you wish to have, using a heat press machine will help you accomplish that project. The process is quite simple. With little research and following a few instructions, you can definitely design a personalised and unique t-shirt.

Step 1 Choose a unique design

You can draw this yourself or you can get inspiration from the web. For beginners, simpler designs are recommended. Test first some non-intricate styles before proceeding with the complicated ones.

Step 2 Print your design

Transfer the design to a paper by using a laser jet printer or inkjet. The image must be reversed using a program or a photo editor such as Photoshop. Another thing to remember is to use the paper’s film side for printing.

Step 3 Use a vinyl cutter to have the transfer paper trimmed

You want the black areas of the design to be cut out so they won’t get transferred to your t-shirt. Any uncolored parts must be trimmed. Vinyl cutters are generally ideal for one-colored designs.

Step 4 Prepare the heat press machine

Temperature selection is crucial. The printing machine will come with a user manual. You should be able to see the manufacturer’s instruction about proper temperature settings. Basically, the essential thing to know is the thickness of the fabric of your t-shirt. Thin fabrics require low heat while the thick ones require higher level of heat.

Step 5 Start the heat transferring process

Place the t-shirt on the side of the platen where you want the design to appear. The transfer paper or the design should be facing down the t-shirt. Close the press and turn on the start button. Heat press machines have a timer feature so you know when the design is already transferred to your shirt.


The process of using a heat press machine to create custom designed clothing is simple. This is also a good investment if you are thinking of a t-shirt selling business. That said, each of the tools and equipment we’ve mentioned in this article will have their own way of working so you should always read through the manual first. Another great place for inspiration is YouTube and you can see how others are using the same or similar models to create cool products. As is the case with a lot of creative tasks, you need to practice to hone your skills and perfect them, so put the time in to create cool products and don’t settle for poor quality items.

If after some time you wanted to take this hobby and make it a business, here’s a lot of information you need to know about fabrics, the best place to source them and professional equipment. What we’ve discussed in this article is mainly related to home and DIY cutters and heat presses, but as you develop your business and need a faster turnaround, you may need to invest in more professional equipment.

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