DO IT! Why not? Then we can suffer together! Seriously tho, why do you hate yourself? Do you have THAT much to say? Yeah, me neither. lol
Does anyone blog anymore? Now THAT would be a cool shirt, no?
Yes, the ideas are endless. The plan is to come up with something that is worth dragging the heat press out to iron on.
So you have an idea, what do you do with it? If you can draw, sketch it up. Do so either in your favorite computer design program, or, on paper. If it is something you can take a picture of, do that. In either case, import it into your favorite design program, work an invert, trace, posterize, or bitmap conversion. From there, make it as detailed as you are willing to work on it. Give yourself some time to find you eye for working something into a usable image. To silk screen or cut in heat transfer vinyl, you will want to take a different approach with each type of design to suit the medium.
HTV is cut in reverse on the substrate. This rule can become mute for images that can be flipped but text you’ll want to be able to read the right way unless you’re making shirts for people who chase cars so drivers can read them in their rear view mirrors. Always cut and weed a sample piece before doing a bulk cut to check sizing and make sure no corners are sticking and to insure you did remember to reverse the art/text. Refer to the instructions that came with your HTV. I use Siser easy weed. I launder and tumble dry all the garments pre press with diluted Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds. Doing so is important to remove any starch or finishes on the garment, and to shrink the material so it doesn’t pucker and mess up the design on the first wash.
The design part is the funnest. The cutting is work and the pressing is the real work. Preparation makes for a smooth finish. People loving and wearing your designs is the reward!
Always watch the machine or be in the same room when it is cutting. I’ve had more than one long strip of HTV go rogue in the middle of cutting, slashing thru the material in a loosened frenzy of self annihilation. If you catch it quick you can save yourself some material loss.
Weed all your cut material and stack it HTV side up. Heat your press. If you are making all one thing, you won’t need to divide the work by size.
Pre-press garments to remove any moisture. I press the whole shirt so they finish neat, ready to wear, and professional! If I am doing a multiple shirt order, I stack them on top of each other and fold them as a whole, tucking the sleeves and bottom and neck line towards the back, not creasing the design. Or if you are delivering, bring them on hangers for best results! I use the maker’s tag to line the front image centered.
I don’t have the room to silkscreen but if I do something small, I use acrylic paint with a fabric additive to soften it. Typically silkscreen ink needs solvent for clean up and that’s just too much for me to deal with. I am able to make vinyl of art to put on plexiglass to use to make the screen depending on the design. That’s about all I can commit to at this time.
The hardest part for me is knowing when to stop! I put jammer stars on hoodie hoods lol, do words or designs down sleeves, pockets, derrieres, front and backs, of course!
The weeding and pressing is the real work you are getting paid for. Each garment gets a pre press, then press the design on, peel and re-press with silicone mat. VOILA! Done! Depending on the design the weeding may go smooth or you may need magnifying glasses, especially if weeding white HTV. That stuff will make you think you are going blind!
I love doing custom work. People come to me with their design idea and I make their ideas come true. The down side to doing custom work is sometimes people will ask you to make something cringy, or inappropriate. I won’t make anything I don’t want my name on or that is hate speech of any kind. That’s not my scene. I’ve get better things to do than make people a billboard for their mental limitations. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for free speech. But unless you are helping, you are harming, and I don’t want that on me.
A problem with being a small shop and doing ‘one of’ designs is the shirts are relatively inexpensive but the shipping cost $12+ for a single shirt to get to me to work on. I don’t have the space, or overhead to keep every size, color on hand. So I do prefer doing at least $200. a run but that is not a rule, I will do one of you are willing to pay to cover costs, materials, shipping, and work.
Have a neat idea that you want to brand but don’t have money for equipment and materials? There’s plenty of awesome sites like Cafepress, Redbubble, etc., who can make your design right on product for you. Cafepress even has a wholesale purchase option you can use of your own designs to sell at fairs or festivals. Pretty darn handy!