If you feel like you’ve seen the same graphic tee on all your friends and desire something less conventional, bringing your designs to life is a start. It is a way for you to unleash your creativity, and maybe if all goes well, your designs can pave the way for future business. After experimenting with patterns and illustrations, you can branch out to different clothes.
The t-shirt is an essential staple for most people. It is simple to wash, comfortable to wear, and can match just about everything. It is the ultimate casual wear. There are three ways you can integrate your designs with your t-shirts:
- DIY with fabric markers and silk screens
If you want to DIY your graphic tee, the classic style is either to freehand or use a stencil. For freehand, you need fabric markers or fabric paint and brushes. You cannot use regular markers, because they tend to bleed when washed. Fabric markers are dyes that will maintain their colour and seamlessly integrate into your t-shirt. If fabric markers are not available, you can use fabric paint to freehand. Remember when working with paint, try to keep an even consistency and avoid clumping.
For a neater look, make a stencil and with a silkscreen transfer the colours layer by layer. To create your stencil, you can cut out the pattern on thick paper or thin cardboard. Using the silkscreen is the most traditional way to transfer your design, but it is also the most time-consuming. If your designs make use of more than three colours, it is difficult to do bulk orders.
- DIY with transfer paper and a printer
The alternative to silk screening your designs is digitising your art and printing it on transfer paper. You can find transfer paper in your local craft store or purchase it online. After you print your design on the transfer paper, iron it on your shirt. Then it’s done. It is significantly easier to do for beginners; however, the finish doesn’t quite match up to a silkscreened shirt. You need to set the design’s colour and resolution correctly, or else your final output might not translate very well.
- Collaborate with printing houses
If you feel like you lack the time or technical skill, you can work with garment printers. They take your design and do the rest of the work for you. They make use of a variety of methods at different price points so that you can get a silkscreened shirt or a printed one. If you want to add extra customisation for a more textured look, some companies such as Mato & Hash also tend to offer embroidered designs. Besides, after they create your shirts, they would also ship them to your door. For small businesses, this is probably the easiest way to produce your graphic tees in bulk. They source everything from shirts to ink/paint.
With these three different ways, you can find one that suits your ability and budget best. Say goodbye to mass-produced designs and wear your unique creations.