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How to Use a Shirt Press to Print Your Own Shirts

A Step-by-Step Tutorial

As a teacher, there are several cases where I find myself needing custom shirts. A while back I invested in a heat press, and it was the best thing I ever did! In this tutorial, I'm going to walk you through the steps of making your own screen print shirt. Here are the steps:


Screen print transfer

Plain shirt


You'll begin by designing or finding a design that you want to print. The beauty of screen printing vs. vinyl is that you can literally put an image, logo or design you want on the shirt. I used quotes for my shirts.

FM Expressions has been my go to source for my heat transfers. The quality is amazing, and it is super easy to upload your design and order. The more transfers of the same design you order, the cheaper each one is. These will need to be transparent designs. If you don't know how to make an image transparent, check out our tutorial. Below are some of my designs.


Preheat your press to the setting provided with your heat transfer. For the transfers I use, I set the press between 325-375 degrees, depending on the shirt I'm printing on. I purchase shirts from and I've been very happy with the quality and shipping speed!

Once the press is heated up, you are ready to pre-press your shirt. This will remove any unwanted wrinkles so your transfer lays flat.

Place your shirt on the press plate, and position the shirt so even amounts hang over each edge. Lower the handle and apply firm pressure. My press has a countdown timer I can set...mine is set to 7 seconds.

When the timer beeps, I raise the handle and the shirt should be free of wrinkles.


Now you are ready to print your shirt. Place your transfer face down, making sure to position it exactly where you want it. Remember, this can't be fixed if you press it in the wrong spot.

Lower the handle again, and wait for the timer to beep. Raise the handle and quickly peel the transfer backing paper. If you notice that the ink still sticks to the backing as you peel it up, carefully place the edge of backing back down and press again.

Let the shirt cool down and that's it!

Once you get the hang of it, this process is so easy and QUICK! It takes no more than a minute for each shirt we do. Going to try this one out yourself? I'd love to hear how these projects go for you! Check out some of our examples below!

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I have been wanting to try this instead of all the vinyl I do. I have just been too nervous to try! After reading this I will probably give it a go!


Bree Blanton
Bree Blanton
Dec 14, 2020

Ive always wanted to print on my own t-shirts but never knew how, this definitely helped me learn!


One of my favorite things to do. Wish I had more time to enjoy


Oh yes!!! I’ve wanted to learn this for awhile now!! Thank you!


I love these designs. You made great shirts for our work. Thank you

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