Need a lot of t-shirts for your fraternity or sorority party? And fast? Just get some blank t-shirts and a few supplies for heat transfers, and you can have your printed party t-shirts in bulk in no time!
Custom t-shirt websites charge up to $30 per t-shirt for a simple one-color, one-sided t-shirt and generally take at least a week or two for printing and delivery. But you can make your own fraternity or sorority party t-shirts in bulk much quicker with heat transfer paper, extra printer ink, and a few items you already have in your fraternity or sorority house. You can save your organization a lot of time and money by making your own event t-shirts.
Heat transfer printing is very simple. All you need are some t-shirts, a computer, a printer, heat transfer paper, and an iron or a heat press. If you don’t already have a design for your party t-shirts, you can use any simple graphics program on your computer to create the design you want. Once your design is all set, flip it horizontally to set it up as a mirror image, and then print the design onto the heat transfer paper as you would print any document from the computer. Trim the unprinted areas off of the transfers so the film against the unprinted areas will not end up on the shirt. Next, set up the film and trimmed pieces faced-down on the t-shirt as desired and apply heat using your iron or heat press to seal the image on the fabric. With that, your first t-shirt is already finished!
Heat transfers work well with many fabrics. To make your fraternity or sorority party t-shirts in bulk, 100% cotton or 50/50 cotton/poly blends are ideal. The Anvil 779 is just one of many great t-shirts that will please your fraternity brothers or sorority sisters. It is a plain 100% preshrunk cotton t-shirt available in bulk in a variety of 32 colors and 7 sizes ranging from S to 4XL. If your sorority sisters would prefer a t-shirt with a more feminine fit, the Gildan G200L is a prime example of a simple 100% preshrunk cotton t-shirt cut for a woman with smaller sleeves and a narrower fit. This t-shirt is available in bulk in 24 colors and 7 sizes ranging from XS to 3XL. Some common and trusted brands with great t-shirt lines to browse through are Gildan, Fruit of the Loom, Anvil, Hanes, and Jerzees. And to help you plan and print your party t-shirts even faster, 98% of ShirtsInBulk.com orders arrive next day.
Believe it or not, the standard inkjet printer you use for class papers is the best tool available for printing on heat transfer paper. The finished t-shirt looks like the same great product when printed by either an inkjet printer or a laser printer, but laser printer transfers generally do not hold up to washing. If you already own a laser printer and would like to try it out, start with printing just one or two t-shirts and try washing them a couple of times to see if the image is still intact. Not only are the costs of the inkjet printer and ink significantly less than the laser printer and toner, but the t-shirt printed with an inkjet transfer still looks like new after many washes.
Heat transfer paper is a special kind of paper covered with a film. This film is known as carrier paper, and when heat is applied, the carrier paper is able to transfer the image to the t-shirt. Ink does not have the ability to bond with fabric on its own, and this film acts as the fusing agent. Quality heat transfer paper can be found in 8.5”x11” and 11”x17” sizes and generally costs about $1 or $2, respectively, per sheet, but you can find some great deals for up to 50% off from a lot of suppliers when purchasing in larger quantities. If you’re shopping for heat transfer paper at the last minute, you can find it in office supply stores, but it may cost a lot more.
With any heat transfer you will have to cut out the shapes of the design before pressing them. If you leave any blank space untrimmed, the film will attach it to the t-shirt, and your shirt will look sloppy. If you have a paper cutter on hand, it can really help cutting out any straight lines in your design by speeding up the process and making the cuts much neater as opposed to cutting out each part with scissors. If you are very tight for time, make the design fit into a simple rectangular box that you can cut out quickly. Or if you really prefer having irregular shapes as part of your custom design, you can always get some of your fraternity brothers or sorority sisters together to help cut everything out.
The last important piece of the process is the heat source. Any standard clothing iron will suffice to transfer your images onto your party t-shirts, just make sure you do not use an ironing board. You want to use the most consistent and even heat and pressure as you possibly can to transfer the image to the fabric. Find a hard surface, place a towel on top of the t-shirt, and move the iron in circular, overlapping motions while transferring the image. Depending upon how many t-shirts you need to make, it might be a good idea to gather some fraternity brothers or sorority sisters to split up the ironing and ease the work for your arms.
If you really enjoy making your own event t-shirts, a heat press would be a good investment for your fraternity or sorority. It will certainly ease your arms the next time you need to make a lot of t-shirts, but even more importantly, your t-shirt designs are guaranteed to look great. Even a very small and inexpensive heat press will ensure there is equal heat and pressure on the carrier paper. There are two basic types of heat presses, the platen press sometimes known as a clamshell press, and the rotary drum press also known as the swing away press. The clamshell has a simple design like a photocopier and works best for small projects. The swing away is designed with the upper platen that lifts up and tilts away from its operator and is known more for mass quantity printing jobs.
And that’s how you can make t-shirts for your fraternity or sorority party fast! These same heat transfer printing methods and supplies can be used to print your custom fraternity or sorority designs onto other fabric items such as tote bags, shorts and sweatpants, and even mouse pads. College is the best time of your life, so you’ll want to make the most creative and memorable t-shirts you possibly can!