Introduction: Instant T-shirt Design With Laser Printer

Picture of Instant T-shirt Design With Laser Printer

Make your special one-day t-shirt design and impress your friends, with an every-day-new t-shirt ;)

What U need:
- laser printer
- baking paper
- plain paper (on what u normally print)
- some kind of cutter
- double-faced scotch tape
- hard underlay (heat resistant)
- iron
- t-shirt

What U get:
- nice individual clothing

mostly after washing your cloth is just like before - without individual style
sometimes some black color will be left anyway
so, it's all on your own risk ;)

Deutsche Version (german version)

Step 1: Prepare the Design

Picture of Prepare the Design

I only own a b/w laser printer, so my motive has to be b/w, too.
I think this should also work with a color laser printer (haven't tried).

So choose or create what you want to get on your clothes.
In case that it is a DIN A4 printer I fragmented my writing in order to get it bigger than A4.
For even bigger things, just use more sheets.
Do not just cut your image. The border-zones schould overlap a little bit, this will make it easier putting them together in the right way.
And don't forget to mirror it!

Step 2: Prepare the Printing

Picture of Prepare the Printing

For transferring the motive on cloth, it has to be printed on baking paper.
baking paper isn't in printer friendly format, so you have to cut it in the format which is supported by your printer ;)

The next fact is: Printers don't like baking paper - they'll eat it and go on strike!
You have to make your printer believe it's a plain paper.
Use the double-faced scotch tape to mount the baking paper on the plain paper.
Baking paper should be a little smalle than the plain paper.
If your baking paper is coated on only one side, this side should be on top (you'll print on this side)

Step 3: Get Ready for Ironing

Picture of Get Ready for Ironing

After printing you should handle the sheet with care so that the toner doesn't leave the paper.
A little bit of the toner will be left in the printer so that your very next print gets "dirty" (at least in my printer) don't care ;)

Now you have to cut the motive into a usable shape - better use a cutter or scalpel than scissors (above named handle with care).

looks good so far

Step 4: Ironing

Picture of Ironing

last step:
For ironing you should use a hard underlay, otherwise the result will be ugly.
I used a sheet metal.
Before ironing you should test the position of the complete motive on the cloth - still handle wiht care.

Turn off the steam. Iron as hot as your t-shirt supports ;)
Iron the parts seperately.
Be sure to have everytime a baking paper between iron and toner.

At the beginning heat the complete part with the iron evenly.
Then go on from the border with some pressure, maybe use the edge of the iron.
While doing this, strip off the baking paper slowly - you will see wether the toner is on the cloth or on the paper -> should be all on the cloth.
Do not iron directly on the toner - the toner loves your iron much more than your t-shirt.

At the end all the toner should be on the cloth - nothing on the baking paper.

(the toner is black plasitc powder which melts on heat)


Jaidaa (author)2016-08-20

Does this work with pictures?

AndyL97 (author)2016-06-23

Would I be able to use toner based ink to print on opague heat transfer paper?

sdfgeoff (author)2012-11-10

My printer didn't like the baking paper even after sticking it down. It didn't jam or anything, but the toner wouldn't adhere to it at all. So it came out a massive black smudge....

BenT59 (author)sdfgeoff2016-02-06

mine did the same then i turned it over and it stuck perfectly

Scriptone (author)2012-02-11

Thanks for sharing your idea, its given me an idea!

pennyd (author)2011-08-27

I love this...if I could get it to work as well as the pictures. So here are some questions:
1. I am using parchment, is there a particular brand that works best? mine have all had about 1/2 the toner left on the parchment.
2.What about the temperature of the iron
3 it would be cool if you could trick the printer so it didn't heat the paper so you'd get a more pure print.

haamaan (author)2010-02-04

Where can i get the baking paper?

loricollins (author)2009-02-25

Is baking paper in the US parchment paper (in a roll) or perhaps waxed paper (in a roll). Thanks!

Dzwiedziu (author)2007-04-06

It would be a perfect method, but it's unusable witch black t-shirts :/ And so it's "only" great :)

kiwisaft (author)Dzwiedziu2007-04-06

would be interesting how color prints come out on black t-shirts. color laser printer anyone?

linam97 (author)kiwisaft2009-02-23

i tried this a while back for a school project and yea color works. its sticks well. but it messed with my laserjet 1600. now all my pages are pink and it runs low. and USE double sided tape. regular tape melts and gets stuck.

speedwell (author)2007-12-28

New T-shirts have a treatment on them that keeps them from getting wrinkled and dirty on the shelf. This treatment needs to be washed away. Pre-washing also pre-shrinks the shirt, which is important. Also, use ordinary 50/50 cotton/poly blend shirts for best results.

Daddio_UK (author)2007-12-26

Cool, i like it, yet to try it though.. you can often get cheap colour laser printers from pc/harware reclaimation yards

PaladinMark (author)2007-09-07

After a preliminarily pressing the iron flatly over the whole image (letters) at once, I found i needed to go over the whole thing applying pressure with the tip of the iron (the end of the flat bit only a square centimeter or so I guess, so more force was exerted over each bit) . Im guessing i could also improve the blackness of mine by printing twice on the baking paper, so that a thicker layer of toner is applied , though I have not tested that yet . God bless, Mark

kiwisaft (author)PaladinMark2007-09-07

better don't try to print twice on one baking paper - i think this would end up in a tonerpowder everywhere in your printer effect ;) better print on two sheets and iron both on the shirt. works fine

PaladinMark (author)2007-09-07

This is a really good free way of printing your own t-shirts. Thanks Kiwisoft

CaffeineHouse (author)2007-07-16

so... will wax paper work? most wax paper can stand up to quite a bit of heat. i want to know, but i don't want to kill my printer figuring it out.

netmasta10bt (author)2007-07-03

If it's a simple logo, i'd print an image and make a template, Then spray paint it.

jr rwigemera (author)2007-07-02

why laser printer @& not inkjet printer? please advise

kiwisaft (author)jr rwigemera2007-07-02

laser toner is plastic powder - perfect for ironing. you can't transfer ink by iron over it.

CatSteaks (author)2007-04-28

This is a great idea... havn't tried it yet(goin' to the grocery store for supplies tomorrow)

The "washing out" issue, could that be solved by this?
(found here

nice_iced (author)CatSteaks2007-06-07

A clear latex spray or scotch guard might work to keep it from fading. I've actually been wanting to do a little experiment by replacing the black powder toner of an old HP Laserjet 4000 with white powder coat paint. But I still use it and want to wait till I get a new one.

kiwisaft (author)CatSteaks2007-04-28

no, i don't think this will fix it. this works for ink, but toner is plastic powder :/

michou17103 (author)2007-05-14

I did a couple of colour prints today. Samsung clp 550 and parchment paper. They printed great and tranfered ok. I could us an old scholl iron with some real heat and it might have done a better job. My second attempt was even better, I pre-ironed the area before appling. I still think a heat press would be the cats meow.

kiwisaft (author)michou171032007-05-15

got some pictures?

hartl (author)2007-05-13

if you happen to have a xerox phaser solid ink printer around - try it with transparent paper. using photo print quality and white cotton gave good results. the solid ink (wax) has a lower melting point than laser printer dye (plastic dust) and penetrates the cotton fibers instead of sticking on them.

Astinsan (author)2007-04-30

What kind of printer... If your in windows you can set it to dark mode... most printers will default to econo mode. I know my OKI LED printer it doesn't work on at all.. but the HP I have it worked perfect... Gonna try color with a HP 4400 at a friends house..

kiwisaft (author)2007-04-28

maybe bad printer ;) i only know it works on my printer

freasafan13 (author)2007-04-23

What's wrong, I just printed a "Lost" logo and it won't transfer. What do I do?

somezack (author)freasafan132007-04-27

That won't work. The logo is copyrighted. :)

freasafan13 (author)somezack2007-04-27

So if I used a bloody personal picture that would make the problem all better?

somezack (author)freasafan132007-04-27

Maybe if you mailed a check to the Hanso Foundation?

whoschuck (author)2007-04-27

can you wash this as usual then? or will all the ink bleed???

pharoah (author)2007-04-07

Can you use wax paper for this instead?

xrobevansx (author)pharoah2007-04-08

NO!!!!! The wax coating will kill your printer! DO NOT ATTEMPT!!

paperseal (author)xrobevansx2007-04-25

just spend $25 on laser transfer paper for t-shirts, you'll fuck up your printer wicked bad

kiwisaft (author)pharoah2007-04-08

I think so, if it's heat resistant enough. Just try ist -my first attempts were with some pages from magazines

royalestel (author)2007-04-17

You can hand-wash the fabric and line dry to avoid toner smudges on other clothes, right? Favorite.

kiwisaft (author)royalestel2007-04-17

it's the safest way, but i don't think that hand-wash will remove all the toner. I haven't had smudges on other clothes after washing - i don't use/have a dryer

aych (author)2007-04-10

its okae.. but the carbon flakes off.. maybe my iron aint hot enough?.. cant even wear the tshirt for half a day!

kiwisaft (author)aych2007-04-13

you have to iron it that way, that there are many many little cracks in the black area, so the flakes will be smaller - then maybe rub away the loose ones and iron a second layer over it in the same way. i ironed it hotter on jeans, now there are still black blotches after a few waschings :( so could be that if u iron it hot enough, it will stay forever :) looking forward to your color results

aych (author)2007-04-09

my printer hp 1100 hated my parchment paper.. didn't stick at all.. i took it to my newer printer and it was ok. i used the vellum printer properties. i think it applied more heat to it.

aych (author)2007-04-09

im gonna try the color prints soon. i'll let you guys know how it turns out. for anyone who had a hard time finding "baking sheets" we sell it as parchment paper up here in Canada.

westfw (author)2007-04-06

Don't throw the resulting shirts in a clothes drier with anything you don't want to have toner smudges on :-(

xrobevansx (author)westfw2007-04-08

Thats what the ironing is doing...acting as a fuser in the printer. You are fusing the toner to the cloth...supposedly.

Magistrate (author)westfw2007-04-07

Mayby if you can fixate it or something ? It works with paint on a canvas so...

Williz (author)2007-04-07

could try black paper lol.

About This Instructable




Bio: freak
More by kiwisaft:megaposter curtain - as big as you like it!instant t-shirt design with laser printer
Add instructable to: