Use your Mac to make a lovely keepsake from your favourite digital photo.
Your Mac is useful right out of the box, but with our tips and tricks, you can make it a complete home-entertainment and work centre.
What you'll need:
- Any Mac
- A colour inkjet printer
- A smooth, firm surface
- Specialty iron-on printer paper and iron
Step 1: Select a photo and edit as needed
The print you get on your T-shirt can only be as good as the photo you select. Therefore, you must spend some time to take a good picture and edit it as needed.
Edit the picture
Click any digital picture you have on your Mac and it'll probably open in Preview by default. Preview doesn't offer much in the way of editing, though; in fact, there's only one command, and that's Tools > Image Correction.
iPhoto is a better solution. With iPhoto, you can click Enhance and get immediate and professional results. You also can remove red-eye and apply other changes. You can get more information from iPhoto's Help files.
Finally, if you want to add some text to the image, you'll need a third-party application such as Photoshop to do this. In Photoshop or a comparable application, you can create space around the image for adding text, which allows you to add text without putting words on the picture itself.
Flip the picture
Almost all iron-on transfer paper we've seen requires the image be printed in reverse (using the printer's mirror image or reverse feature), so when you place the paper facedown on the T-shirt and iron it on, the text and image appear in the correct direction. However, it's much easier to reverse the image beforehand so you don't have to wade through the printer preferences. To reverse any image:
- Open the edited picture in Preview.
- Click Tools > Flip Horizontal.
- Save the image.
Step 2: Purchase the proper paper
You'll need to head out now to your local camera store, superstore, or office supply store, and purchase the paper you'll need for this project. Specifically, you need iron-on transfer paper for inkjet printers. You won't need any special ink, though, making the cost of creating your one-of-a-kind shirt almost nil.
Make sure to read the instructions on the paper and understand which side faces toward you when you put it in the printer. Also, read the directions carefully for creating the transfer, including how hot the iron should be, how to wash the garment after, and any other precautions that should be taken.
Step 3: Print the picture
Since every Mac comes with Preview, that's what you'll use to print the picture.
- Put the paper in the printer in the correct direction. You'll need to read the manufacturer's instructions to know which side is up.
- Right-click the edited picture and select Open With > Preview.
- In Preview, click File > Print.
- Select your printer.
- Click Advanced.
- From the drop-down list, select Paper Type/Quality.
- For Paper Type, select what is recommended on the packaging that comes with your iron-on transfer paper. There may be several options, just in case all of them aren't available to you. On our Mac, there's no iron-on transfer option, but there is an option for Photo Paper, which will probably suffice.
- Change quality to Best.
- Make sure you'll be printing on the plastic, glossy, side of the paper.
- Verify that the image has been reversed (and do not reverse it again in printer properties).
- Click Print.
- Remove the page from the printer and let it dry. Do not print multiple copies and let them lay on top of one another while still wet.
Step 4: Heat up the iron
Iron-on transfer paper can be finicky. We'll suggest you don't try your first transfer on an expensive piece of clothing! Instead, create a few small printouts to test on an old T-shirt first. To apply the transfer to the material:
- Turn on the iron to the level suggested by the paper's manufacturer and let it heat for 10 minutes. Do not use steam.
- Iron the material so it's wrinkle free and let it cool.
- Select a smooth and firm surface such as Formica and place the shirt on it.
- Place the transfer facedown on the shirt. The glossy, plastic side should be facing toward the shirt. You'll iron on the paper side.
- Iron from side to side and evenly for as long as the paper manufacturer suggests. Apply even force and heat. Usually it's about 30 seconds.
- Immediately pull off the transfer paper. Do not let it cool. If it sticks to the shirt, reapply heat for 10 to 20 seconds.