DIY Custom Tee-Shirt

Let’s go ahead and address the white elephant on the page right now, and state the obvious: I’m a nerdbomber.  Not simply a  member of the ‘club,’ but one of the leaders.  I’m secure with it.  and, we’re moving on.

To celebrate turning 6, we hosted a pirate themed birthday party.  Originally a simple plan was highly influenced by all you creative bloggers out there, and one thing lead to another…. And, well let’s just say the end result no longer falls into the ‘simple’ category.   This is one of the projects I did for the party originating from blog inspiration.

Yes.  A DIY custom tee-shirt.  Utilizing pirate lingo.  Hubby wore one too – but his assigned title had a nicer ring to it {that wouldn’t take much!}.


Between $0-$30.

Mine was free!  I used an old tee shirt {tee-shirts like a little upcycle love too!} collecting dust in my closet {I would like to add I tea stained it before applying the graphic – I didn’t want you to think I’m that dirty!}, and already had everything else.  If you do not have Citrasolv on hand, it costs about $11.  I have heard that it can be a bit challenging to find it in stores, in which case order online.  I called my local health food store, and they happened to have it.  :)  Reading a DIY blog, I assume you have all the rest.



Time to Complete:

30 Minutes

Materials Needed:

  • Citrasolv
  • Spoon
  • Tee Shirt with Board Inside {so ink doesn’t transfer beyond layer of shirt intended}
  • Graphic of Choice
  • Computer
  • Laser Printer
  • Photo Editing Program
  • Printer Paper
  • Iron {Optional}
  • Rag
  • Scissors


Oh!  Welcome to the club!  Since you’ve read this far, that means you are considering doing this.  If you’re not already a member, let me be the first to welcome you to the Nerdbomber club! 😉

  1. Find a graphic, image, or font that suits your taste and needs.
  2. Size image or font to desired size for back of tee.
  3. Horizontally flip image.
    • Tip: If you are using words, this is necessary or they will appear backwards after the transfer.  If you are only using an image than this step is optional.
  4. Print modified image off.
  5. Center image on back of tee.
  6. After image placement has been determined, place graphic ink side down onto tee shirt.
  7. Apply small amount of Citrasolv to rag, and wipe rag over a small section of image.
  8. With some muscle, use back of a spoon to transfer the image from the paper to the fabric.
    • Tip: Small movements, sometimes using almost the side of the spoon with some elbow grease behind it should do the trick. Technically you are supposed to use the back of the spoon I believe, but as you continue to transfer graphics you will find certain movements and angle spoon is held will work better for you than others.
    • Tip: If you have not done this before, you may want to practice a couple times on a piece of scrap fabric first.
  9. Once that section of the image has been transferred, move on to the next section.
  10. Repeat steps 7-9 until entire image has been transferred onto tee-shirt.

    Don't you just love the dirt under my nails? I'm choosing to view that as a sign of progress.

    • Tip: You may want to occasionally check to see how the image is transferring to see if you need to go back over any spots. 
  11. For graphic on front of tee-shirt repeat steps 1-10.
    • Tip: When working with images that are smaller in size, you really don’t need to break it down into smaller sections.  The reason I do this on larger images is to help prevent the ink from bleeding.  When the Citrasolv is applied, but not burnished, the ink tends to run since it’s not ‘directed’ where to go.
    • Tip: It is recommended by the manufacturer to iron the graphic after transferring. I have tried with and without the ironing. Personally, I can’t tell a difference.


Sundae Scoop @ I Heart Naptime , Not Baaad Sundays @ Lamb Around, Nifty Thrifty Sunday @ Nifty Thrifty Things, Sunday Showcase Party @ Under the Table and Dreaming, M.M.M. @ C.R.A.F.T., Made by You Monday @ Skip to My Lou, Craft-O-Maniac Monday, DIY Project Parade @ The DIY Showoff, MTW Cuter Mondays, Craftastic Monday @ Sew Can Do, Mad Skills Party @ Mad in Crafts, Motivated Monday @ Be Colorful

Sew Cute Tuesday @ The Creative Itch, Take a Look Tuesday @ Sugar Bee Crafts, Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays @ Coastal Charm, Anti Procrastination Tuesdays @ New Nostalgia, Tutorial Tuesdays @ Hope Studios, Topsy Turvy Tuesdays @ I’m Topsy Turvy, Tuesdays Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Talent Tuesday @ Wintage Wanna Bee, Too Cute Tuesday @ Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Show Me What Ya Got @ Not Just a Housewife,

Tip Me Tuesday @ The Tip Junkie, Tuesday Time Out @ Reasons to Skip the Housework, Craft and Tell @ Cherished Bliss, Inspiration Board @ Carolyns Homework, Creative Boggers Party and Hop @ Homemaker on a Dime, Tuesday To Do Party @ The Blackberry Vine,

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