Have you ever wanted to put your design on a piece of clothing? Maybe you have an old shirt that needs some updating, or maybe you just want to make a statement with your style.

There are plenty of companies that can do this for you: all you need to do is upload your design to their website editors, and they can ship it out to you. But, come on, who wants to pay all that extra cash when you can do it yourself?

How To Put A Picture On A Shirt Without Transfer Paper

The easiest way to do this is by using transfer paper, but not everybody has this material lying around in their homes.

If you have clicked on this article, you are likely looking for an alternative method to put pictures on a piece of clothing without transfer paper.

So, how do you do it? Is it possible?


In this article, we will show you the best ways to put a picture on a T-Shirt without transfer paper. We will also give you tips on what kind of designs work best.

So, let’s get into it.

Tools Needed For This Project

We are going to be looking at a handful of different methods you can use to add a picture to a t-shirt, or any other piece of clothing.

To be able to successfully transfer a picture onto a t-shirt without transfer paper, you will need these tools at hand:

Method 1: The Plastic Wrap Method

  • A plain t-shirt (any color)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Parchment paper
  • An iron
  • A print of the picture you’ll be transferring

Method 2: The Gel Medium Method

  • A plain t-shirt (any color)
  • A piece of chalk
  • A paintbrush
  • Gel medium
  • An old towel
  • A cloth
  • A spray bottle
  • Water
  • A print of the picture you’ll be transferring

Method 3: The Printing Onto Fabric Method

  • A plain t-shirt
  • Fabric scissors
  • Freezer paper
  • A piece of fabric (light colored)
  • An iron
  • A sewing machine

Before You Start

Before you start any of the three methods above, please note that there are certain things you should know before you begin.

You will need to have the image ready before you begin, whether it needs to be printed out beforehand or not.

The most important thing to do is to decide what image you want on your new t-shirt. You can use any image you want, whether it is a photograph you have taken yourself or an image from online.

It is essential to remember that you will need to flip the image before using it. When transferring the image onto the fabric, the picture will appear backwards, so if you don’t want this effect, then you must reverse the image first.

Also, keep in mind that the size of the image you choose will determine the size of the final product. So, if you plan to buy a large t-shirt, you may wish to choose a larger image than if you were planning to buy a small one.

You will also want to have a clear, clean area to work in.

Now that you know everything about putting a picture on a t-shirt without using transfer paper, let’s move on to the next section.

Method 1: The Plastic Wrap Method

How To Put A Picture On A Shirt Without Transfer Paper

This is probably the easiest way to go about doing this project.

Providing you have all the tools that we mentioned earlier in this article, you should be ready to begin your project.

Make sure everything is ready to use, and placed in an easily accessible area, so you can grab each tool when you need to use them.

Let’s get started.

Step 1: Wrapping Your Picture

You should already have your image printed out, and ready for use.

Grab the plastic wrap, and carefully wrap your picture up. You will want to ensure that there are no creases or wrinkles anywhere on the wrapping.

Make sure you cover every inch of the surface with plastic wrap, so you don’t end up getting any air bubbles inside the wrapping.

Once you’ve wrapped your picture, make sure you seal the edges tightly by folding over the ends of the plastic wrap. This will help prevent any unwanted air pockets from forming.

Step 2: Placing Your Image On The T-Shirt

Once you’re done wrapping your picture, you will now place it directly onto the shirt.

Work out where you want the image to go, and make sure it is the correct size for your shirt.

Place the image upwards, so that the image is facing you. Otherwise, you will end up with a blank piece of paper on your shirt, as the image will be upside down.

Once you have placed the picture in a suitable location, take some parchment paper and place it over the top of the image. This will prevent the iron from sticking to the plastic wrap, melting the image, and ruining your shirt!

Step 3: Ironing The Image

All you need to do next is turn your iron onto its highest setting, and use it to iron the image onto the shirt.

Make sure that you have used the iron to heat every area of the picture, including the corners. If you don’t do this, the image may peel off once you have finished.

Once you have ironed the image, you will need to wait for the shirt to cool down. If you try removing the parchment paper too early, you risk having the image come loose from the shirt.

Once the shirt has cooled down, remove the parchment paper and enjoy your new customized t-shirt!

Method 2: The Gel Medium Method

Gel medium is a type of gel that is often used by painters to create interesting effects on their canvases. It is similar to acrylic paint but is more flexible and easier to apply.

It comes in different colors and finishes, but you will want to use a clear gel medium if you plan on creating a transparent effect.

Step 1: Tracing The Image Onto The Shirt

Once your picture has been cut out to the shape you require, lay it out onto your shirt in the position that you want it to be in.

You will then need to take your piece of chalk, and trace an outline around the image.

Once you are happy with the outline, you can move the picture to the side. You will then want to take the old towel, place it inside the shirt, and lay it out flat. This is to prevent the gel from leaking through the fabric of the shirt.

Step 2: Apply The Gel Medium

Make sure that the area that you are working in has been completely covered in newspaper or a plastic sheet to protect your surroundings.

Take the paintbrush, and use it to apply the gel medium onto the image itself. You will need to cover every single inch of the picture to ensure that the entirety of the image comes out onto the t-shirt.

Step 3: Place The Image Onto The Shirt

Next, you need to carefully place the image face down onto the shirt, using the chalk outline as a guide.

If you have applied the gel medium correctly, there should not be any gaps between the image and the shirt. If there is, you may need to reapply the gel medium.

When you are satisfied with how the image looks, you can press the image down onto the shirt, making sure it is fully stuck onto the fabric. Then, leave the image to dry overnight.

Step 4: Remove The Paper

Once the image has fully dried, you will need to fill the spray bottle with some cold water. Spray the water onto the image, making sure the paper is completely soaked.

Then, use the cloth to gently rub the paper away. Once the paper is gone, the image should have successfully transferred onto the shirt.
Enjoy your new custom t-shirt!

Method 3: The Printing Onto Fabric Method

This method involves printing directly onto the fabric. There are many different types of inkjet printers available today, so you can choose whichever one suits your needs best.

Step 1: Meld The Material To The Freezer Paper

Place your small piece of fabric onto the shiny side of the freezer paper, and use an iron to make sure that it sticks well.

Once this is done, fold the sheet over so that the fabric is facing upwards. At this point, the fabric should have successfully adhered to the freezer paper.

Step 2: Print The Image Onto The Sheet

Next, you will need to prepare your chosen image on your computer or laptop. Use the correct settings to ensure that it is printed in color, black-and-white, or whichever type of print you prefer.

After you have completed these steps, feed the fabric sheet into your printer. Make sure the fabric side is facing the right way so that the image prints onto the fabric, not onto the freezer paper!

Then, set the image to print. Once it has been printed, allow the image to completely dry.

Step 3: Sow The Image Onto Your Shirt

Once the image has dried, remove the freezer paper from the fabric. Now, you will need to cut around the edges of the image, leaving about half an inch all around.

Lay your shirt down, and get your sewing machine ready.

You will then need to sew the image onto your shirt, checking beforehand which position you want the image to be placed in.

The result should be a perfectly sewn image onto your favorite tee!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many methods for transferring images onto clothing. However, each method has its pros and cons. It’s up to you to decide which method works best for you.

For example, if you’re not very experienced with sewing machines, perhaps you should avoid the third method. We recommend trying the first method first, as this is probably the easiest method that can be completed by anybody.

We hope you enjoyed our guide on How To Put A Picture On A T-Shirt Without Transfer Paper.

Good luck with your next project!