How to Print Vinyl T-shirts to Sell by Collette Costello – Fashion Courses & Short On-line Tutorials Series

Vinyl Printed T-shirts

Recently I tried out starting a personalised t-shirt company called “Kiku Custom Kids”, as a new company you have to offer something the big shops can not, with the success of Not on the High-street customised clothing is big at the moment and something only a independent can deliver.  So I choose to make and sell personalised vinyl printed kids clothing and bags, I found personalised flower girl t-shirts and pyjamas were my best seller.


How to Vinyl Print T-shirts

Vinyl printed t-shirts are a great alternative to screen printing, screen printing is expensive to set-up, it can cost around £30 to have a screen made for one design and then you need to buy all the other equipment and inks.  I am quite messy, so whenever I try screen printing the ink ends up everywhere and often I would ruin the  t-shirts.  Vinyl printing is great it is very clean, you can print as many designs as you want easily in different colours.

You will need:

Silhouette Machine

T-shirt Vinyl

Heat Press


All the items you need I purchased on-line, the t-shirt Heat Press was about £90 from Ebay, the Silhouette Portrait Machine Cameo was around £140 on Amazon, good t-shirt vinyl is sold by a company called Greenstik Materials again on Amazon and finally t-shirts can be purchased near to £1 at Firelabel.  For £250 you can easily start your own printed t-shirts company and start selling on-line see my blog “Where to Sell Fashion On-line Shops” for sales advice.

Using the Silhouette Machine

The silhouette machine comes with its own designs, they are quite naff so I would recommend doing your own on Illustrator.  The machine comes with its own software so you need to convert your files to SVG’s, I used this easy to follow You Tube video to tell me how, “How to export artwork from Illustrator to Silhouette Studio”.

Once you have your designs, up-load the Silhouette software disc onto your computer and you are all ready to go, be sure to change the settings on the Silhouette machine to cut t-shirt vinyl,  For information on how to use the actual machine it comes with instructions or again I looked at videos on You Tube and could recommend this one “Setting Up Your Silhouette Cameo Machine”.

******  Remember for t-shirt vinyl have a mirror image of your final design cut. *******

Now your design is cut, weeded, time to transfer onto your t-shirt with the heat press, your heat press should come with instructions of how long you need to press the print for and how long.  I purchased a Teflon sheet to protect my t-shirts.  You can also use an iron to apply, I tried this at first and it often damaged the vinyl, burned the t-shirt so would not recommend it.  This video uses a industrial cutter, but the idea is the same, it shows you how to weed and heat press your vinyl onto a t-shirt “How to make your t-shirt with a Heat Press and Vinyl cutter”.

So if it is just for fun or to start your own business good luck and check out the rest of my series “Fashion Courses & Short On-line Tutorials”.

My Experience:

“Custom kids t-shirts for special occasions such birthdays and flower girl.  I trialled the company concept last year and had steady sales from Facebook page visitors going onto my E-bay store.  My products were not making a profit due to the following, I could not buy t-shirts in bulk, my printing process at home was slow and I had to rely on Facebook adverts for customers and delivery, E-bay costs all added extra charges. All this was due to lack of start-up funding.  Therefore I would spend money on stock, pre-printed t-shirts in wholesale quantities increase profit. I could offer stock initially to shops on sale or return and have enough stock to sell at markets, so I would not have to rely on Facebook ads for sales”.


One comment

  1. […] To start any fashion company you need money, I started two types of fashion businesses one with £3500 in grants selling digitally printed dresses and the second a personalised kids clothing company for £250.  To learn about both companies read my blog posts “How I started a On-line Fashion Company” and “How to Print Vinyl T-shirts to Sell”. […]


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