Customized hoodies are very popular. People wear customized hoodies to represent themselves or their favorite band, company or group. They are made in many different ways and for many purposes, but the best way is by using screen-printing equipment. Let’s see how it’s done!
How do you make customize hoodies?
– blank cotton hoodie
– paper shirt template (can be printed)
– embroidery hoop the size of your paper shirt template so it fits well inside it. The embroidery hoop should be able to stretch a bit smaller than the shirt to give you room to move it around, but not too big or it will stretch out your material.
– chenille stem
– embroidery thread
– screen printing kit (can also be used for iron on)
1. Print the design/logo you want to apply onto your t shirt. You can either print it yourself on an inkjet printer or have a custom graphic artist who specializes in graphics design create one for you specifically for this application. Be sure that the information is of high quality and clear if you plan to use stencils (which are made later). If there are words involved, spell check them!
2. Find some cardboard that is similar in thickness to five to six t-shirts stacked on top of each other. Do some test prints to see how the image comes out and adjust your printer accordingly? Print the design without any coloration (meaning black) onto this piece of cardboard using an inkjet printer or a laser jet printer if you have one available.
3. Cut around the printed design leaving about an inch of extra space all around. If you are working with words, use your stencils now!
4. Stick your printed paper shirt onto the cardboard shirt template by lining up one edge to straighten it out as best as possible then gently pressing down along all edges to ensure that it sticks well.
5. Stretch the embroidery knitting over the cardboard template so that it fits perfectly and with no excess material. If you find that there is too much material, pull the edges back and trim around the cardboard with a ruler and your scissors to make it as precise as possible. Cut off any extra material from the bottom edge of your shirt.
6. Stretch out your stencils and place them on top of each other (not overlapping though) and center them over the design you printed onto your cardboard template. Trace around all stencils using a pencil with an embroidery hoop in between them for even tracing – this will ensure that they look exactly like they do when they are applied later to the hoodie!
7. When you have traced all stencils accentuate their outlines by going over them with your pencil again. Make sure they are all of very good quality and ensure that there are no thin or sloppy lines. This is where most people make mistakes, but these mistakes will be seen through the stencils when you place them onto the fabric to print on!
8. Stretch another embroidery hoop over your cardboard template which has all of your traced stencils, pulling the edges of your material across evenly with one hand while cradling the hoop into place with your other hand. When this second hoop is in place, pull up on it to see if any part of any of your stencil designs are not straight or have become skewed due to stretching while pulling everything together. If so, fix them immediately! Fixing them later will only result in ruining your hoodie and having to start over from scratch.
9. Cut out around all stencils so that they are entirely separate from the shirt template underneath them. The cut should be very close to the edge of all designs so it’s almost like you’re cutting through each design rather than cutting around them instead. What this means is that when you unfold your stencils after you’ve cut them out, there won’t be any extra material because it will have been cut off!
10. Place a piece of cardboard inside your sweatshirt where you plan to print on it with a pencil or erasable pen marking its location on the fabric itself. You don’t want to transfer ink onto the wrong spot so be sure to mark it.
11. Place your cut out stencils face down onto the pre-marked spot on the hoodie that you want them to print on – this is where your cardboard template underneath will come in handy because it’s already marked for you! Press down very firmly all over the entire stencil while holding its edges in place with some masking tape. Take great caution not to shift any of your stencils while doing this or else they are likely to get crooked again and ruin everything.
12. You are finally ready to print! Use a pressurized can of fixative spray (you’ll find these at art supply stores) by spraying about forints evenly across an area slightly larger than your stencil size. Hold the can about six inches away from its target spot and angle it so that you are spraying slightly downward to avoid spilling any of the spray onto your clothes or skin. Keep an eye out for over-spray!
13. After spraying, let everything dry for at least ten minutes before carefully peeling up your stencils. When you do this, be cautious not to smudge or smear any paint underneath them because if you do, there is no way to fix it without ruining the entire hoodie! Wait until they are completely dry before attempting removal.
14. Once all stencils are removed, press down again with a piece of scrap cotton fabric over each sublimated design to smooth out any bumps that the stencil may have left behind. You can also iron this area down if you don’t want to use a scrap fabric for whatever reason.
15. Leave everything where it is and allow your shirt to dry completely (usually about an hour) before moving on!
If you followed all of the steps above carefully, you should have a perfectly customized hoodie!