Graphic t-shirt using heat transfer vinyl

Graphic t-shirts are hot this summer!  You can find them everywhere, but why grab one at the store when you can make one? While I was at SNAP conference last month, I picked up some Expressions Vinyl. I have been digging these racer back t-shirts from Wal-Mart of all places {can't beat the $4.97 price tag!} and now I've been embellishing shirts til my hearts content. I love making custom t-shirts, and nothing is more custom than one you create on your own.  Heat transfer vinyl is so easy to use that you will be whipping shirts out like a pro in no time!

It's no secret that I have a soft spot for Africa.  I've been there twice in the past year but the souvenir t-shirts aren't very awesome, so I decided to create one of my own.  I found a graphic that I liked and used this tutorial to create my image on my Silhouette.  Don't forget to mirror your image! I am not going to lie, it took like a half an hour to cut this bad boy out, but man was it worth it!

The hardest part when you are making such an intricate design is deciding what to weed out and what to leave.  I started by peeling the back off {the largest part of uncut vinyl} and seeing what was left. Then I just started working from there.  I couldn't believe how well the expressions vinyl cut in my machine!  Settle in with a good show on Netflix because the weeding process will take you a few hours but it's totally worth it!

I decided to leave a few of the scraped off pieces to make the shirt look like it was screen printed. The heat transfer vinyl is sticky, so you can lay it flat on your t-shirt and decide if you like it where it's at.  If you don't, simply pick it up and move it.  I used a small piece of cotton on top of my HTV and ironed it on the highest setting for about a minute covering the whole surface.

I've used a lot of HTV and I was really impressed at how easily this stuck to the material.  All I had to do was pull up the plastic sheet once it was cool and my image had been transferred.

I can't believe how easy that was to make my own custom graphic t-shirt. Every time I'm amazed! Seriously, for a design so intricate I was blown away at how easy it was to create. I am obsessed with expressions heat transfer vinyl now!  It's all I'm going to use from now on.

Do you have any custom graphic t-shirt ideas? Share them with me.  I may just try them!

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