Properly Placing Your Artwork on Your Tshirt Printing Project

Published: 16th December 2011
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When beginning your tshirt printing project, it is crucial that you place your images correctly on the shirt so that they look their best. This is particularly important when you are placing an image on the left chest area. I'm sure you've seen T-shirts where the image is placed almost under the arm. We'll explain how to make sure that doesn't happen.

Tshirt Printing Across the Chest

Normally the maximum tshirt printing area is 10.53 x 83. When lining this up on any custom tshirts the top of the image is normally about 3 inches below the bottom of the collar hem.

This is determined by centering the image and also viewing where the line across the bottom of the sleeves would intersect. The image is centered so that the top two thirds of the image is above that imaginary line and the bottom third is below.

Printing In the Left Chest Area

This is somewhat trickier if you don't know the system. There is a procedure and guidelines that you can follow. The correct placement of an image or graphic in the left chest area is that the center of the image is directly below the collar hem at the top of the shirt and either sitting on the line from the bottom of the sleeves or slightly above it.

Now naturally different images are going to display differently on your custom tshirts so one thing that you can do is put a T-shirt another person, place the image and then evaluate that printing position by measuring. It's better not to just eye-ball it.

Creating a Template for Your Custom Tshirts

If you are printing more than just one shirt, once you have determined the optimal position for your logo, create and print a template on cardstock. This will allow you to line up your printing. Cut out the image so that you can place the transfer into the hole. This allows you to lay the template on top of the shirt, place a transfer through the hole directly onto the shirt, line the transfer up, hold the transfer in place while removing the cardstock template and then press the shirt. This way the tshirt printing is on straight and the shirts look great!

Tshirt Printing on the Back of the Shirt

When doing the tshirt printing on the back, the same general guidelines apply as for the front. So again, this means centering on the shirt with two thirds of the image being above the line that would intersect the bottom of each sleeve and the other third below the line. Now there are times when the image sits on that line because it's all about how it visually looks. There are also times when you will shift the transfer up so that the tshirt printing remains balanced looking.

Printed Just Below the Collar

You may want to print a smaller image directly below the collar. If you are laying the shirt flat the image must be about 4 inches below the bottom of the collar since when the T-shirt is laid flat, the hem of the collar on the front is lower than the hem on the back. So to maintain a flat printing surface you must be below that. If you are using an iron this is not an issue.

By taking a little time to make sure everything is lined up properly your printed T-shirts will look great!

Naturally you can also print on different areas of the shirt such as the sleeves and down at the bottom hem or off to the side, but this should give you an idea how to go about lining up your tshirt printing.

Brian is an experienced t-shirt printer and has his own custom tshirts facility in Eastern Canada. If you are looking for more information on tshirt printing visit our website at

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