How To: Put a Face on a T-shirt
What better way to surprise (or creep out) your friends and family than putting their faces on a T-shirt?

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Have you ever wanted to wear a truly unique T-shirt that no one else has? Then why not use a photo of your face or the face of one of your friends, your dog, your cat, or whoever you want? These personalized T-shirts make great gifts for any occasion. Here’s how to do it.

The first step is selecting a photo of the face you want to have on the T-shirt. Since the photo is for printing on fabric, you will need to choose a crisp and clear image with good contrast.

If you don’t have a suitable picture, you can take a new one. Just make sure the camera is stable, choose a clean background to shoot, and make sure you have adequate lighting to minimize noise issues.

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Even if the original photo already looks good, you can enhance it by adjusting brightness, contrast, and saturation to give it a little more punch. You can also make it monochrome or add effects, depending on your personal taste.

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To detach the face from the background, use the Pen or the Lasso tool to draw a selection around the face’s edges. Then inverse the selection and hit backspace to delete the unnecessary parts. If the original photo comes with a clean background, this will be really easy to do.

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Since you’re printing the photo on transfer paper, the face will appear on reverse. To make sure it will be oriented correctly, you will need to flip it vertically before printing. This is a small detail in the T-shirt’s creation process, but it will make a huge difference!

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After printing, you will need to transfer the picture to the T-shirt. Test-print your design on a regular piece of paper to make sure everything will come out all rright, then print on iron transfer paper.

Choose an even surface to prevent creases from forming on the fabric while ironing. Be careful to place the sheet with the picture in the right spot. Apply uniform pressure while passing the iron on the transfer sheet. Let it cool a few minutes before peeling off.

If you want the final product to have a little more finish, try a commercial printing service.

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Now that you have a T-shirt no one else has, don’t forget to take care of it. Read the instructions that come with your transfer paper to learn about special ironing temperatures, and wash the fabric gently so the photo doesn’t fade after just a couple of washes.

Sample photo by tanakawho. Edited in Photoshop CS5.

About the Author
Kenny Austin is an expert of print quality and accuracy, product analysis, and print production processes.
Kenny and the team order print jobs from every major printer to test quality, value, customer service, and more. See their reviews here:


  1. What program did you do these steps in?