Hawkwind T-Shirts : Using Premium Paper
The other "Make Your Own Hawkwind T-Shirts" pages on this site provide designs and instructions for
printing onto white or light-coloured T-shirts. This is the easiest and cheapest way to do it yourself.
However, you can almost as easily print onto dark T-shirts, which is much more Hawkwind IMHO,
using a more expensive variety of paper known as Premium T-Shirt Transfer Paper.
The process that you have to use is different, and most important of all, the images that you print are
different: they are *not* mirrored, unlike those required for white T-shirts. Now, I haven't reproduced
all the T-shirt designs in their original unmirrored format here. You can use any of those images (or any
other images you like, really) if you first of all load them into a graphics package and use the "Mirror" or
"Flip Horizontally" feature to ensure that the text on the T-shirt is readable.
Once you've done this, print each image as large as possible onto a sheet of Premium Paper, and trim
off the unwanted edges. Let the prints dry before you iron them on.
I usually print a few T-shirts at a time, and this
tends to produce a bit of a stink, as you have to
get the iron very hot (with no steam). The
ironing surface is also important. You need a
flat hard surface and some surplus fabric with
which to cover it. I use an old formica table
top, covered with an old curtain, in my garage.
Make sure there's no water in the iron, plug it
in, check that the steam is turned off, and
whack the temperature up to maximum. Now
let the iron sit for about 8 minutes to get as hot
I also lay out everything I'm going to be using.
In the photo below, the materials for printing
onto dark T-shirts are labelled in red: those for
white T-shirts are labelled in cyan.
Make sure your underlying fabric is completely
smoothed out and then spread the T-shirt out on
top of it, ensuring there are no creases
Peel the backing off the printed design, carefully
place it on the T-shirt and lay a sheet of the
cover paper over the top of the printed design.
Now you can start to transfer the design onto the
T-shirt by ironing over the cover paper. Make
sure you consult the instructions that came with
the Premium paper.
(Note the difference between this procedure and
ironing onto a white T-shirt using normal thermal
transfer paper - where the design is mirrored and
placed face down when ironing it on)
Below: spread the T-shirt out onto a flat surface
(not your ironing surface) and let it cool (assuming
your Premium Paper is cool peel!)
And finally...peel the cover paper off and you have your Hawkwind T-Shirt!
When everything goes well, the results are very pleasing. But it's all too easy to make a mistake, and
the likelihood is that if you do, you've spoiled an expensive piece of thermal transfer paper AND a
T-shirt into the bargain. I've found the best safeguards against this are to plan what you're going to
do, read the instructions before you start and keep them handy while you're working. Work slowly
and carefully, and think through your next step before you do it.
(Out of the 7 designs illustrated on this page, I made 2 non-fatal mistakes with the ones that were
printed onto the black T-shirts, and a fatal mistake with the Ali Davey design that went onto a white
T-shirt: I put it on upside-down, because I wasn't double-checking before committing myself.)
Even allowing for the mistakes, I think the black T-shirts look better than the white ones, although as
black T-shirts cost twice as much as white ones, and the Premium paper is twice as expensive as the
normal stuff, I have many more white homegrown T-shirts than black. But Tesco's do a plain black
T-shirt for Â£2.50, which is cheaper than you can get them in the USA, and you can always use the
Premium paper to print onto one that you already own (which can be any colour in fact)...