DIY Guide: How to Put a Picture on
a Shirt Using Laser Engraver

Learn how to put a picture on a shirt without making a mess on your favorite tee, along with our recommendations of which laser engraver to use for this printing.

  • Introduction
  • Wrapping Up


Everybody wants to style in the best possible way, and for some, this means wearing something that represents their personality. That is why custom apparel categories exist, and in this niche, a lot of people want to wear shirts with something of their own. That is why a lot of netizens out there are searching for how to put a picture on a shirt, and this article explains the best possible ways to do it. For starters, below are the five most common practices being followed at the time of writing to put a picture on a shirt:

1. Direct-to-garment Printing, or DTG

DTG works similarly to a paper printer in an office. The t-shirt or hoodie is placed in the printer, and the design is printed directly on it. This approach employs a specialized textile with water-based ink. This method is great for high-resolution images but doesn’t support durability.

2. Screen Printing

Screen printing is the most common t-shirt printing process. In this procedure, first, a stencil screen of the design is created, and then ink is put on the shirt using that stencil. Each color is applied using a separate stencil, one at a time, and then blended to create the final effect. This printing is a cost-effective option if you are running a business.

3. Sublimation Printing

This process uses heat-sensitive inks that get infused inside the material of the fabric when heated, since such inks combine well with the synthetic medium of the fabric, especially the commonly available ones like polyester, and nylon. The design is printed on transfer paper with a sublime printer, where it is heat-pressed on the top of the fabric; the pressure and heat infuse the design into the material. Just like DTG, this technique is great for high-resolution images but lacks durability.

4. Heat Transfer Vinyl

The design is printed onto vinyl and cut with a specialized vinyl cutter to print a picture on a shirt. Both heat and pressure are applied to stick the picture on top of the fabric surface, which is great for single-color designs and small custom orders. Both heat transfer vinyl and DTG printing are more suitable for smaller printing projects.

5. Using Laser Engraving

Laser engravers are versatile hardware that is not just designed for metals or wood but can also bring great printing results to clothes with high accuracy and a long-lasting impression on the fabric. Great on natural fabrics, these engravers remove a very thin layer of the fabric from a shirt and create a picture impression that is both detailed and long-lasting.

To get started with this method, we recommend using Ortur LM3 laser engraver and cutter, which features a powerful 20-watt laser coupled with a protective system of dual fans and a guided blind air system. For printing pictures on shirts, accuracy is extremely important, and this is where OLM3 delivers with its ultra-focused laser with square-spot 0.08*0.08mm accuracy. In short, this laser engraver can get the job done of how to put a picture on a shirt. To get started, you need:

  • Choose a picture that you feel would suit to be printed on your shirt. The higher the contrast, the better will be the result; otherwise, your image will look washed out.
  • Go back to your design software, LM3 (Inspiraesth) to enhance the image you just drew by converting it to black and white. Increase the contrast and brightness levels so that the image looks clear and impressive.
  • Feed your designed image to the LM3 software and adjust the laser power, speed, and other parameters according to the fabric type. (We recommend trying different settings on a spare fabric first.)
  • Next, put a piece of masking tape around the shirt so that it fully covers the material during the imaging process. This is done to make the surface of the shirt smooth and avoid having an image emerge with wrinkles or folds.
  • Now is the time to start “burning” your image on your beloved shirt. During the process, make sure to not move the shirt to get the best results.

Wrapping Up

To conclude how to put a picture on a shirt, we can state that there are many ways to do it, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Laser engravers like the LM3 do a great job of printing a picture on a shirt, as they are designed to be very accurate and produce long-lasting results.

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