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Free designs for t-shirts

Please note: Sokwanele's t-shirt designs are free to download provided they are used and shared in the same spirit. These are not for commercial use.

How to use our designs to make your own t-shirt

You will need: iron on transfer paper for fabric, a printer, an iron, a t-shirt (or other item you want to transfer the image onto)

Print a preview: Print a preview copy of your image on ordinary paper before printing it on the (more expensive) transfer paper. Do this to ensure that colors print correctly, that your image doesn't fall into your printer's no-print zone along the margins, and to see what size your design will be (sometimes the on-screen view can be deceiving).

Check you are using a flipped (mirrored) image: This is especially critical if you have text in your design. The text should be backwards on screen or on the print out. (Another good reason to print a preview copy first!). To make it easier for you, we provide images already flipped for you to download and use. If you're making your own t-shirt, download the flipped versions of our designs.

Use the correct side of the paper: You need to make sure that your image prints on the correct side of the transfer paper. Take care to put the paper in your printer so that it prints on the transfer side.

Test on scrap fabric: It's a good idea to test your design on scrap fabric before applying it to your final t-shirt or other fabric. Some types of fabric may require more ironing (heat) than others or may not show off your design as well as you expected.

Use lots of heat: Use your iron's hottest setting but no steam. It takes a lot of heat to transfer the image evenly and completely to the fabric. Peel off the paper while it is still hot.

Get someone else to make the t-shirt for you

There are lots of online companies that will produce items based on images that you send them including mugs, mousemats, calendars and, of course, t-shirts. If you prefer to take this approach, download the design from our site and submit it to the company you choose. In most cases you will need to upload a non-flipped version of the design to the site, but it's good idea to check first. There are a few possible sites offering this service in the sidebar to the right. Sokwanele has never used these services so we cannot endorse them.

Share them around

When you make one for yourself, why not make a t-shirt for a friend at the same time.