Learn how to make your own DIY custom foil shirts at home! You can create beautifully shiny t-shirt designs in all kinds of colors with this easy DIY technique. Plus snag two free cut files to make your own cute DIY Halloween shirts. A big thanks to Therm O Web for sponsoring this post, which also contains affiliate links that help to support this site.
I love crafting for the holidays, especially when that crafting creates something fun I can wear! I loved the Halloween tee I made last year (because Hocus Pocus is pretty much the best), so it seemed like a good time to make some more spooky shirts, which is just what I did. 🙂
This time I decided to try out a fun technique I have been wanting to try for a while now – foil! I am really happy with the way these shirts turned out, and I’m ready to share all my best tips and tricks for making your own beautiful DIY custom foil shirts. Plus, I have free cut files for two different Halloween designs perfect for making your own adorable DIY Halloween shirts. (You might spot another Hocus Pocus inspired design – I can’t help myself!)
Ready to make some cute foiled Halloween shirts? Here’s everything you’ll need.
DIY Custom Foil Shirts Supplies:
- DecoFoil Hot Melt Adhesive
- DecoFoil Foil Transfer Sheets (I used Pewter on the black shirt, and Iridescent on the Purple)
- Silhouette or other cutting machine
- Designs – Download “Creepin it Real” SVG, Studio, or PNG & Download “I Put a Spell on You” SVG, Studio, or PNG
How to Make DIY Foil Shirts with DecoFoil
Step One – Cut Design from Adhesive
The first step is to cut out your design from the hot melt adhesive. I used my Silhouette to cut out my design, but you can also cut the hot melt adhesive by hand with scissors or a craft knife.
Start by downloading one of the designs from the supply list above and open it in your cutting machine software. Next, you will need to mirror the design in the software. This will ensure that your design reads the right way when it is applied to your shirt. Place the adhesive onto your cutting mat with the rough side facing up.
Now, there are a couple of different methods for cutting the adhesive at this point. Either you can cut all the way through both the adhesive and the paper backing or you can cut it as you would cut heat transfer vinyl with a “kiss cut” that only cuts through the adhesive layer leaving the paper backing intact. I think there are pros and cons to both methods. The pros of cutting through the backing is that you don’t have to worry about “weeding” or removing excess adhesive from the paper backing and it’s easier to get a really clean cut. The cons are that your design will be broken up into a bunch of separate little pieces that you will have to arrange on your garment (this would have been particularly annoying with my “I put a spell on you design.”
Ultimately, I decided to go with the “kiss cut” option to keep the design together on the paper backing. To get that nice cut that cut the adhesive without cutting the paper backing I used a blade depth of 2, speed of 3, and thickness of 5 on my Silhouette. After the design was done cutting, I needed to peel off the excess adhesive from around the design. Tweezers, straight pins, and small sharp scissors are great for this.
It’s a little difficult to photograph, but I think you can see in the photo above how I just have removed all the excess adhesive from the paper. It is important to really make sure you don’t have any little extra bits hanging out along the edges or inside your letters if you want a nice, clean foiled design.
Step Two – Iron On Adhesive
Once your design is cut, you are ready to apply the adhesive to the shirt. Place it face down on your shirt with the rough side of the adhesive facing down. Cover the paper backing with a piece of parchment paper (there is a sheet of parchment included with the hot melt adhesive). With the iron on a medium-high setting and the steam turned off, press for about 30 seconds making sure the entire design is covered. After 30 seconds, remove the parchment paper and WAIT. This is probably the most crucial part of getting a nice foil application. You have to wait for the adhesive to completely cool before removing the paper backing. I didn’t wait long enough on my purple shirt and parts of the design didn’t foil quite as nicely.
Once the shirt is cool to the touch, peel off the paper backing, and you should see a shiny adhesive version of the design on your shirt.
Step Three – Adhere Foil
Now it’s time for some foil action! Trim down a piece of your foil to be slightly larger than your design. Place the foil color side up on top of the adhesive. Cover the foil with your piece of parchment paper.
It’s time to press again, but this time you want to really use some firm pressure (push down on your iron) and iron for 30-40 seconds. Move your iron around in a circular motion as you press down. This is especially important if you iron has steam holes on the bottom of it – you want to make sure each part of the design is getting pressure and heat from the iron. After you have given each part of the design firm pressure and heat for 30-40 seconds, you can remove the iron and parchment paper, and again, WAIT. Allow the shirt and foil to completely cool before attempting to remove the foil.
When your shirt is cool to the touch, peel off that foil and check out your awesome custom foil shirt! This is seriously the best part. So cool! To keep your sweet metallic shirt looking good as long as possible, hand wash and lay flat to dry.
All that’s left to do is try on your new DIY foil shirt and maybe hit up some Halloween parties. I love the shiny finish! It’s so much fun.
So, what do you think? Do you need some DIY custom foil shirts in your life? If so, good news! Therm O Web is going to give one of you lucky people a $30 gift card so you can do some foiling yourself! Just enter in the Rafflecopter widget below. (Winner will be selected 10/14/17 and notified by email.)
Until next time, Happy Haunting and Happy Making!
If you like this post, I would love if you pinned the image below. Thanks!