How to Make Your Own Custom Sweaters

Updated April 17, 2017

Making your own custom sweater gives you a unique look that exemplifies your style. Using an image of your choice as a decal is a perfect way to add a more personalised touch to any plain sweater. You can design different sweaters for holidays, special occasions or for everyday use. There are unlimited images available, so choose a sweater you want to spruce up and get ready to sport a whole new look.

Choose a sweater or sweatshirt you want to customise. A cotton sweatshirt or a cotton and polyester blend sweater with minimal texture works best.

Choose an image from digital photographs you want to use as a decal on your sweater. You can also go online to choose from a number of free clipart images. Make sure any image you choose is not copyrighted.

Test your image by printing it on regular paper to see how it turns out. You can adjust the size and colours before printing on your iron-on transfer paper. Also, remember that your print will be reversed when it is applied to the sweater. This is especially important to remember if you use an image with words. Imaging software programs can reverse the image if needed.

Print your final design on your iron-on transfer paper and carefully cut out the desired image, leaving a 1/4-inch border.

Turn your iron to its highest setting without steam. Lay your sweater flat on the ironing board and place the printed image on the desired location with the image side facing down. Apply the iron to the decal and leave it on for 15 to 30 seconds. If the image is large, you may need to apply the iron to several locations for 15 to 30 seconds until you have heated the entire image.

Peel the backing off of the iron-on transfer paper. Allow the sweater to lie flat until the image cools down.


If you are unsure as to whether or not you need to flip your image, look at your test image in the mirror.

Things You'll Need

  • Sweater or sweatshirt
  • Digital images
  • Printer
  • Regular paper
  • Iron-on transfer paper
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
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About the Author

Based in South Florida, Beth Swanson has been writing professionally since 2005. Her articles have been published in the magazines “Kiwi," “Natural Home,” “Clean Eating,” “Palm Beacher," the “Miami New Times” and several other publications. Swanson earned a Master of Arts degree in integrated marketing communication from the University of Colorado at Boulder.