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One of the questions I get asked frequently is how do I size and align designs on a t-shirt when I’m screen printing. I adjust the size and placement on the shirt based on the shape of the design I’m using and how I want it to look on the shirt.  For square designs on an adult shirt, I usually size my design 9″-10″ wide and like for it to start about 2” from the collar. For taller designs, I start it a little higher on the shirt, about 1” from the collar. For wider designs, I usually want it to start a little lower on the shirt so I adjust to 2-3” from the collar.

Screen printing DIY tips for lining up screen

My trick for lining up my design when screen printing is to use a circle sticker placed in the middle of the collar. I eyeball the center of the collar and place the sticker down. Then I can line up the design and know that it is the correct distance from the collar and centered on the shirt.

Design Space screen printing tutorial

My process starts in Design Space (or whichever design software you use for your machine). After I have the design sized to the width I want, I use the shape tool to insert a 2” tall square. I use this square as a guide placing it at the top of my design. Then, I insert a 3/4 inch circle (size of my sticker). I place the circle at the top of the square.  When I delete the square, I know that my circle is 2” from my design. Then I can center the design and circle.  My last step is to add a box around the design. This makes it easier once you are ready to attach the vinyl to your screen, you can use the outside box as a guide to line it up straight on your screen.

Here’s what it looks like in action…..


how to screen print with craft vinyl