4340 E Kentucky Ave #454 Glendale, CO 80246 (Appointment required)
720-663-8413
idea@cmi.ink

DIY Custom T-shirts/Apparel Decoration

We’ve got several ways you can make custom t-shirts or other apparel. We are happy to show you how any of them work! They all have their benefits and limitations. It can seem overwhelming at first, but we’re here to help you! Book an appointment to come in to DIY!

DTG Printing

Embroidery

Vinyl

Dye Sublimation

DTG stands for “Direct to Garment” and refers to special purpose-built inkjet printers designed to reproduce images on fabric using fabric inks. They can reproduce entire rainbows and even photographs on a single shirt. These printers are designed to work off of cotton and we have a white-ink capable printer, meaning we can print on dark shirts! What will it cost you?

  • Material (t-shirt, fabric, etc.) – purchase from us or bring in your own. We can get a ton of shirts for you that can range from ~$3.25 to ~$6 each, although hoodies can run ~$6 – ~$30 each depending on brand, plus shipping if necessary. If you’re going to bring your own shirts, please make sure you bring 100% cotton. Polyester blends will resist the ink!
  • Ink – $0.80 per ml of ink used $1 minimum per item. We have software that will show you how much it will cost before you print! A rule of thumb is that ink costs on white t-shirts can run between $1 and $3 per item, while ink costs for dark shirts can run between $2.50 and $10, depending on size and settings!
  • Shirt Treatment – $1 per location. Treatment is used to help the white ink adhere to a dark shirt!
  • Machine Time / Help – $10 for the first hour, $5 per additional hour (our standard time in-office charge)
  • Heat Press use included!

Shirts that have a color will usually cost much more than white t-shirts since a lot more ink will be going down onto the shirt and they must be pre-treated. Of course, that will depend on the settings you use! For example, DIY printing on a white t-shirt often runs under $5 each (shirt+printing+time), while t-shirts that require white ink can usually run from $7-$10, depending on settings.

An embroidery machine is a special machine designed to perform a single function – embroidery! Machine embroidery is surprisingly simple to do! However, one of the challenges is getting a file that the machine can read, since special embroidery files are necessary. If you don’t have software that digitizes your file, or haven’t found a digitizer you like (or the cost is too high), or simply want to digitize yourself, we have Embrilliance to do it!
Cost for using the embroidery machine is simple:

  • Material (t-shirt, fabric, etc.) – purchase from us or bring in your own. We can get a ton of shirts for you that can range from ~$3.25 to ~$6 each, although polos can run ~$6 – ~$40 depending on brand, plus shipping if necessary.
  • Thread – $0.25 per 1000 stitches, rounded up (feel free to bring your own thread). Once your file’s loaded on to the machine, it’ll tell you how many stitches it’s using. Use as many colors as you like – no extra charge.
  • Stabilizer / Backing – $1 per sheet. Stabilizer is a layer of material that can reduce fabric “bouncing,” letting stiches go in cleaner.
  • Machine Time / Help – $5 per hour

Like all materials necessary for making things, feel free to bring your own thread. This uses machine embroidery thread. Thread not designed for embroidery machines may more easily snap at the high speeds the machine is capable of. For example, a standard logo over the breast pocket runs around 5,000 stitches, which can be $3-$5. If you need to digitize your logo into a stitch file, even if you spent two hours working on it that comes out to only $10 and if you DIY it, you get to keep all the files!

Many people use vinyl to decorate shirts! It’s more solid than ink and can be quite thick. In addition, you can get some really special effects – metallic, glitter, reflective, holographic… the list goes on! If properly applied, vinyl can last a very long time. Your image is cut from a roll of vinyl and then you have to remove the excess, a process called “weeding.” Each color or “layer” of your image will need to be cut from a separate vinyl roll, which can make things a bit time consuming to do!

  • Material (t-shirt, fabric, etc.) – purchase from us or bring in your own. We can get a ton of shirts for you that can range from ~$3.25 to ~$6 each, although hoodies can run ~$6 – ~$30 depending on brand, plus shipping if necessary.
  • Machine Time / Help – $5 per hour
  • Vinyl: cost is by the “roll inch.” Most rolls are either 15″ or 20″ wide, meaning that if you get 1″, you’re getting a 1″ x 15″ or 1″ x 20″ strip depending on the roll. Don’t worry, in our shop, we will give you the best rate for your usage up to the yard, meaning if you use 33 inches, you’re only paying $12.60.
VinylCost per inch
By the inch (<12″)$0.50
By the foot (12″-35″)$0.40
By the yard (36″+)$0.35

If you’re anticipating using a lot of vinyl, or want us to purchase some for you using our wholesale license, we can certainly do so! We have a book of a large variety of vinyl types. Please note that some vinyl types may cost more than priced below. These prices cover Thermoflex, Economy Flex, Siser Easyweed, and Decofilm.

VinylTotal CostCost per inch
5 yard x 15″ roll ~$54.00~$0.30
20 yard x 15″ roll~$158.40~$0.22
5 yard x 20″ roll~$59.40~$0.33
20 yard x 20″ roll~$180.00~$0.25

For rolls of vinyl, please order at least 3 business days before your DIY is scheduled. We may be able to accommodate faster turnaround, but you will pay for the accelerated shipping from our suppliers.

Dye sublimation is a unique and flexible technology that can be used for decorating lots of items. Images will generally be crisper and more vibrant, but it has several limitations. For fabrics, they have to be 100% polyester. Generally all materials start white, although if you have sublimatable materials with a color, it will change the colors of the image, since sublimation machines can’t print in white ink. It’s similar to what happens when you run colored paper through the printer in your home or office!

  • Material (t-shirt, fabric, etc.) – purchase from us or bring in your own. We can get a ton of polyester shirts for you that can range from ~$3.25 to ~$6 each,
  • Sublimation Print – $3 per page (up to 8.5″ x 14″ / legal size)
  • Machine Time / Help – $5 per hour

We’d love to help you get started on your project for fun or profit! Let us know if you have any questions and we will be happy to help! Feel free to check out our tips and tricks.