It’s not that complicated

How to Create a Custom 3D Printed T-Shirt

3d printed t-shirt

Here’s a great new twist to 3D printing: You can 3D print on fabrics! 3D-Designer Simone Fontana just published an instruction video on how to create your custom 3D printed T-shirt. 

London-based 3D designer Simone Fontana went to an event – and he had no T-shirt with the logo of his newly formed company. So he decided to 3D print one – and it turned out great. Now he shared his experience in a YouTube Video.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: It’s an absolute no-go to try this on your most beloved $100 t-shirt. The nozzle of the 3D printer heats up to 230 degrees Celsius. It is capable of burning holes in any fabric it touches. So: best try this with an old, expendable shirt. We also highly recommend you don’t leave the printer unattended while printing.

3D Printed T-Shirt Step 1: Use a Simple, Bold Design

Not every design is suited for a 3D printed T-shirt. This Pac-Man ghost should just be perfect. It’s not too delicate or ornate, so it won’t come off the shirt easily. If you want to be on the safe side, make sure the layers of the 3D printed T-shirt motive are exactly the same – so you’re practically embossing a 2D file to its 3D version.

Simone exported the 3D design with a height of 0.6 mm, so the result would be a small 3-layer print on his Ultimaker 2+ with a 0.2 mm Nozzle. According to Simone, you can even add some additional layers; “I didn’t test it, but my friend Preston Allen uses a similar technique and he had more time to experiment”. Here’s the video.

3D Printed T-Shirt Step 2: Prepare the Print


Next step: Import the design in your 3D slicing software. Simone Fontana used Simplify 3D, but you can surely do this in another free slicer such as Cura. Make sure you set the print to 100 percent infill for your first test prints.

Next, it’s time to ask yourself the question about the right filament. “I suggest you take your time for this experiment. Best do everything right because you can damage your printer or the T-shirt”, Simone Fontana states. “I used black PLA from FormFutura and worked great.”

If you want more information on what types of filament you can 3D print, please check here.

3D Printed T-Shirt 3: Align the T-Shirt on the Build Plate


According to Simone Fontana, the most important thing is to have the shirt firmly attached to the build plate. To do this, he used black paper clips. The goal is to have a perfectly plain area to 3D print on.

“Next, you have to calibrate the printer”, he tells All3DP, “And make sure the nozzle is not too close to the T-shirt or you will burn holes in it!”

3D Printed T-Shirt Step 4: Start 3D Printing!


Next step: Hit the “Print” button and hope for the best. In Simone’s case, the turned out perfect. It also felt good to wear the 3D printed T-shirt. Fortunately, “the layers were not too thick. The PLA print stayed kind of flexible, as the layers of the print were not too thick. If you want something more flexible you can always use flexible filament”.

One more thing: You wouldn’t want to wash your 3D printed T-shirt. PLA filament tends to deform when heated, and also the print wouldn’t survive tumbling. So: best peel if off carefully after use. “I needed to pull hard to remove it, but the T-shirt wasn’t damaged and I can start to print a new logo on it”, says Simone Fontana. “If someone uses this technique I will be more than happy yo see the final result!”