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Screen Printed Transfers, DTF Transfers, & More

Left Chest Print Placement Made Easy - How To Place Left Chest Logos & Prints

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Hey friends, Dave here with Transfer Express and today, I want to show you how to accurately and confidently place your designs for spot on left chest (or right chest) placement.

We did mention left chest prints a little bit in the perfect print placement & positioning video we put together, but I wanted to take a deeper dive that can help you with accurate placement regardless of the size or style of t-shirt you’re printing on.

Ready? Let’s get to it!

Now, the goal with any printed apparel is creating something that people will actually want to wear- and placement plays a big role into this. Nobody wants to wear a print on their belly or in the armpit- two very common mistakes, when printing a left or right chest location. So let’s explore some ways you can ensure your prints are perfect before they leave the shop!

I do want to note - placement is made much easier by having a properly sized graphic. In all my years of printing apparel, I’ve learned to keep these left chest prints smaller than 4.5” wide. Any larger and it’s not going to be the look that you or your customers are expecting. For circle or square graphics, 4.5” can be large, so it’s best to size even smaller to 3 or 3.5” if your art is squared up.

Let’s start here with our first method. Now, this is going to get us in the right location using some simple measurements to specific spots, or features on the garment. I will note, this method is best for crewneck t-shirts, or hoodies… for v-necks or polos we’ll cover some alternate placement tips in just a little bit.

First, we’ll start with our shirt laid out flat on a table, or our heat press. We’ll find where the collar of our garment meets the shoulder seam and trace a line straight down the garment. This is going to be the centerline for our print- ensuring we don’t go too far over into the armpit area.

Remember, t-shirts wrap around a body, so when we’re laid out flat, we’re going to have 3 to 4 inches here from the edge of the garment that’s actually going to be on the side of the body when worn.

Next, once we’re aligned, we’re going to measure the distance down from the collar. For most medium to XL sized t-shirts, I use a simple 4 fingers down from the bottom of the collar to top of the graphic. This is going to be a pretty spot-on location in most cases.

But depending on the dimensions of the artwork, we should double-check our placement by eyeing up the sleeves (T-shirt sleeves scale proportionately with the size of the garment, so this will help on xtra smalls or extra large sizes).

To double-check our placement here, we’ll center our graphic about a quarter of the way up the sleeve, essentially just half the entire sleeve seam here and then half that again. So right here will be our centerline, and look at that, we just confirmed we’re in the right spot. Now my example here is more circular, but if we just had a single line of text here, this centerline should be the baseline for your text to sit on.

On to another way to eye up placement for our left chest prints: so, method #2 here involves some planning, and it’s perfect for beginners just getting started. Essentially, we’ll take a piece of paper, cut out to the exact size of our artwork and place it on yourself or a friend or family member wearing the style of shirt you’re printing.

This method will help hone in the best location that looks good when worn. Then, once we’re happy with the placement, we can use some tape to attach our paper to the garment. Once we lay the garment flat here, we’ll gauge our placement with a ruler or something to measure with - your hands can work, too. As you see here, the placement we thought looked good matches up with the placement we used in our first example. Pretty nifty, right?!

This paper method really helps on garments you haven’t decorated on before, vnecks, scoop necks or even polos. Then, once we identify the placement, we can lock it in and print. Depending on the size of the garment, you can adjust, too. For smaller sizes, we can bump it up towards the collar slightly and larger garments we can bump it down.

One tip to keep in mind is to always err on the high side instead of low. It’s acceptable to wear a higher print, however, no one wants to wear a lower print. This is important to keep in mind when you’re printing on ladies tees, too.

Of course, using placement rulers similar to this one that’s included with our Application Kit help show you the centerline for alignment based on your collar, but again, only for crewneck shirts.

You’ll find on some v-neck styles, the left chest placement will be even with, or even above the collar line- care should be taken when printing these locations on a heat press as to not have the collar effect the pressure and the application of your heat transfer.

The same goes for polos. You’ll want to keep the buttons and seams off of your platen. There’s a couple ways you can do this.

One, by raising the print area using something simple like these blank mousepads. That way, the buttons don't contact our upper platen. Alternatively, if you have a Hotronix press, you use one of the smaller interchangeable platens- isolating the print area.

When using these smaller platens or maybe even a cap press to apply, it may be easier to measure and place the artwork with the garments flat, then tape the transfer in place using heat-resistant thermo tape and then move over to your press. Even with years of experience, it’s hard to tell if your graphic is straight with just a little area for reference.

As you can see here for the majority of these examples, our basic, ballpark sizing we covered first fits these placements- aligned to the collar and shoulder seam intersection and hitting right around 4 (of my) fingers down from the collar. For reference, my 4 fingers are exactly 3 inches.

I hope this video allows you to confidently print those left or right chest placements accurately and in an efficient manner- time is money right? So with experience, these placements will get quicker and quicker for you.

If you’re not already, be sure you’re subscribed to the Transfer Express YouTube page to stay up to date on all of the helpful t-shirt printing tips and tricks that we’re dropping every single week. Until next time, I’m Dave, happy pressing!

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