Repairing Cracked Print on Shirts: How to Make Your Favorite Shirt Look Good as New!


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    So, you’ve just finished printing a t-shirt design for your business, and the shirt print cracks. Or you have a favorite existing shirt that’s starting to look tacky and old.

    Key Takeaways

    Preparation work before fixing

    Regardless of which method you use to fix cracks, a little preparation is required. Clean the area in and around the crack with a cotton ball and alcohol. This will remove any interfering debris and dirt.

    Fixing cracks on natural fabrics

    Cracks on natural fabrics such as cotton, linen or silk may be remedied by ironing them. Be careful to consider the fabric color. For example, white cotton can turn yellow when too much heat is applied.

    Fixing crack on synthetic materials

    The steam iron method will not fix cracks on synthetic fabrics such as polyester. Instead, use fabric paint that matches the design color and paint over the cracked part.

    The cracked print problem is caused by either printers with issues or the fabric of the shirt. Or it could be as simple as the item being old or gone through too many washes. Either way, we will provide instructions for a number of solutions to these problems. 

    As well as explaining in depth why they even occur in the first place, we provide advice in this article on how to fix cracked prints on shirts.

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      Why Does Cracked Print On Shirts Occur?

      In order to fix cracked print designs, we have to take into account why it is happening. People should stay informed on how to prevent this frustration from happening again. Here is a list of things that could cause print cracking:

      Designer discovering his artwork is cracking on his garment. He checks through picking at it with his fingers.
      Cracking is the process of artwork cracking & peeling off the substrate. This usually occurs due to under or over curing.

      1. Improper care for t-shirts

      When washing your t-shirt, avoid anything chemical-based. Some washing solutions are not suitable for garments with prints. They can affect durability and even ruin the entire print, especially when washed many times. So, before washing, make sure to check for harsh chemicals in your cleaning detergent.

      2. Low quality of the print

      This, unfortunately, is completely out of your control. Maybe you decided to print several custom items and the graphics came out at a lower quality than expected. In this case, the only thing that you can do is to fix the cracked print on the shirts. In this guide, we’ll show you exactly how to do this.

      3. Extended use of shirts

      If you have been wearing a shirt for several years, the print will start to fade. However, if you have bought a good quality shirt, the print will never actually crack. Only the colors will start to fade over time.

      Now that we know the type of causes of cracking prints, here are a few helpful tips. Follow these to prolong the life of not only the print but the shirt as a whole:

      1. Use natural detergents – When buying detergents and cleaning products for your clothes, avoid ones that contain harsh chemicals. These are more likely to destroy cloth and the prints on them.
      2. Wash your clothes at lower temperatures – This is something we don’t think about often. The temperature at which you wash your clothes can greatly impact their quality. Next time you put your clothes in the wash, opt for using a lower temperature.
      3. Using the high-speed function during the wash – Prolonging the life of your clothes by picking a slower speed cycle. Consider this for both washing and drying. This reduces the chances of your clothes tearing and print cracking.
      4. Using high temperatures when ironing – When ironing we can adjust the temperature at which we iron our clothes. This temperature should never be on the highest setting. Not only do you risk burning your clothes, but you melt the print. You should opt for a lower temperature with low applied pressure to preserve the prints.

      Not only do you risk burning your clothes by doing this, but you are also burning through layers of fabric and printing at a higher rate. You should opt for a lower temperature during ironing to preserve your shirts and their print pattern.

      How To Fix Cracked Prints On Tees

      If you want to effectively fix a cracked print on your fashion accessory, you should know how the print was printed on a shirt. There are different methods used for printing, and we will list the most common ones:

      1. Sublimation-You can spot this method of printing by taking a closer look at the printed fabric of your shirt and if the fabric fibers are visible and the shirt is made out of synthetic materials, then it was probably printed using sublimation. This process involves ink that evaporates at high temperatures and gets transferred to a shirt.

      Unfortunately, this print cannot be removed in any way, but it is salvageable. You can use glitter, sequins, or embroidery to hide the cracked print and also add a bit of personality to your shirt., but it is salvageable. You can use glitter, sequins, or embroidery to hide the cracked print part and also add a bit of personality to your shirt.

      1. Thermal transfer-If you take a closer look at the fabric of your shirts and notice that it is a bit more dense than the rest of it, this is a good indicator that thermal transfer has been the printing method of choice by the manufacturer.

      If you want to fix a cracked print that has been printed with this method, you can do so easily by using the iron method or the paint masking method, which we will discuss later on.

      1. Flex foil-If you notice that on the surface of the print the texture is smooth or rough and has two to three colors in it, then flex foil was used when creating it. You could attempt to remove it using the iron method, but given that the manufacturing of this shirt denotes using high temperatures, this could be quite a difficult task.

      These methods will completely remove the cracked print on a shirt.

      1. The hot iron method

      The function that you should be using on your iron is the steam function. If you opt for using this method, you will remove the cracked print from your t-shirt. Once this process has been completed, you will be left with a shirt that has no prints, and you can either choose to print something new on it or leave it as it is.

      Here are the steps for this process:

      1. Firstly, you will have to turn the t-shirt inside out and put a piece of cardboard or a different kind of board inside of it in order to protect it.
      2. Then, a medium-sized white paper should be put around the cracked prints, covering both sides. Be careful not to use any paper that has a shiny finish, and only use pure white paper that can cover the entire image.
      3. Next, put the appropriate amount of water in the water compartment of your iron. Put the temperature on the maximum setting. The high temperatures will melt the print.
      4. Now, you should turn on the steam function on your iron and go over the top piece of medium-sized white paper you put on previously. You will see that the molten print has now transferred onto the bottom piece of paper you put under it. Using a plastic card or some other tool, carefully remove the whole molten print.
      5. If the print cannot be removed at first, repeat all the steps mentioned below until the print can easily be removed. Make sure that you are careful when doing this as the print is very hot.
      6. Upon the removal of the entirety of the print, wipe the whole t-shirt using nail cleaner. Normal cooking vinegar can help with the removal of the adhesive base that could be left after removing the print. After completing all of the steps, you can start wearing your shirt again!
        1. Using medical alcohol

      This method is not as popular as the previous one, but it can be just as effective as it! Also, thermal print is known to easily be broken down with alcohol, so this method is even simpler than the last one.

      Here are the steps needed for this method to work:

      1. Make sure that you wash your shirt thoroughly and that there is no residue of dust or other particles because these could temper the removal.
      2. Soak the whole shirt with medical alcohol and wait for a bit until you see that the print has become a bit more delicate. Now you will be able to easily remove it completely and print out a new design on your shirt.

      These methods will help you mend a cracked print on a shirt.

      1. Paint masking method

      In order to fix a cracked print with this method, you will have to cover the t-shirt print with paint. This method will not remove any of the mistakes in the cracked print. If you want to do that, you should use different methods. This method will actually fix the cracked print.

      Here is how to achieve the best results using the paint masking method:

      1. Firstly, you will have to match the color of the print with the color of your paint. So, you will have to mix different colors in order to achieve the desired one.
      2. Next, with a thin paintbrush, carefully fill up the cracked print. You should put the paint only on the parts where you can see the material between the cracks and not on the actual print.
      3. Make sure that you use a generous amount of paint so that it is on the same level as the rest of the print. By doing this, you will achieve a cleaner look and guarantee that it lasts for a while.
      4. That’s it! Wait until the paint is completely dry and you can wear your shirt again.
      5. The toothpaste/baking soda method

      This method is perfect for fixing a smaller crack in your shirt. Instead of having to throw out the shirt because of a small imperfection, you can fix it and wear it for as long as you want. For this method, you can use either toothpaste or baking soda. Both will work.

      Here is a step-by-step guide for utilizing this method:

      1. Smear a layer of either toothpaste or baking soda on the cracked print.
      2. Wipe off any excess product that may be present.
      3. Leave it to sit for at least 15 minutes.
      4. Use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process.
      5. Wear the shirt as normal!


      Noticing a print crack on your t-shirt is annoying. However, there are plenty of solutions you can choose from! Depending on whether or not you want to completely remove the cracked print or find a way to fix the cracked print by applying paint to fabric fibers, resolving this issue is not as difficult as you may think it is.

      A design on a shirt can crack because of a few things: for example, the manufacturer created the shirt with a thermal transfer-in which case you can easily use the iron method to fix it; or just the fact that you’ve been wearing this piece of clothing for a while can all cause the print cracking. It is important to know why this has happened so that you can fix the print crack using an appropriate method.

      We have listed the most effective ways of fixing cracked shirts with simple enough information for anyone to follow. When using these methods, be careful yet persistent. You do not need to follow the letter of the law, but a little practice and patience will help figure out what works best for you!

      Detailed Answers to Most Frequently Asked Questions

      Why does print cracking happen?

      The print on your t-shirt can crack because of a few things. Perhaps the shirt is old and the natural thing happened-the print cracked because you’ve had this shirt for a long time. Or maybe you were using harsh chemicals when cleaning the shirt and those chemicals destroyed the print.

      How to fix the print without removing it?

      If you don’t want to completely get rid of the print on your shirt that has cracked, there are a few things that could help you in the process of fixing it. You could use paint masking to fix the printed shirt by filling in the design or use toothpaste or baking soda to fill in the cracks.

      How to fix a peeling print on a shirt?

      If you notice that the print on your shirt has started to peel, the best method for you will be the iron method. But, make sure that you remove the iron before it starts to melt the print. This method ensures that the print will be stuck down again.

      How to stop a print from cracking?

      We have discussed various techniques in which you can prevent this from happening, but another helpful tip is to completely stop using the dryer and instead dry your clothes outside. This is good for both the environment and your clothes.

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