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Cher, Educator-40+ yrs
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 21417
Experience:  M.A., B.A., Author, Information & Research Specialist
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I have a 7.5 oz., garment-washed, 100% cotton denim shirt with

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I have a 7.5 oz., garment-washed, 100% cotton denim shirt with a screen-printed design on the back. I’d like to superimpose a custom design, ~12” x 6”, over part the existing design that would be permanent. Can that be done?
Hello, and welcome back to Just Answer.

Are you looking to superimpose the new design over the existing one and having it be part of/incorporated into the existing one or are you looking to cover the existing design completely, with the new one?

Thanks for all your additional information.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Let me elaborate:


I'd like to cover-up PART of the existing design with another image.

I have an English biker-type cutoff shirt (NOT A T-SHIRT) with a rather lewd image on the back. It's a 7.5 oz., garment-washed, 100% cotton denim shirt with a large screen-printed image on the back. I'd like to superimpose another permanent screen-printed custom design, ~12" x 6", 2-3 colors, over part the existing design. Can this be done if I sent in the shirt, marking where the new image would be placed, and a paper-printed, or computer file, of the new image? Where?

Hi again, and thanks for your reply with clarification.

I believe you have several options to accomplish this: you can bring the shirt and paper printed or computer file image to a craft store or fabric store like Michael's or Joann's Fabrics, and ask a person experienced in applying transfers to do what you are requesting.

Since you mention a paper-printed design, I'm thinking that this is a unique one which you have personally designed/drawn, or can only get from online, and may not exist in stores where screen printing is done. If you can choose a design that already exists in such stores or from manufacturers, you might contact them--companies that do screen printing on garments may help. They also sell transfers just for this purpose, to steam press or iron on to fabrics, in the two stores I mentioned, and many others. You might also find some online which you can order.

Other options include either painting over the offending part of the design (or the entire design) with fabric paint, having the design you chose, made into a 'transfer' that you can iron on to the shirt, and/or having the design of your choosing, put onto a matching piece of denim fabric and then having it sewn (by a professional seamstress found in your area at a cleaners, or privately, or by yourself, if you have that skill) or ironed (with the proper 'fusing' backing, onto the shirt.

I hope some of these ideas are helpful to you. Please let me know if you need more help.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you Cher.


I have just one final clarification. I have a simple design I'd like to overlay on part of the original, just text and a frame, 2-3 colors preferred or even one. You've mentioned transfers, screen-printing, embroidery (perhaps), and a patch. The shirt's only worth $40, and I was hoping to fing some solution not exceeding that price. However, it must be permanent, and I've been told a transfer wouldn't work.. What do you recommend.


Many thanks!

Hi again, and you're most welcome!

I'm curious why you were told a transfer wouldn't work; were you told it wouldn't be permanent or that it won't cover what you want to cover on the original design?

Transfers that are made especially for use on materials are permanent, but the person who told you it may not work, may be thinking because it's not going directly on a 'blank' piece of material, but rather over your existing design, it may not adhere properly and/or peel/come off when washed.

When I suggested adding (sewing or ironing on) another piece of matching denim, I was not referring to embroidery, per sé, just having a 'blank canvas' on which to add your new design.

Would it be possible to use fabric paints, or fabric 'markers' which are permanent and washable, to alter the existing design so it is more acceptable? Adding hand drawn stars, flowers, squiggles, dots, and other simple designs with fabric paint is not difficult and if you are artistic, it's even easier. Sponge painting to cover parts of the design would also work (with fabric paint only, of course!) Also, would it be possible to add some glued on, iron on or sew on 'embellishments' like flowers, ribbons, buttons and other items made for fabrics, which are washable? There is also a 'spray/air brush paint' system for fabrics; the regular one will be expensive, but there is one for kids, which is less expensive. You could find it in Toys R Us, or a similar store.

I think at this point it would be a good idea to bring your shirt to a Michael's or Joann's Fabrics, if you have one in your area, or to a similar craft/fabric store, to get a professional to look at it in person, explain what you need done, then you can get a better idea of what materials/alternatives are available to you; a skilled person in the store may even offer to do it for you, at a not very exorbitant price, epecially if you're buying your supplies from them.

I understand what you would like to do to overlay only part of the design, but you might have to cover the entire thing, if you're willing, and that might be your best alternative.

Best regards,
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