Beginner's Tutorial: Decal Size Tips for T-Shirts, Totes and Onesies

Beginner's Tutorial: Decal Size Tips for T-Shirts, Totes and Onesies

If you're new to the world of heat transfer vinyl it can seem daunting at first. One of the most frequently asked questions is, "what size should I make the design for my t-shirt?". In this tutorial, we'll walk you through decal sizing tips for t-shirts, baby onesies and tote bags.

These sizes are a great starting point for most projects. Of course, all brands are different and what works for one particular onesie might not work well for another. It's always best to measure the onesie to pinpoint the exact amount of space you have to work with.

Photo credit: Age Themes

This is a 3-6 month size onesie and as you can see I could've easily fit a 5 inch decal across the width of the garment. Measure first, cut second.

Youth t-shirts:

Here are the suggested sizes for toddler and youth t-shirts:

Again, it totally depends on the brand of t-shirt you're using as well as the placement of the decal on the shirt. In the example below, the skate is centered on the shirt and is the suggested youth M size of 8" x 8", however, if you wanted the skate to take up most of the shirt you could increase the size to a 10" x 10" decal and achieve a completely different look.

Photo credit: Envato


Here are the suggested sizes for adult t-shirts:

Women's fitted t-shirts run smaller than regular t-shirts so the decal naturally runs a bit smaller. For anything XL or above you'll want to measure the shirt and size the design accordingly.

Pocket decals should be around 4" x 4" and sleeve designs are typically 2" x 11".

Photo credit: Envato

Tote Bags:

Tote bags differ in sizes so you'll want to measure the height and width before making any decisions but for a standard tote bag the design should be around 11 inches wide. This leaves a nice border on all sides which creates a finished/cohesive look.

Photo credit: Graphic Burger

To summarize, it's always best to measure whatever item you're using before you make any design decisions. Over time you'll be able to look at an item and know what size you need to cut. Practice makes progress!

We hope you are feeling a bit more prepared to start on your new heat transfer vinyl projects! The Craftables blog has so many tools to help you get started. Check out the handy guides, Heat Settings for Craftables Smooth Heat Transfer Vinyl and Complete Iron-On Vinyl Guide next. You can always join the Craftables Community to receive help, support and endless inspiration. Happy Crafting!

About the Author


My name is Kayla and I’m a DIY loving mom of 3, living in North Carolina. I absolutely love creating! It doesn’t matter if it’s refinishing furniture or paper crafting, I love it all. I’m a former blogger for Silhouette America and current blogger for Cricut so I know the ins and outs of both machines and love teaching beginners all of the handy tips and tricks. Come visit my blog at or follow me on Instagram @kayla_made.

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