DIY Harry Potter Marauder's Map T-shirts (with Printable!)

by Robin

Before we left for our Spring Break trip to Florida, we made some super-nerdy-awesome t-shirts with the kids.  If you couldn't tell from the Harry Potter Gryffindor scarves I knit the kids, we are massive Harry Potter fans.  So far, we didn't have anything summer-weight for the kids to wear to shout their allegiance to everything Hogwarts.

Until now!  Together we made some simple t-shirts.

Don't you wish you had a Marauder's Map?  That technology is beyond our reach, but we are inordinately skilled at making t-shirt transfers.

Ed has been part of making hundreds (thousands?) of things with Iron-On Transfers.

Once or twice a year he teaches an Entrepreneurship class for Grade 11 students.  Their major project is to work together to be a company and create a project to sell.  Not just plan it - make it and sell it.  Eight times out of ten they choose a product that is customized with an Iron On Transfer.

This man has mad t-shirting skills.  And we're passing them onto you - below are the simple steps of how we made these Marauder's Map t-shirts - and we're sharing the printable template for you to make your own!

1. Create your Image.
I just made this with some clip art and fonts in Word.  Whatever you create on your screen you can make into a t-shirt.

2.  Print your Image.

Depending on the type of Iron-on Transfer you buy, you may need to change the print settings.  There are two types of transfer, choose your type depending on if you are printing.  You can choose Light t-shirt transfers for light colours or Dark t-shirt transfers for dark coloured fabric.

  • For "Light t-shirt Transfers" like these, you need to "Mirror" the printing on your printer. This is usually done via the "Advanced Settings" tab or button of your printer menu.  If in doubt, print a test sheet of plain paper using grey-scale ink settings. The words should be reversed so you can read them in a mirror.

Our Print Dialogue screen really buries the Mirror Print option. I had to click through three separate screens to find it.

  • For Dark T-shirt Transfers, you can print normally, but the transfers themselves have an extra layer of paper that needs to be removed before ironing.  Always cut as much white/ non-printed paper off before ironing, too - it will make things look tidier and make for less area to iron. 

  • Follow your transfer instructions.  Pretty obvious advice, but you'll find the timings sometimes sound long or excessive, but they are usually correct.

3. Prep your Shirt

Iron on a hard surface.  We used an ironing board, but placed a piece of wood wrapped in a pillow case on top of it, as our ironing board cover was pretty soft.

Start by ironing the shirt flat, so no wrinkles find their way into your cool image that you are ironing on.

4. Put the Transfer in place

Place the printed sheet image side down.

Anyhow, this is the reason you had to mirror the image when you printed it off - if you look through the transfer sheet, you should be able to see/read your image correctly now.

5. Iron on!  

Follow the directions, but when in doubt, iron longer and press more firmly. The basic idea is that you are heating the ink and forcing it to adhere to the shirt.

Follow the recommended cooling time and carefully peel off the paper backing to reveal your cool shirt.

If you notice any spots that aren't sticking to the shirt during the peel off, iron that spot again. They won't get any better, and once you remove the paper entirely, the ironing ship has sailed.

A Printable for you!  Click here to make your own Harry Potter Marauder's Map t-shirt!

And the back (to save transfer paper, we put 2 of the back's transfer on one page):

We've got the supplies to make more t-shirts - it's kind of addictive.  

Next on our list:

  • We've had a request for something Star Wars (- no surprise there, huh?).  I'm thinking maybe Han Solo and that great line, "I've got a bad feeling about this."

  • It would be so much fun to help the kids make t-shirts commemorate our family trips.  I love making collages using the free online photo site PicMonkey.  I'm picturing having them choose a bunch of their favourite photos and then create a collage of them in PicMonkey.  Print it on a transfer and voila - a neato way to remember our adventures.

Have you ever used Iron-On Transfers?  Got a cool idea for using them?


  1. What a great tutorial! My family is full of Harry Potter fanatics too ;) I love making homemade shirts. The only problem I ever had was the image peeling after a few washes. I noticed if I prewashed the t-shirts, as well as ironing the image for the max amount of time, it lasted longer.

    1. Thanks for the pointers - we agree! Homemade t-shirts sure don't seem to last as long as factory printed ones, do they. That might be part of the fun? Enjoy them while they last. :)

  2. I have never made a t-shirt before. Do I print the image on to iron on transfer paper from my printer? I am having a Minecraft party for my son. I want to make the creeper shirts. I love your ideas, thanks!

  3. Just one teeny little problem. The line is: "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good." The word "that" is missing from the image above...

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this! I might try it,and use some glow in the dark paint to add more footprints.


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