How Much Vinyl Do I Need for 20 Shirts?

One of the many challenges a start-up faces is the constant mathematics and the accounting involved in the everyday running of the business. It would help if you were on your heels to make sure you are not losing more than you make. For a start-up Heat vinyl transfer business, you need to know the exact quantity of supplies required to avoid wastage.

My favorite source for Heat Transfer Vinyl online is Stahls. They are one of the oldest, trusted suppliers for vinyl and equipment. Check out Stahls’ multiple colors, sizes, and patterns for your next vinyl shirt designs: Stahls Heat Transfer Vinyl.

To calculate the amount of vinyl required for 20 shirts, you need to consider

  • Length and width of the design
  • T-shirt size
  • Cost per square inch of the vinyl

Using the decal size with the cost per square inch allows you to calculate the quantity of vinyl and the cost for the design.

Starting out as a new business is a challenge in itself, then you’ve got to figure out the ins and outs of the quantity of vinyl needed for 20 shirts. This is where I can help you find out how much vinyl is required and how to calculate the amount so you will know exactly what to do when a more extensive order comes in.

Size Chart And Placement of Decal To Calculate

71embCjpBjL. AC SL1188 1

To calculate the amount of vinyl required for 20 shirts is easy once you know the size range of the shirts. Most vinyl designs are first deciphered from a square or rectangle, which makes calculations for the correct sum of vinyl required much easier.

To determine the total amount of vinyl needed, you will first have to determine what size of design is appropriate for each size. You obviously cannot place a vinyl design that measures 9 x 9 inches (23 x 23cm) on a youth shirt.

Firstly it will look disproportionate, and secondly, you will be wasting vinyl. As a new business, the last thing you want is to incur unnecessary wastage, especially on supplies like vinyl. I have put together an easy table with an adult-sized chart and the approximate vinyl decal size.

For adults, shirts are available in two styles the standard loose-fitting shirt and the fitted shirt, which is suitable for the activewear market. You may consider using extra stretch vinyl with more stretch shirts, like your activewear shirts. Also, remember to add about half an inch around the decal design to accommodate the extra stretch.   

 Size RangeMeasurement
Adults Fitted ShirtXS – L9×9 inches (23x23cm)
 XL10×10 inches (25×25 cm)
Adults StandardXS9×9 inches (23×23 cm)
 S – M10×10 inches (25×25 cm)
 L – XL11×11 inches (28×28 cm)
 2XL12×12 inches (30×30 cm)

An important point to consider here is to add an allowance of another half-inch (1,27cm) around the design. This allowance gives you some space to play around with for those just in case moments!

Calculating How Much Vinyl Is Required For 20 Shirts

715fUrCye3L. AC SL1500 1

It is essential to know the shirt size before cutting out the vinyl because vinyl is available in various widths and lengths. And it helps to know the decal size, so you have a rough estimate of how much vinyl is needed.

To calculate how much vinyl is needed for 20 shirts, you need the following.

  • The width of the shirt
  • And the decal size (length and width either in inches or centimeters)

We’ll be working with a standard size Medium shirt. According to our chart for a standard Medium shirt, your decal size is estimated at 10×10 (25x25cm). HTV comes in sheets of 12x12inch (30×30 cm).

Therefore by using the following formula, you determine the quantity of vinyl to use on your various projects. In this way, you will have a good sense of what supplies to purchase with little to no waste, the costs, and what to charge your customers.

Decal Calculation For Vinyl Shirts

This calculation is used to work out the total amount of vinyl required. You can get vinyl in 12 x 12 sheets. These are great for more intricate projects. You may want to use the vinyl 12 x 24 sheets for larger designs with little detail.

Length x width = Total square inches or centimeters if you prefer.

12 x 12 (30 x 30 cm) = 144 inches (366 cm) at $2.45.

Cost of vinyl divided by the Total square inches = the cost per square inch or centimeter.

$2.45 / 144 inches (366 cm) = 0.02 cost per square inch/cm

Once you have the Total square inches/centimeters, you can now calculate the quantity of vinyl needed for one shirt. To cost the amount of vinyl for the design, use the following formula. For this calculation, you require the length and width of the design.

If the size of your design is 9 x 9 inches, the total square inches of the decal is 81 inches (206cm). For twenty shirts, it will therefore be approximately 81 inches (900cm) multiplied by twenty, giving you 16,50 meters of vinyl.

Total square inches multiplied by the cost per square inch.

81 x 0.02 = $1.62

This is the cost of a single shirt. Therefore, you can multiply $1.62 by twenty for twenty shirts, and you will know how much twenty shirts will cost.

If, like me, you find all these calculations a bit intimidating, consider drawing up a spreadsheet either on Excel or Google sheets. If you are using Silhouette Cameo or Cricut, they have built-in systems that perform all calculations automatically, taking away the hassles of doing them manually.

Heat Vinyl Cost

Vinyl TypeLength (in/cm)Width (in/cm)Total Square inchesPrice per inchCost per sq.inch
Black easyweed1215180$3.25$0.02

Design Cost Calculator

Vinyl TypeLengthWidthTotal Square in/cmCost per piece
Black easyweed9981$1.62

 If you are using vinyl sheets 12×24 inches, you require approximately 3-4 sheets of vinyl for twenty shirts.

You may prefer using the rolls instead of sheets, in which case you will require 1-2 rolls of vinyl. Purchasing the rolls may be better in the long term, especially when using standard colors such as blue, black, white, blue, or red. You will find vinyl rolls in 12 x 5 yards (55 m) are cheaper when buying in bulk.

Points To Remember For Vinyl Shirts

In addition to calculating the amount of vinyl needed for twenty shirts, it is also helpful to remember the following points.

  • The calculations given above do not include the shirt’s price. These differ from supplier to supplier, so it is best to find the one best suited to your needs.
  • It is helpful to remember for stretch shirts to use stretch vinyl. This accommodates for the extra stretch and prevents the vinyl from cracking.
  • Purchasing vinyl rolls saves you money and avoids wastage since you will be cutting the sheets down to the exact size of your design.
  • Rolls are helpful for designs more extensive than the sheets.


When you are buying vinyl, you need to consider the size of your design and how many pieces will be used. The more arduous the design, the higher the cost of printing will be. Also factoring in is how many of these shirts you intend to print. In this account, it would most likely be 20. Therefore, it is safe to say that since this template requires four sheets of vinyl per shirt and 20 total shirts, 80 separate pieces of vinyl will have to be used in order to complete this job.