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Selling is not a problem because my designs are good, and they have sold in the past, but if it costs ME 12 dollars to make a T-Shirt, then I obviously cannot make much of a profit.
Figure out what is making your specific order cost more and talk with the people that are printing it to see how you could make it cost less.

That could mean adjusting the design to have less colors, ordering more t-shirts so that your cost per t-shirt is lower, or maybe getting more quotes to find more competitive pricing. Or it might mean that you just need to price your t-shirts higher.

what would be the best way to make t-shirts at a low-enough cost to where I can still earn decent money?
Without knowing what your t-shirt designs look like, it's almost impossible to answer that.

Custom t-shirt pricing usually depends on how many t-shirts you order, how many colors in the design (if you're doing screen printing), what garments you're using, etc.

Depending on your design, there may be lots of options available.

Most sites I've looked at on the internet cost far too much with shipping, packing, etc. so I'm wondering if investing in a Heat Press is a good idea?
It is for some, but it may or may not be a good idea for you. We really can't tell with the information you've given so far.


Or if there are any sites that would'nt run my wallet dry?
We don't know which sites you've looked at, so we don't know which sites to suggest or which printing methods you're considering.

If you need a referral to a printing place, it's best to give as many specifics as possible so we can point you in the right direction. The best place to post those type requests would be in the service referrals section of the forum here:

http://www.t-shirtforums.com/referr...t-your-t-shirt-printing-design-requests-here/
 

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The screen printing sites that i've used in the past are CafePress, and Shirt Magic. I looked a Spreadshirt for a while, but for some reason never purchased anything.
Those sites aren't screen printing (at least cafepress and spreadshirt aren't).

You need to visit an actual "screen printer" website and get quotes for your designs. Try searching for screen printing in google instead of "custom t-shirts".

You'll probably get lower quotes if you actually get the t-shirts screen printed by a screen printer in bulk (24 pieces of the same design) and then sell them.

The magic johnson design couldn't be sold legally without permission from Magic Johnson himself. I'd suggest holding off selling that design.

But I'm still a little skeptical about a heat press, because I'm not completely sure how long a design lasts, how good they look, etc. But I'm sure there's a lot of posts and threads on that someplace on the forums.
Yes, once you get to reading in the heat transfer section of the forum, you'll learn more about the different printing processes and the different quality of each.

Heat Press and Heat Transfers - T-Shirt Forums

Be sure to read the Frequently Asked Questions as well:

faqs related topics at T-Shirt Forums

And these posts are a good overview on the different printing processes used to print t-shirts with the pros/cons/quality concerns of each:

http://www.t-shirtforums.com/general-t-shirt-selling-discussion/t37985.html

http://www.t-shirtforums.com/general-t-shirt-selling-discussion/t48532.html#post286215

http://www.t-shirtforums.com/general-t-shirt-selling-discussion/t57379.html
 

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He's got alot of colors working so the screen charges will kill him
Not necessarily. Some screen printers are flexible with their screen charges. With a little research and maybe some changes to the graphic, I think it would be possible. For example, the first one is really just 3 colors depending on what color garment it was going on.

as for the copyrighted images ie Magic and who's cigar lable is that?
Anybody the lawyers can reach. I've heard of both printers getting sued and the designers getting sued for stuff like that.
 
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