How to Make Your Own Custom Tees (And Get Them Listed!)

by on Oct 20, 2017

T-Shirt design has become an immensely popular outlet and lucrative opportunity for many creatives. Sometimes, though, it isn’t always intuitive. These are our tips and tricks on how to get started designing and marketing your own shirts:

Designing Your T-Shirt

The design is, without question, the most important part of your t-shirt. You can have a great printing method and a great marketing strategy, but if your design sucks, then you’ll be dead in the water before you’ve even started.

Take time to plan out and explore your concept. Sketch it out on paper a couple of times. Play with it in a digital creator. Mess around with the color schemes and think about how you want to position it on the t-shirt. Get it right now and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches later.

If printing, prepare your artwork properly. If you’re working in Illustrator or Photoshop and plan to work with a printer to print your t-shirts professionally, make sure you outline any text on your shirts and make strokes bold and clear. For artists who have a pinched budget, you can use free programs like GIMP, Pixlr, or Paint.NET. They work nearly as well as Photoshop…and they’re totally free.

Choosing a Method

There are numerous ways to get your design on a physical t-shirt. The most obvious and easiest way is to work with your local printing shop or with an online creator’s studio. RedBubble is a great choice for artists who just want to get their designs on a t-shirt and in a marketplace in a no-mess, hassle-free way. All you have to do is sign up and upload your designs. They handle the rest.

If you’re looking to sell your shirts on Etsy or Amazon, and don’t want to work with a local printer, there are plenty of ways to create your product using your design, a few materials, and a blank t-shirt. We’ve even uploaded a tutorial on how to screenprint t-shirts yourself. You could use CSTown to create sick rhinestone transfers (they aren’t just for kids and teenagers with questionable life choices!), or you could go full DIY.

If you’ve got a simple graphic design that’s mostly text, all you need to do is create a stencil out of contact paper and stencil it onto a blank t-shirt using high-quality fabric paint. If you’ve got a design that’s a bit more complicated, the method shown below works pretty well:

Tips &  Tricks

Regardless of your artwork or the method you choose to use to get it on a t-shirt, there are a few good pro tips to remember:

  • Stay on-trend. It’s good to be on, or even ahead-of-trend when creating t-shirts. Know what’s popular and what sells, be meme-savvy, and stay informed about pop culture.
  • Choose a niche. It could be a particular fandom, a topic, or even an artwork style. It’s good to have a memorable niche to ensure that your designs sell.
  • Use quality materials. Never skimp on materials. You’ll regret it. That includes choosing a reputable printing company if you choose to go that route. Educate yourself on how fit, sizing, weight, labeling options, and types of ink affect the end product. Know how your product might behave after a few washes or a bit of wear and tear.
  • Factor your price correctly. When choosing what to charge for your shirt, know first what similar shirts are going for, and then choose your price based on the market as well as the materials used and hours spent creating the shirt. Make sure it’s worth it!

Getting Your T-Shirt Listed on TeeHunter

So, what can you do once you’ve uploaded your t-shirt to somewhere like RedBubble, Etsy, or Amazon? Well, if you’re looking to get listed somewhere, TeeHunter is a great place to start! It’s easy to upload t-shirts. Once they’re up, they’re fair game for our tee hunters and bloggers to add them to awesome collections or feature them in blog posts.

If you have an URL ready, it’s as easy as heading over to our submit button and plugging it in, adding a few tags and a description, and hitting ‘submit’. Voila! Your shirt will be approved and seen by our community within hours. If you’d like a more in-depth tutorial, check here.

Good luck!

Written by

Elizabeth is a Portland-based freelance writer, who spends her time playing with her cat, blogging, working on the three-billion writing projects she has bouncing around in her brain, tutoring kids in writing and reading, and perusing the streets of Portland, looking for the best coffee shops and book shops.

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