How To Make Custom Shirts

How To Make Custom Shirts

Sep 14, 2023Mike Powers

Creating your own custom shirts has never been easier. From individuals through to businesses, more and more people are using custom shirts as a form of self-promotion and to sell on as a side-hustle.

Whether you want to learn how to make custom t-shirts at home or you simply want to find the right solution to add your design to blank apparel, our guide on how to make custom shirts can help!

Table of Contents

  • Where Can Custom Shirts Be Used? 
  • Your Design 
  • Color Scheme
  • Design Placement 
  • Printing Method 
  • Top Tips For Making Custom Shirts

Where Can Custom Shirts Be Used?

Custom shirts are created and used by individuals and businesses all over the world, to show off their creativity and their brand.

They can be used in a variety of ways:

  1. For a side hustle or business selling t-shirts
  2. As promotion for a business or brand
  3. As trade show / expo giveaways in swag bags
  4. Gifts for employees
  5. Team uniforms
  6. To show off creative flair

Side Hustle

Approximately 2 in 5 (39%) of US adults have a side hustle according to a survey by Bankrate. A popular side hustle is selling t-shirts. It’s a way to express your creativity while making a bit of extra cash on the side. With platforms like Etsy, Amazon, eBay and personal websites, there are multiple easy ways to sell custom t-shirts online.

Promotion For Businesses & Brands

With the ability to add a logo or design quickly and easily, with long lasting durability, businesses of all sizes can use custom shirts as a promotional tool.

Trade Show / Expo Giveaways

A swag bag is a popular addition to a trade show or exhibition stand. Custom t-shirts can make a lasting impression on delegates and can see your brand or designs carried with them after the event.

Gifts For Employees

Employees are the heart of any business. A custom t-shirt can give them a sense of camaraderie with the business.

Team Uniforms

Align your team’s uniforms to provide cohesiveness and a sense of pride in the workplace with custom shirts.

Show Off Creative Flair

If you’re a designer or have a creative flair, you can bring this to life with a custom t-shirt design.

Choosing Your Design

Choosing your design is one of the most important parts of the process - it’s what will stand out the most.

There are two ways to approach this design -

  1. Consider who you are targeting with the custom t-shirts
  2. What message you are trying to get across

For example, a heavy metal festival will have a completely different target audience to a kids summer camp. Hone your design to the audience you’re catering for, for maximum impact.

The font is also important. Sans Serif fonts offer a more modern look, while Serif and script fonts are more classic. There are plenty of other fonts too, that can give your shirt a fun and exciting look.

Remember, it’s important that you own the imagery that you are looking to use, or you have the legal right to copy and reproduce the design.

Color Scheme

Finding the right color scheme can help to elevate the design. Every shade and every hue has the potential to evoke an emotion and this can help to promote your business or your shirt design even more.

However, depending on the type of printing method you use, the number of colors and the intricacy of the design can be difficult to achieve.

Your version of ‘orange’ may not be the same color as your printer’s version of ‘orange’. In order to find an exact color match, you may need to use Pantone (PMS) or custom blended CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key) inks.

Design Placement

Placing your design in the most eye-catching place is important. There are plenty of places your design can be placed:

  1. Left Chest
  2. Center Chest
  3. Full Front
  4. Oversize Front
  5. Back Collar
  6. Upper Back
  7. Full Back
  8. Sleeves

What Is The Best Printing Method?

The best printing method when you make custom t-shirts will depend on whether you’re making these from home or ordering from a supplier.

DTF transfers offer complete versatility regardless of your preferred application. They’re longer lasting, more durable even after 60+ washes and for the side hustlers, can be applied upon order meaning you don’t need to worry about storing inventory for products that may not sell.

Other printing methods include:

Check out our individual guides for more information on the differences between these methods and DTF.

Top Tips For Making Custom Shirts

Our expert team has put together some of their top tips on how to make custom shirts, so you can get the best quality to suit your needs.

  1. “Consider contrast to make sure your design doesn’t get lost in the shirt. If you’re printing a dark-colored design, then you should choose a bright (or white) colored t-shirt. Inverting negatives can also help your design to stand out.”
  2. “Complexity and intricate details aren’t always the right choice. Keeping the design simple can really enhance its readability. Some common composition mistakes include elements being too close together or too spaced out.”
  3. “The right typography and font can help to make your shirt more readable. Forgetting this can even lead to your message reading incorrectly, with words being placed in the wrong order. Keep your font and typography simple.”
  4. “Placement is important to keeping your design eye-catching. Placements are normally centered on the midpoint. However, if the design is non-symmetrical then it will need to be visually centered.”
  5. “Use high quality images in high resolution for the most impactful designs. Vector graphics are a great choice to customize a t-shirt with as they can be resized without losing quality.”


Knowing the best ways to make custom t-shirts can help your designs to last longer, remain vibrant and show off your brand or design better than ever before.

From choosing the right design for you, through to the color scheme, design placement and printing method, reviewing our tips can keep your custom shirts at the forefront of your marketing or side hustle efforts.

The DTF transfers on offer right here on our site can be the ideal choice to boost your brand visibility. Choose our transfers by size or gang sheet and print them on custom t-shirts to bring your design to life, today.

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