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Step-by-Step Guide to Designing Your Custom T-Shirt

Published: June 26, 2024

​Isn't it amazing how a lot of your friends are wearing t-shirts that are true to their style lately? There's a secret sauce behind their personality-representing style game: they love to make custom shirts.

It's not just your friends. People across the globe are jumping on the bandwagon. Statistics don't lie. In 2020 alone, the global market for custom t-shirt printing was valued at 3.8 billion US dollars. It seems like the fame won't die anytime soon, with its market expected to grow by a whopping 9.8% CAGR from 2021 to 2027.

Truly, custom t-shirts have become all the rage these days. Whether you want to use them or gift them, wait no longer.

If you have no idea how to make your own t-shirt design, don't worry! Just read along to unlock secrets about customizing and gifting t-shirts for reflecting personal style, promoting businesses and making your gifts stand out. Our step-by-step guide can help you design your own shirt seamlessly.

1. Create a Mental Picture of Your Design

Whether you bring any small clothing business under inspection or a famous fashion house, you will notice that it's always a good design that lays the foundation of every great clothing item. You also need to have a good design for an appealing custom t-shirt. It is easier than you think. Just follow these steps:

● Define the Purpose of Your T-Shirt

Before anything else, weigh up the reason you wish to design your own shirt. Would you love to design custom t-shirts for yourself? Do you fancy using these shirts to publicize some events? Or do you want to make a special gift for someone?

Once you have the answers to these questions, purpose in mind, designing will be easy-breezy. This purpose will guide all your decisions as you create your own shirt design.

● Use Multiple Sources for Inspiration

Next, don't limit yourself to one place for print and design ideas. Look for inspiration everywhere! Pinterest inspiration boards are go-to sources for many in this regard. You can also browse online, look into some magazines or go for a casual stroll in the mall to garner ideas that best suit your interest, style, and purpose.

The more design inspiration you have, the easier it will be to design your custom t-shirt.

2. Choose the Right Materials

Once you have nailed down your design, quickly move to selecting the right materials for your shirt.

● Select the Type of T-Shirt

Think about what type of fabric, fit, neck design and colour can help you bring your custom t-shirt design to life. You can choose from a range of vibrant colours or pastel colours that you like and fit that best represent your style.

You can choose from a good variety of neck designs, such as:

● Go with the Right Fabric

Did you know there is a well-developed concept of fabric glossary? You can benefit from it while sorting through different fabrics to find the best match for your t-shirt. Just keep your purpose and comfort in mind while you are at it.

Some popular options are:

1. Cotton

  • It is soft and breathable
  • Contains decent moisture absorbency
  • Best for environment
  • It may shrink due to excessive heat and aggressive washing
  • Prone to wrinkles
  • Compared to other options, it is less durable and can wear out faster

2. Polyester

  • It is highly durable
  • Has wrinkle-resistant property
  • It dries quickly
  • It is less breathable compared to other options
  • Not suitable for warm temperatures because it absorbs heat

3. Cotton-Polyester Blends

  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Easy care and maintenance
  • Affordable
  • Varying quality due to different blend ratios
  • Less biodegradable than cotton

4. Bamboo

  • Very soft and smooth
  • Natural moisture-wicking property
  • Anti-bacterial and odour resistant
  • Eco friendly
  • Delicate
  • Requires special care with washing and drying

By carefully weighing these factors, you can pick a fabric that matches your design and enhances your overall wearing experience.

3. Create the Design

After you are done with conceptualizing the design and material section, next comes the interesting part of creating designs for printing your own shirts.

No, don't be sad thinking about how can i make shirts. You don't have to draw the designs and get them digitally designed later to print on your shirts. You can design t-shirts from the comfort of your home using your smartphone or laptop:

● Use Designing Software and Tools

Make good use of designing and editing software and digital tools, namely Canva, Adobe Illustrator, or GIMP, to create your own shirt design. These tools house various ready-to-copy and editable templates and designs that can help you learn how to make shirt designs easily.

If you are up for a more easy and relaxing designing experience, you can opt for designing shirts on the web pages of custom t-shirt designing companies.

● Get the hang of Various Design Elements

Your custom t-shirt designs will be centred around three main elements:

1. Fonts

You can explore different fonts, their sizes and styles to appropriately match the message you want to print and arrange the text effectively.

2. Graphics

You can select or create images, icons, or logos that complement your design theme and any organization you are affiliated with. You can print logo on shirt after designing it for specific events or days, too.

3. Colour Theory

Understand the idea of colour theory thoroughly to make sure your text stays readable against a certain colour background.

● Bonus Tips for Creating Balanced and Captivating Designs

1.Keep your design simple yet impactful.

2.Don't overcrowd your design with lots of icons and graphic elements.

3.Balance the text and graphics in your design.

4.Pay particular attention to spacing and alignment for a clean and polished look.

5.Choose darker font colours for lighter backgrounds and lighter font colours for darker ones.

6.Make sure your design compliments your shirt's fit.

4. Wrap up the design

Finally, see your design without bias and scrutinize it. Think of it as someone else's design and look for issues with text readability, colours, spelling and alignment.

After you are done with a thorough examination and review, wrap up the design. Save it on your mobile device or laptop in formats like PNG, SVG, or PDF that are print-friendly. Just ensure your design file has the correct dimensions and resolution.

5. Choose the Right Printing Method

Are you still wondering how to make custom t-shirts with designs that captivate everyone's attention? Then choosing a print method suitable for your fabric and design can be your best bet. Factor in your budget and preferences and consider the following printing options:

1. Screen Printing


  • It is perfect for large orders with vibrant colour designs
  • Cost-effective in case of bulk production


  • Limited colour options per design

2. Direct-to-Garment Printing


  • It is suitable for intricate designs
  • Best match for small quantities and on-demand printing


  • Compared to other methods, it has a higher per-unit cost
  • Less durable than screen printing for large runs

3. Heat Transfer


  • Good for small batches and full-color prints
  • Cost-effective for short runs


  • Print quality can vary based on the transfer material
  • Less durable than other methods

4. Sublimation


  • Best for polyester fabrics with vibrant, all-over prints
  • Durable print that won't crack or fade easily


  • Limited to polyester or polyester-blend fabrics
  • Can be pricey because it requires specialized equipment and materials

6. Find a Printing Service

Now that you are almost done on your part, it is time to give it one last go by finding a printing service to take over the remaining process. Consider local print shops or opt for online services like Toronto Tees for convenience and quality without having to leave your home:

Benefits of Ordering T-shirts from Toronto Tees

If you previously had no idea how to make personalized shirts, order them from Toronto Tees to avoid any hassle. They not only offer top-notch quality and service but also some noteworthy benefits like:

  • You can have an interesting portfolio of designs and creative suggestions at your disposal.
  • Put your worries about how to create a shirt side with Toronto tees. Use their design options.
  • Reap the benefits of a quick turnaround time and transparent pricing.
  • Toronto Tees has a large clientele with great reviews, making it a reliable custom t-shirt service.

7. Place Your Order

Lastly, place your order. Compile all your design specifications; colours, alignment, shirt fabric and fit. Provide clear printing instructions.

Finalize your order by filling out your payment and shipping details. Go over the details once again before you hit that 'BUY NOW' button and start waiting for your shirt's delivery.

Wrapping Up:

It is fun to design your own custom t-shirt. Now the next time someone enquires how do you make shirts so interesting and comfortable, gift them one from Toronto Tees to express your love and care.

It will be an unavoidable occurrence if you wear custom t-shirts that truly represent YOU! 

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