How To Make a T-shirt Design in Photoshop

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How To: Make a T-shirt Design in Photoshop

For a professional-grade design, you need to use a professional-grade program.

Quick Tip:Need beautiful shirts printed ASAP? Check out our reviews of the bestT-shirt printing services. Prices start at just$8.65/shirt!

A T-shirt can be the most fun and relaxed part of your wardrobe. A T-shirt  also can make a statement, promote an event or be given as a present.

Creating your own shirt can be a lot of fun, but learning the ins and outs of Photoshop can be a little tricky. If you are looking to easily create a custom T-shirt that has the quality of a Photoshop design, check out these greatonline T-shirt printers.

However, if you are set on using Photoshop, this tutorial will teach you how to design a T-shirt by using CS5.

Start your design by sketching or making notes. Think about the end goal and what resources or images you will use.

TIP:Look for inspiration online. I found these on . You can find some really interesting ideas in terms of color combinations and use of text.

When choosing the type of T-shirt, think about who will wear it men, women or children? In what kind of climate will the shirt be worn? How many T-shirts do you plan to make? Keep these things in mind when yourepicking your printer, too.

TIP:To help picture the final design, use a picture of the actual T-shirt to lay out your design.

If you are not using your own photo or design, make sure you select a public domain image, which is free, or you can purchase a stock photo or design.

TIP:The image must be 300 DPI for high-quality printing.

Open Photoshop and, depending on the size you want your design to be, make the appropriate selections.

Go to FilePlace. When the window appears, find the photo or design file on your computer and click place. The image will then appear. Click on the move tool at the top of the left toolbar. A window will ask if you want to place the image. Click place.

Double-click the image layer on the layer palette to pull up the Layer Style menu. Here you can add shadows, glows, gradients or borders (stroke).

TIP:You can also select image and adjustments to play with the color of the photo.

Add any message or writing you would like on the shirt by selecting the text tool on the left toolbar and clicking anywhere on the canvas.

With the text highlighted, you can use the menu at the top to change the font, font size or font color. Keep in mind the color of the text should stand out against the background it is placed on and the font should be easy to read.

For T-shirt designs, printers usually request that you create outlines on any text you use. To do that, select the text layer in the layer menu and go down to Type and select Convert to Shape.

TIP:Once you convert the text to a shape, you can no longer edit the text, so double-check your spelling and grammar, making sure the text says exactly what you want it to say.

Before ordering a large quantity, have a sample or two made to be sure neither you nor the printer need to make any kind of adjustments.

If you want a smaller quantity, you may choose to print the design and iron on to your shirt. Larger projects can be sent to a T-shirt printer. Generally, the more shirts you order, the smaller the unit price.

TIP:If you choose to have a shirt screen printed, I recommend you use professional software and ask the printer how to prepare the file.

Designing your own T-shirt can be a fun project. It is a great skill to learn for celebrations, gifts or your business. For the best results, be sure you check and double-check your work, use high-resolution, non-licensed images and high-quality T-shirts from a reliable T-shirt printer.

Kristi Maddoxis a master of graphic design, on-site design and ordering, and is the go-to for template and design tool usage.

Kristi and the team order print jobs from every major printer to test quality, value, customer service, and more. See their reviews here:

tried to do this, couldnt get past step 6. what the heck is a layer

Good questions, Adam. Layers are what the different elements of your design lay upon. In other words, they are like transparent sheets that have a particular element on it, allowing the designer to stack multiple elements together and edit individual elements all at the same time. Adobe has a great tutorial on layers if you need more information.

is i better to try and create a shirt yourself or just hand it off to a pro? I am not that great at photoshop

h8_fog, I am confident that anyone, no matter what level of design experience they have, can create a great t-shirt design. However if you do not want to try it yourself, or do not have the resources, many of the online t-shirt printers offer great online design tool and templates to help. Check out our t-shirt printer rankings to find the service that will work best for you:

Hi thank you for this tip. It is really helpful. I am editing my own design for my t shirt. But when I am trying to convert to shape the text. It doesnt work. It always says like this, Could not complete the convert to shape command because the type layer uses a faux bold style Please help me to fix this problem. Thank you.

So glad we could help! For you specific issue, I believe if you go to Window Character and deselect the faux bold option in the Character Panel. After that is deselected you should be able to convert the text.

How do you know the pictures is 300dpi if your getting the image from google images?

There are a couple ways you can find out depending on what operating system you are using.

Right click on file and click Properties

In the Properties window switch over to the Summary tab

Under Summary tab click on Advanced button

Theres a list of information about the file including DPI

On the Menu Bar Tools Show Inspector

Shows a list of information about the file including DPI

Hi I want to design my own tshirts using Photoshop. How would I then print the designs I make on Photoshop on to blank tshirts? I want the print quality to be good so they dont fade or lose colour quickly after a wash. How would I do this? And what printer would I need?

Also how do you judge the size (step 4) to fit on to a t shirt?

Great question. My suggestion would be to check out some of thet-shirt templatesthat some online printers offer on their site. For the most part, these are easy to use and do not need an extra program like Photoshop. Plus, you can quickly order and get sizing information all in the same spot.

This excellent website definitely has all of the information I needed concerning this subject and didnt know who to ask.

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Youre welcome! Were glad that our site was able to help you out

If you are printing on Transfer paper, does the image need to reversed somehow so when you print it and iron it on, the text is readable? I may be over-thinking this, but I dont want to waste my transfer paper.

Hi Kim! Yes, when you are printing on transfer paper, you should reverse the image or text so it turns out correct. Hope your project turns out well!

i want to make my own t-shirt design so I draw a logo. the problem , I dont know how to make my drawing computerize. can you help me Thank You

Check out this article on how to computerize your logo drawing here Youll complete your own T-shirt design in no time! Good luck!

what is the best type of print machine to use for small scale printing and fade free prints

Hi Hillary! Unfortunately, its very difficult to purchase the type of printer youre looking for, but luckily there are online printers that can get the job done for an excellent price! We recommend using Vistaprint or DesignAShirt for printing small-scale, fade-free T-shirts: Keep in mind that screen printing is great for printing fade-free T-shirts, but cant print them on a small scale. Digital printing is great for small-scale batches and quite cheaper overall, too. Hope this helps!

Cool sitekinda saved me a lot of frustration. @printaholic, could you gimme your email?

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