So if you’ve made it to this site then you’ve probably already asked yourself how can I make a T- shirt, make a business selling T shirts, create my own T shirt designs, or some variation of creating T shirts.
There are so many different avenues you can take towards creating your own garments because of the way technology has evolved. You can still Create your own shirts the old-fashioned way using silk screen and ink Or get yourself a vinyl cutter and a heat press and heat smash that design on to your shirt of choice. But now in today’s Ever-changing online world There are companies that will take your design file and slap it on just about anything you want and connect directly to your website via their website so that they can fulfill any orders you get.
This makes it to where if you want to be a T shirt designer but not really order a bunch and try and sell’em and then sit on inventory and even worse sit on bad designs forever that don’t sell, you don’t have to. Using just about any popular ecommerce platform like a WooCommerce or a Shopify store you can have your own shop up and running in little to no time and also little to no investment. After you hook up that eCommerce store too a direct to garment printing company, you can start trying out designs and seeing what works and what looks good.
After that it’s just about getting traffic and there are so many different ways of doing that that I’m not going to cover them here but once you start getting traffic to these designs you can figure out what’s working and what’s not and adjust as you go. One quick traffic tip, just get on every possible social media platform there is and setup a business account and keep those people up-to-date with your biz.
So maybe you really like the idea of creating shirts but don’t know how to actually create the designs in a digital form. Well, you could take a class on graphic design. You could probably find a free resource at your local library much like Lynda.com if you have a library card. You could binge watch YouTube videos and sign up for Photoshop for $9.99 per month or even use Gimp for free. You could also just outsource your design work to a company like Fiverr.com.
So you are an old school type or are just more into the DIY of it all then get yourself a pre-stretched silk screen, a squeegee, photo emulsion, ink, transparency paper with your design printed on it, and a lamp with a 150 watt light bulb. You pretty much just coat the pre-stretched silk screen front and back with the photo emulsion and let dry in a completely blacked out area. Then bring in your design already printed out on transparency paper and the super bright light. Let the image burn into the silk screen for forty five minutes and then rinse with cool water. Now you’re ready to squeegee some ink across that silk screen onto your garments of choice.
If you are a DIY’er but more on the Adobe Illustrator side of things then you might enjoy cutting and pressing vinyl designs. You can go out and get yourself a big ol’ appliance of a printer from Roland like the GS-24 and rolls of vinyl coming in many different colors. Now a device like this is more like the plotters from back in the day for plotting CAD drawings but instead of moving a pen around, these Roland vinyl cutters move a small sharp blade around cutting out the designs that you sent to it from your computer. The designs have to be created in a specific way so that when the cutter gets the info it’s basically a bunch of math calculations and plot points. That means that the art has to vector graphics much like what you create using programs like Adobe Illustrator.
So you cut the design and then have to remove all of the vinyl that represents the negative space so for instance in the letter ‘A’ you would have to remove the small triangle. Depending on your design this can be fairly easy or the worst idea you ever had. (Picture tweezers for hours on end picking the smallest pieces you’ve ever seen). Now you lay a huge sheet of double sided tape over the entire thing and pull the finished vinyl print off of it’s backing material. Then stick it on your garment of choice and now sandwich the whole thing in a large heat press that essentially cooks it into a final product.
The process can be a lot of fun and vinyl shirts have a different feel to them that may be just what you’re looking for. Another fun benefit of having this new Roland vinyl cutter is now you can create your own stickers as well and who doesn’t like stickers? If you really spend some dough on a high-end Roland Vinyl Cutter you can get one that also prints on the vinyl directly so you can print and cut out designs. Some of them let you print on different types of material so you could create large marketing signs or reproduce art work on canvases and now it looks like they even sell large ‘copy machine’ looking printer that will print directly to a t-shirt.
So we’ve explored a whole bunch of different ways to get your ideas onto a t-shirt and hopefully you learned something new or at least enjoyed the read. If you have any stories about you’re favorite way to create shirts or garments feel free to leave it in the comments below. I’d love to hear your stories. If you want to visit one of my current t-shirt endeavors please go check out ChristTShirts.org to see an example of a direct to garment WooCommerce store.