Last Updated: December 7th, 2023

How To Start Custom T-Shirts Design & Printing Business

How To Start Custom T-Shirts Design & Printing Business

T-shirts are a popular craze among people of all ages. In modern civilization, this has become a contemporary wardrobe staple for men, women, and children. Let’s learn how you can start making the small dream of owning a business and earning money by designing and printing t-shirts.

Step 1: Choosing the Right Fabric

T-shirts are all about comfort. Product products will stop selling if the shirt is designed beautifully but lacks comfort. Most commonly, t-shirts are made of cotton textiles in a stockinet or jersey knit.

These are better than shirts made of woven cloth. Some modern t-shirts are made of circular knitting machines to get rid of the side seams from the torso. 

Step 2: Selecting Your Customer

Before you start planning your designs, you need to target your customer group. You need to decide whether you are making your shirts for any specific aged people or fraternity or churches or only for some special occasions. 

Step 3: Choosing Your Store

You need to decide where you are going to sell your product. Some prefer selling online as there is a chance of advertising your product in a versatile way. Also, there will be no constraint by location. Your customer can be literally from anywhere in the world. But some might prefer setting up a store and selling products physically. 

The brand name is what attracts people in the first place. Be it online or in any store. If the brand name is not eye-catching, people will not bother to look inside. Also, choosing a logo that defines your product is crucial. Choosing a simple yet spectacular logo is the goal. 

Step 5: Getting Your Funds

If you have ample money to start as an entrepreneur, that is great. But there are other ways to get your funds too. You can ask for a bank loan, or organizations like BizyTee provide money to startup owners. Also, options like crowdfunding are always open. 

Step 6: Designing Your Stuff

Designing the perfect t-shirt is a hectic task. Often creative ideas are hard to come by. So here are some ideas that you can use to make a stunning shirt.

  • Make it simple and go with the classic lettering. Use quotes in bright colors.
  • Use a light garment to design your vintage lettering.
  • Go basic – use black and white t-shirts and indistinct layouts or geometric patterns.
  • Big photos of celebrities or picture collages via digital printing are a way to bring out your talent.
  • Keen and funny illustrations or popular characters viral on social media are worthy of a t-shirt design.
  • Color block is a new sensation. Use bold colors to create an illusion.
  • All-over print with a crewneck is pretty basic yet still popular.
  • You can always hand paint your t-shirts if you are an artist variety. This has a special demand among clothing brands. 

Step 7: Printing Decisions

Printing tees depend on a lot of variables, like how many garments we need, what kind of fabric to use, or what color to choose. Here are some details about the T-shirt printing. 

Screen Printing

This is the oldest method. It works like a stencil that has a fine mesh and is covered with an impermeable solution. Using a squeegee, the ink gets pushed through the mesh, thus creating a design.

 Things You Will Need

  • Photo emulsion kit
  • Screen (usually a mess stretched over a frame)
  • Transparent material to print the design
  • Brushes
  • Squeegee
  • Inks
  • A lamp
  • Pressurized water

Step 1: Create your design. Use the help of software or do it manually, but special attention must be given to the final design. 

Step 2: Cover the screen with emulsion evenly. 

Step 3: The screen should be dried in a dark room. 

Step 4: Create a stencil by placing the design on top and the screen below. Now use a light source to reflect upon it. 

Step 5: The design application is made by putting ink over the screen with a squeegee and distributing it properly over the screen. Make sure the garment below the screen stays fixed. 

Transfer Printing

As the name states, screen designs are printed on heat transfer paper instead of the T-shirts and later transferred to the shirt.

Most transfers are done onto the T-shirt using a heat press. Bold fonts and numbers are easily printed via this. These are popular for designing sports t-shirts. They do not require a lot of skill, but a maximum of 4 t-shirts can be printed from a single transfer paper. 

Direct to Garment Printing (DTG)

This is the most popular method for printing t-shirts now. It is like a printer that prints ink onto the fabric rather than paper. It works with water-based ink, so it is best to use cotton t-shirts for DTG printing.

According to, the cost of production is low, but there is a caveat. This process consumes the most amount of time to produce as well. So it is best to be used for small orders. DTG printing can create more vibrant colors and small details than other printing techniques. Therefore its popularity is at its peak. 

Steps to Follow

  • Create the design
  • Pretreatment of the shirt; a pretreatment liquid is used for the inks to attach perfectly and then left to dry
  • Prepare artwork using a software
  • Load the T-shirt onto the DTG printer
  • Print
  • Curation of garment

There are different T-shirt printing methods, and all have their pros and cons. But I think screen printing is the best for a startup business. 

Step 8: Marketing and Packaging

Packaging should be creative. Using cardboards in a non-conventional way to make it apprehensive is a trick.

Marketing the products via social media may provide you with a profit. Also, feel free to give discounts to get attention from customers.


Starting a business with printing custom t-shirts is no small feat. It is also a great way of becoming an entrepreneur.