If you’ve visited the Shop page on this website, you’ll see that I create designs that are printed onto T-Shirts. To do this I take advantage of a Print On Demand (POD) supplier based in the USA and Europe, called Printful. I have also added a selection of designs to marketplace sites such as TeePublic, Red Bubble, and Etsy.
In this blog, I’m going to share with you a part of the process to set up designs with Printful and TeePublic.
There are many design apps and software options available that will allow you to create designs that you can then upload to POD suppliers or Marketplace sites.
Inkscape is free downloadable software that allows you to design high-quality graphics, similar to Photoshop or Illustrator, and has been my program of choice.
To get started go to https://inkscape.org/ and download the program to your desktop/laptop. As a beginner with very basic design experience, I found YouTube a wealth of knowledge when it came to finding my way around Inkscape. In particular, I loved the channel Logos With Nick his range of tutorials.
Working files will be saved as SVG but you want to export them as a PNG with a transparent background, and with a high dpi count. I like to save files with a minimum of 300dpi, but usually at 400dpi, to allow for printing on larger items without losing the image clarity.
Once you have a design ready to go, it’s time to start designing how it’s going to print on a T-Shirt. For this step, I love using Printful as I’m able to select my preferred brand, Bella+Canvas. While there are cheaper shirts available, I’ve found Bella+Canvas to have great quality and the all-important comfort factor.
To get started, go to printful.com and select if you’d like to start selling your designs, or simply order for yourself. If you are wanting to sell, then you’ll be taken through the process of setting up your store including details about your business.
Once your account is set up, it’s time to create!
Click Add Products
Select your item (I love the Unisex Premium T-Shirt from Bella+Canvas)
This is where you now want to upload the design you created in Inkscape or your preferred graphic design program. Note: Ensure the program you use that delivers the required size file for printing. (Canva doesn’t work for this, trust me I tried HaHa!)
When you click the Drop Your Design Here overlay on the shirt, it will open the pop-up where you can upload your design/s.
Select your design and now you want to resize or move the design to where you want it to print. Keep in mind that Printful is an automated process, they print it exactly as you’ve set it up during this process. If you put your design off centre, that’s exactly how they will print it. If there’s a typo, they will not correct it for you so take your time here and make sure it’s looking exactly how you want the final product to look.
Explore the tools and options on this screen. You can switch the grid off and on to allow you a clearer picture, add things to different parts of the t-shirt, create your own label, add extra text or clipart, and import additional files to create a layered design.
Click on the Product Tab at the top left of screen (below Configure Design) to finalise your garment options such as sizes and colours available and where you’d like your orders to be shipped from. Once you’re happy with everything, click Proceed to Mockups.
The next few steps may be different if you’re only printing and ordering for yourself. If you aren’t selling, you won’t be required to set the description, prices or categories. I have Printful integrated with Woocommerce so the following screenshots are based on how it looks for me.
Run through the options now to choose your mockups and if you’d like your images saved as jpg or png. Click Proceed to Desciption.
Name and enter a description of your item here or leave the pre-filled text as it is. Select if you’d like size guides attached and in imperial or metric measurements. Click Proceed to Pricing.
Next you want to set up your sell price. Mine shows now in AUD but I have been caught out here before when I didn’t realise the price here was in USD, but in my storefront it was AUD – be careful here so you don’t lose money in the currency conversion.
Another important thing to note is that the Printful Price does NOT include shipping! Be sure to either incorporate this into the profit margin when you set your prices, or be sure to set up a shipping price in your store.
Click Submit to Store and you can now sell! As I mentioned earlier, mine is integrated with my WordPress website through Woocommerce. You can also integrate Printful with e-commerce and marketplace platforms like Shopify, Big Cartel, Etsy and Amazon.
When someone orders through my website store, it’s a simple process to then submit the order with Printful. Alternatively, you can place an order directly through your Printful Dashboard by logging into your account at printful.com. I would suggest ordering a sample for delivery to your own address so that you know the process, shipping costs, and delivery times.
TeePublic is where I receive the majority of my orders and while it’s very easy, I do find the process slightly impersonal. I have no idea who buys my designs, and cannot choose the brand/quality of shirts that they are receiving. The sell prices are set by TeePublic, but the process is easy and sales are ticking over, so I still recommend it as a way to make some passive income!
TeePublic also allows you to add your design to many items in one easy process, as opposed to Printful where items are created individually.
To get started, go to teepublic.com and click on the blue Designer Sign Up button to the top right hand of screen, and set up your account. Once you have a Storefront, add a cover banner and profile image, and your links to your website and socials.
Then upload your first design by clicking Upload A Design
Take notice of the minimum file requirements shown at the bottom of screen here. When you upload your design, it will tell you if the file size is unsuitable for any of the items. I find most of my files aren’t suitable for wall art or tapestries.
Once your file is uploaded, scroll down the page to start the process of designing your items. Start by entering the title, tags and description, then you can go onto setting up each item.
Go through each item to activate them, choose colours, adjust the size/position, and choose the default colours that will display in your storefront.
Once your items are set up, check the Terms and Conditions box if you agree, and click Publish. Your item will now be available to view in your storefront, and will be added to the main catalogue on the TeePublic website.
As TeePublic is a marketplace, your design is competing with thousands of other designs. To help your items get noticed, ensure you are adding tags and an eye-catching title during the setup process.
Once your designs are set up with TeePublic, there’s not really anything else you need to do. TeePublic market their own brand and drive traffic. For this reason, it’s a great tool to add to your kit if you’re looking for ways to make passive income.
So there you have it – two ways that you can start creating and selling t-shirts with your own exclusive designs on them! The profit margins aren’t huge, but it can be a great way to test the market to see if people are loving your designs and before you invest in your own printing setup at home which can cost thousands of dollars.
Do you design and sell t-shirts? Let us know in the comments where we can check out your designs!
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