9 Free Ways to Create Images for T-Shirts


You want to start selling print-on-demand shirts, but admittedly, you’re a little dry in the creativity department. You wish you could have some help in designing your t-shirt, such as through a program or tool. It’d be even better if these options were free, as you’re trying to save money. Are there any free ways to create images for t-shirts?

If you want to design your own print-on-demand t-shirts on a budget, try these 9 free options:

  • Canva
  • BeFunky
  • Desygner
  • Logo Maker
  • EDIT
  • DesignMantic
  • Spreadshirt
  • Vectr
  • Placeit

No matter what kind of t-shirt design is calling your name, such as a logo, vector art, or something else entirely, you can find what you need with one of the above 9 free tools. Ahead, we’ll discuss each option in detail and provide links so you can get signed up right away.

9 of the Best Free Tools for Creating Images for T-Shirts

Canva

The first tool we have to recommend is a better-known free image creator/editor, Canva. To get started using Canva, you do have to sign up, but you can use your Google or Facebook account to sync to Canva without making a new account.

Canva is designed for those who want to create stunning logos, invitations, t-shirts, posters, presentations, and more without a lot of experience. According to Canva themselves, it takes only minutes to make your design.

You can start by browsing templates. For your purposes specifically, you might want to look into logos or skip straight to the t-shirt templates. Here’s how it works: you browse the templates, and, when you find one you like, you click on it.

Then, you’re free to change anything and everything about that template, such as the colors, fonts, and text. You can also start with a blank t-shirt template and work from scratch if that’s what you prefer. Canva’s drag-and-drop editor lets you add to preexisting templates, upload your own photos, or place elements like grids, shapes, stickers, charts, frames, gradients, and lines.

Canva doesn’t offer all its services for free, so do make sure when choosing backgrounds and stickers to add to your design that you don’t select a paid option accidentally.

BeFunky

Your next free pick is BeFunky, which encourages you to “unleash your inner graphic designer.” Like Canva, you have to sign up for a BeFunky membership to begin using the website, but this doesn’t cost you any money to do so.

BeFunky offers three great services for creating print-on-demand tees: the Graphic Designer, Collage Maker, or Photo Editor. You could use any or all of these features for your t-shirt design, so let’s talk about them more now.

In the Graphic Designer feature, you can select from nearly countless templates. Admittedly, none are catered to t-shirt design specifically, but rather, categories like events and cards, online advertisements, business marketing, and social media. That’s not to say you can’t take a template and reconfigure it for a tee though. You just have to be a little inventive.

Besides, if you’re not crazy about any of BeFunky’s templates, you’re free to make your own from scratch. You can select the width and length in px in the Graphic Designer tool so your t-shirt design is precisely measured for printing.

The Collage Maker is for taking several photos and putting them into a collage, which you may then print on your t-shirts and sell. If you have your own images in mind, you can upload them straight from your computer. You can also browse a generous library of stock images and make a collage that way.

To use the Collage Maker, you only have to drag and drop your images where you want them so they’re a collage and then save when you’re done. It’s that easy!

Finally, there’s the Photo Editor. Once more, you can select a stock image that catches your eye or upload your own image. Drop it in place, and then you can make such edits as color mixing, leveling, tinting, tilting, edge blurring, softening, focusing, and smoothing. You can also tinker with your image’s glow, clarity, sharpness, vibrance, exposure, and size. 

Desygner

With more than 12 million users, Desygner, despite their name, is catered towards non-designers who want to make something extraordinary. Such businesses as Daimler, Anne Arundel Medical Center, Sinclair, Carrefour, Accenture, Independent.ie, and Keller Williams all use Desygner, so why not you as well to supercharge your print-on-demand business?

Editing in Desygner makes use of drag and drop so you don’t have to struggle to get your images and other elements placed exactly where you want them. You can even create layers, and yes, that’s without paying. If you want multi-page files and effects too, Desygner has them. All these high-end features and without dropping a lot of money for a program like Photoshop!

The templates available through Desygner are in the thousands, and you can always contribute to that number by making your own custom templates. The premade templates are editable from the ground up, allowing you to switch out the background, foreground image, colors, text, and font so your designs are as original as possible.

The royalty-free images Desygner uses include shapes, stickers, and icons so you’re not only stuck with stock photos. You’ll find thousands of shapes and icons and millions of other great free photos to work with.

To begin, sign up and make an account with Desygner. You can use your Facebook or Google login if that’s preferable. Desygner does have paid services, but you can avoid the premium templates and other paid features easily enough if you’re trying to save a buck.

Check out this great introductory video to Desygner on YouTube!

Logo Maker

The aptly-named Logo Maker is also another suitable way to create free images for t-shirts. You’ll only find logos here, but if that’s just what you want, then you’ll be very happy with this free tool. According to Logo Maker, it takes seconds to make a logo, and you won’t pay a cent to do it.

You don’t even have to sign up and make an account to get designing if you don’t want to. Simply type the name of your business or whatever logo you want to create. Then, select a category for your logo. Here are your options:

  • Wedding
  • Travel and hotel
  • Technology
  • Sports
  • Spa
  • Security
  • Retail
  • Religion
  • Mortgage and real estate
  • Politics
  • Photography
  • Medical
  • Landscaping
  • Internet
  • Industrial
  • Home furnishings
  • Recreation and games
  • Food
  • Flora
  • Beauty and fashion
  • Environmental
  • Arts and entertainment
  • Education
  • Romance
  • Tools and construction
  • Community
  • Childcare
  • Business
  • Vehicles
  • Architectural
  • Pets
  • Abstract

Of course, as you’d expect, you can make edits to your logo once it’s loaded, changing the colors, sizing, and adding icons, shapes, and text. Each element of the logo is editable and removable too if you don’t like how it looks.

When you’re pleased with your work, hit the preview button to see your logo without the Free Logo Design watermark. You can also reset the logo at any time to what it looked like prior so you can start over.

EDIT

The next free image creator to have on your radar is EDIT. Not only is this tool free, but you can design on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or home computer seamlessly. If you start a design on a non-portable device like your home computer but you have to use another device for the rest of the day such as your tablet, you can download your current design and pick right up where you left off anywhere and anytime.

You can make such fun things as album covers and logos that will surely look fantastic when printed on a t-shirt. To begin, you simply visit the EDIT website per the link in the paragraph above. Click the “Create Your Free Design” button and you’re off to the races.

You can select from a varied list of template and design categories, such as the following:

  • Music
  • Weddings
  • Startups
  • Work
  • Religion
  • Special events
  • Pets
  • Transportation
  • Internet
  • Fashion
  • Real estate
  • Business
  • Organizations
  • Tourism and travel
  • Leisure and events
  • Phrases and inspiration
  • Technology
  • Gyms
  • Gaming
  • Esthetic centers
  • Sports clubs
  • Education
  • Social media
  • Food and restaurants

After picking a themed category, you can begin exploring EDIT’s many templates. You can also search for a template to save you time.

When you click a template and load it up, you’re free to play around with it, changing the foreground or background image, editing or removing the logo, changing the colors, and introducing new elements.

To hold onto your design or keep editing it on another device, first save your work, then use the Archive feature to create a copy or download what you’ve done. You can also click the Download button to the left of the Save button if you need to download the design quickly.

That said, to save and access your work later, you will need to sign up for free on EDIT. You can either input your email address or log in through Facebook to join.  

DesignMantic

DesignMantic is a free tool for creating websites, logos, t-shirts, letterheads, flyers, email signatures, and more. According to the company itself, using DesignMantic to design your shirt can be done in four simple steps.

First, you select the type of shirt you want to design, including regular-necked shirts or polo necks. Then you pick the shirt style, including front or back design, adult, or children’s shirts. Third, you add your logo, choose your colors and font, and any shapes you’d like. You can also customize your shirt design inside and out from here.

Finally, you can either save your design and keep working on it or download it when it’s finalized. If you want to send the design to a printer through DesignMantic, that’s yet another choice you have, which is super convenient for your print-on-demand venture.

Feeling stumped on what your design should look like? Then check out the huge library of logos DesignMantic has on their website. You might search for specific logo themes or just look at as many logos as necessary until inspiration strikes.

Here’s a DesignMantic review on YouTube that will help you make up your mind about whether this is the way you want to create images for your print-on-demand t-shirts.

Spreadshirt

If you’re still mulling over your options, Spreadshirt is a company you can use to both make and sell your shirts. Their free t-shirt designer, accessible right on their site without signing up for an account, can let you eyeball what your design will look like on an actual shirt without taking the time to print one yourself.

Don’t be deterred by that blank, white t-shirt staring you in the face. Spreadshirt has plenty of graphics you can borrow for free to adorn on the shirt. These include categories like pets, weddings, new baby, astronomy, climate, and nature. You can also create graphics based around food, travel, comics, romance, music, jokes, sports, or holidays.

Got a loose idea in mind already? Use Spreadshirt’s design search feature to find just the template or graphic you need. Most of Spreadshirt’s graphics do cost money to use, typically a few dollars. If you’re willing to do some digging though, you can find free graphics.

You don’t have as much freedom to edit your design with Spreadshirt as you do with some of the other free tools we’ve covered, admittedly. You can adjust the color of the shirt, but not the color of the design, only its size and placement. Still, you might find Spreadshirt a suitable option for your design needs if you don’t need complex designs.

Vectr

Have you ever wished you could make vectors but without paying for a heftily expensive program like Photoshop? With the free tool Vectr, now you can. This online-based tool is always free, yet it’s been featured on TechRepublic, Forbes, Lifehacker, and Product Hunt. It’s a great little option to have in your back pocket.

Vectr does require a bit more dedication to your craft than the other drag-and-drop tools for beginners, as you actually have to learn it. That said, you can browse their tutorials or check out this video on YouTube so you can get a feel for how Vectr works.

Their tutorials are really in-depth too, covering topics like how to use interface prototyping, how to make a typographic logo, adding a watermark to your work, or designing your own custom t-shirts.

You must log in to get started with Vectr. Once you take the time to master this free tool, you’ll be so glad you did. You’ll have shoppers clambering to buy your designs, they’ll be that great! 

Placeit

If you’re still seeking tools for making t-shirt designs, then use Placeit. This free designer is made just for creating t-shirts, so it’s sure to fit your needs. The templates, of which there are dozens in each category, are all free to edit, despite the high level of detail included with many of them. That already makes Placeit a solid option to consider.

You can search tags such as baseball, hip-hop, 70s, musicians, Olympics, foodie, pop art, and more. When you find a design that suits your aesthetic, you’re free to change it up in just about every way imaginable. That includes the text, main color, accent color, background color, and the graphics. By the way, you can upload your own graphics or images too and edit them through Placeit.

When you’re done customizing your print-on-demand t-shirt, why stop there? Placeit also lets you create t-shirt labels, something we have not seen offered by any other free tool on this list. With your own custom label on your shirts, you can solidify your brand and make your t-shirts stand out even more in a market that’s saturated with online shirts.

Conclusion

Do you want to create your own killer t-shirt designs, but you lack the graphic design skills to do so? No biggie! The 9 tools we recommended in this article will make you look like a pro without the need to go back to school.

Oh, and the best part? These tools are all free! Yes, that’s right. You can cancel that expensive Photoshop subscription and create jaw-droppingly good t-shirts without spending a dime. No matter which of these tools you choose, you really can’t go wrong. Best of luck!

Henrik Bruhn

Owner of a danish Print On Demand production facility and writes about the craft, techniques, and trends in the business

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