Printing Your Own Line of T-Shirts

As an apparel decorator, there are many opportunities to grow your t-shirt business. Many businesses are printing custom apparel, but have you ever thought of printing your own line of stock t-shirts?

Printing your own line of t-shirts is an excellent way to supplement your custom apparel sales. You can make it as simple or as detailed as you wish to make it. If you have a heat press, you are already set up to do it!

There are a couple ways you can go about printing stock t-shirts. The first way to print stock t-shirts is to just use stock transfers. This is the easier way and less of an investment for you. All you have to do is buy a pack of stock transfers. These are available through Once you find a few designs you want to sell, order a pack of each. This is a great way to get your feet wet in selling stock t-shirts and to test your particular market that you would like to sell to.

The other way to sell stock t-shirts is to create your own line or t-shirts. This method takes a little more involvement, but could really pay off for you in the long run. The idea here is to create your own brand of t-shirts and use custom transfers, instead of stock transfers, to create your own unique “stock” designs. These designs could be sold individually without personalization for a group. You can easily design your own shirts using our layouts and our online designer, Easy View®.

No matter which way you choose to print your line of stock shirts, here are a few tips to think about.

At first, you may want to order a lower quantity. This way, you can test out which ones sell. When you get your transfers, only print one of each design. You can use these as a display or to take photos. Print on demand so you aren’t stuck with a bunch of printed inventory that may end up not selling or take longer than expected to sell. That way you aren’t tying up money in printed inventory. When stored properly, transfers can have a long shelf life.

Consider your target market as you plan your line of t-shirts. You can target your geographical area or a particular niche. If you want to target your geographical area, city and state pride apparel is becoming increasingly popular. Maybe your area has local attractions that you can use as a theme as well.


Ohio Home t-shirt design

This design started with layout QAL-1 and added the state of Ohio clip art X17A-24OH behind it.


city pride t-shirt design

This layout, QAL-534, uses a popular t-shirt design.


city pride t-shirt design

Use a city skyline in layout QAL-515.

If you want to gear your line of t-shirts towards a particular niche, pick out a topic or group of people that you would like to design t-shirts for. Do you have a particular interest or hobby that you could design shirts for? For example, maybe you like hunting, so you create a line of t-shirts all about hunting. If you live in an area where hunting is popular, you can sell them locally in your store. If your area does not support a large hunting crowd, maybe you would have better success selling them online to attract a larger hunting market.

hunting t-shirt

This design started with layout QEV-138 and used t-shirt number NP0021R in the Transfer Express Apparel line.

The key here is to target an audience that would buy your shirts, and focus on this market. It rarely pays off to try to be “all things for all people”. Planning your brand around one particular group of people will give you better success overall. Create a brand that they can relate to and would want to buy from.

[Related Content: A Quick Brand Guide for Lasting Results]

Another option for selling stock shirts is if you sell custom apparel at events. In this case, you can print and sell a custom design or 2 for the event itself, but then sell stock shirts for that particular group of people as well. For example, if you sell at a sporting tournament, such as a cross country meet, you will probably have a design or 2 for that race name and the date, etc. In addition, have a few stock designs on hand that are simply about running in general, and not about that particular meet.

[Related Video: Start Your Own T-Shirt Line Using Custom Transfers]