Tips for Creating T-Shirts for Car Shows

Just as April showers bring May flowers, the beautiful summer weather brings out the best of the classic cars! Car shows are a big opportunity for custom t-shirt businesses. If you like to take your heat press on the road, there are even more possibilities for customization at the shows.

The nice thing about printing custom shirts for car enthusiasts is that there is no shortage of car shows. Most cities have their own car shows or cruises. These types of shows will consist of a mix of cars and years. Depending on the size of the city, they will vary in the amount of participants and attendance. A shirt design with the city, date and a mix of car clip art would be good for this type of event.

However, there are plenty of opportunities for larger shows, which tend to bring in thousands of people over the course of several days long. These larger car shows are typically known as “Nationals” for each make of car, such as the “Pontiac Nationals”, “Mopar Nationals”, etc.

Most car models will even have their own big show each year, where people come from all over the country to show off their car. These types of shows tend to move around the country and will be hosted in a different city each year. A quick Google search will help you find plenty of shows and where they are located.

Classic car owners love their cars to a whole new level. If you own a classic car or know someone who does, you will know what I mean. Some people treat their cars as they would a member of the family or as a significant other (I say this as only partly joking)! I grew up with muscle cars my whole life, going to plenty of car shows. My dad and I would take several road trips each summer, creating lots of memories for me. At most of these shows, there would be t-shirt vendors selling car shirts. Along with plenty of pictures that I took, I also took home my fair share of t-shirts from these shows. If you know someone who is into cars or owns a vintage car, you probably see them in a car t-shirt frequently. Classic car owners have a closet full of auto shirts, and can never get enough of them.

Tips for Selling Custom Car Shirts

If you want to sell shirts at a specific show, you will need to know which kind of cars will be at the show you will be attending. Once you find that out, you will need to do a little research on which years of those cars are the most popular. Just like newer cars, the old ones were changed year to year, and car enthusiasts can point out what year the car is. When you design your shirts, keep this in mind. If your design shows a less popular model year, the shirt will be harder to sell.

You have a few options when it comes to designing your shirts. You can make car specific shirts, which feature more of the car itself, or you can go the route of having show specific shirts, featuring the city, date, and name of the show. Having a combination of these may be a good idea. Heat applying them on the spot will allow you to have better inventory control so you don’t print too many shirts with show specific information that you won’t be able to sell after the show is over. (tip: Be careful not to use copyrighted logos. If you plan on making a lot of car shirts, you may want to look into getting permission to print licensed apparel.)

custom car shirt

This design started with layout QMT-49 and was customized in Easy View.

Taking your heat press on the road to car shows can be a big sales opportunity. As mentioned above, car owners love their cars, many of which may have their own name for their car. When you are at the show, offer personalization on the shirt with a name, using Peel and Press letters. They may want their own name on the shirt, such as BOB’S ’70 CHEVELLE (side tip: to have an apostrophe, simply cut off a part of a lesser used letter on the sheet).

screen printed transfer letters

Our pre printed sheets of letters are perfect for added personalization. Just peel off the letters you want, align, and press!

Make your designs unique and irresistible that will make a great souvenir. If you are looking for full color in your designs, try our digital transfers or Stretch Litho transfers.

Looking back, I still have and wear many of my car shirts that I would get at the shows that my dad and I went to. Just like most custom shirts, each one brings back a fond memory.

old car shirt

One of my many old car show shirts that has seen better days!