Thanks to Canva, anyone can create professional-looking t-shirt designs – even on a budget. Here’s how:
Watch the video below:
Starting a t-shirt business is a fun and creative endeavor, but the design process can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Fear not! If you’re feeling artistic block, or your budget doesn’t allow for a professional artist, the Canva app has got you covered. With this tool, even the most design-challenged can create amazing t-shirt designs that won’t break the bank.
This article is your roadmap to success. You’ll discover how to recreate the hottest-selling designs using Canva, and you’ll do it in a snap. By the end of this read, you’ll be ready to create your own must-have t-shirt designs, ready to sell on marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon and Redbubble.
Sounds good? Let’s begin!
What Are Variation Template Designs?
When it comes to creating multiple t-shirts, variation templates are your secret weapon.
These templates offer a convenient and efficient solution for easily creating multiple t-shirt designs. Simply modify a single variable, typically the image or text, while keeping the core design, font, and image intact. This saves you valuable time and effort compared to starting from scratch every time.
Templates save you time from having to start a design from scratch, which also is great for when you’re starting out.
Not only are variation templates a time-saving tool for designers, but they also have the potential to bring in big profits.
For example, take a look at these designs. If you look closely, they’ve used variation templates and only swapped the words. That’s the power of templates can offer non-designers; you only need to change the text or image. And how easy is that?
This can be effective for people who don’t have a lot of time to create designs. With this method, you only need a few hours to create 10-30 designs. Imagine how many you could create in a month?
With the help of Canva, a free graphic design app, we can use templates to create stunning designs.
Besides variation templates, Canva also offers other helpful features like:
- User-friendly features: Canva offers an easy-to-use interface that makes it simple for even non-designers to create professional-looking designs.
- Wide range of templates and elements: Canva offers a variety of templates and design elements, such as images, graphics, and text that can be used to create custom designs for t-shirts.
- Affordable pricing: Canva offers both a free version and an affordable paid version, making it accessible for people on a budget.
- Access to millions of stock images: Canva has access to millions of stock images, which can be legally used to create unique and eye-catching designs.
- Convenient sharing options: Canva makes it easy to save designs as ready-to-use mockups, by providing convenient sharing options.
- Consistent brand representation: Canva’s templates and design elements can be customized to match a brand’s color scheme and style, ensuring consistent representation across all designs (more on this later)
Not to mention the time and money you would gain back by not having to hire a professional artist.
Now, let’s put Canva into action by creating a popular t-shirt design being sold on the Etsy marketplace.
How to Use Canva to Recreate Popular T-Shirt Designs
For this example, we’re going to create a retro sunset silhouette design. This is a flexible design that can also work in other niches. Our niches will be dogs, particularly Dachshund owners.
Follow the steps below to recreate this design on Canva.
1. Create a free account. Go to canva.com and register a free account.
2. Create a design. In the home dashboard, click ‘Create a design’. In the custom canvas section, type the dimensions 4500 x 5500 then click ‘Create new design’.
3. Change the background color. Set the background color to black. If your design is on a white t-shirt, then keep the background white.
4. Add an element. Select elements and type “retro sunset” in the search bar. Filter your search to display ‘graphics’ only.
As you can see, there are numerous sunset graphics to choose from.
5. Add an image. As this t-shirt is for Dachshund owners, we’re going to feature this dog in our design. By searching for ‘dachshund’ under elements, Canva provides a vast range of professionally drawn images.
Once you’ve found a picture, we can also use Canva’s ‘magic recommendations’ tool to quickly find more variations of our image.
6. Add text to your design. Click the ‘Add a heading’ text block and type in your desired text. Above your canvas, you can click the colored button to change the font color. You can also resize the font by expanding or minimizing the corners of the text box.
Pro Tip: Canva has another cool feature that provides the same text color schemes within your design. This can save you time from matching color schemes by yourself, which can be heavily time-consuming as a beginner.
7. Change your font. Above your canvas, click the font drop-down menu, then choose your desired font.
Pro Tip: You can use the letter spacing tool above the canvas to change how close or far apart the letters are.
8. Add effects. Click ‘effects’ above the canvas, then select the ‘curved’ feature. Use the text box to wrap your text around the sunset carefully.
9. Create duplicate text. Select the text and click the duplicate button. Drag the duplicate text below the sunset, remove the curved feature, then add new text.
10. Save and download your image. Above your canvas, click the ‘Share’ button, keeping PNG as the file type. Select a transparent background and increase the file to the maximum size. Finally, click Download.
Note that saving images in a transparent background in maximum size are both paid features. But if you register for their 14-day trial, you can use all of their paid features until your trial ends.
11. Create variation templates. Here’s where the fun starts. We’re going to duplicate this template to create more variations. To do this, click the duplicate button to create a copy of your template.
Now, all we need to do is change the text and silhouette picture of the dog to create other designs. And the little 10 minutes we had, we made three template variations:
Can you see how simple it is to use Canva? With the basic tools we’ve shared above, you can quickly create designs that you can list and sell on marketplaces like Etsy and Redbubble.
The key is finding top-selling designs to recreate. Below are some tips to achieve this:
- Research popular trends: Stay current on what’s popular by researching current trends and themes, such as seasonal or holiday-themed designs, and incorporate them into your t-shirts.
- Study popular designs: Use Etsy’s search engine to find best selling t-shirts by searching for keywords such as “[niche] + t-shirt” or “funny t-shirt”. A t-shirt that sits on the first page of your results strongly indicates that many visitors are buying it. Study what designs resonate with customers and in high demand.
- Offer unique designs: Find designs that are unique or not widely available, as this lowers your competition while increasing the chances of it selling.
- Pay attention to niche markets: Create designs around specific niche interests, like pets or a hobby.
- Create designs that appeal to a wide audience: While niche markets can be profitable, it’s equally important to create designs that appeal to a wider audience to reach more potential customers.
Thankfully, there are an overwhelmingly vast number of designs out there. Gain inspiration from them, but never copy them. The key is to see how you can add your own unique twist to a design.
For inspiration, check out these four other template variation designs we made with Canva.
More Popular T-Shirt Designs Created On Canva
Retro Vintage Text Design
We love this design as it works well in many niches. You can find sellers in almost every marketplace selling this t-shirt style. And it wasn’t hard to create on Canva. With a simple text box, some vibrant colors and a distressed-looking font, we crafted a hot design in just 10 minutes.
“Things I Do In My Spare Time” Design
This design is visually striking, fun, and creative. While we tailored it for dog owners, this design appeals to other niches too, from plant enthusiast and bookworms to fitness fanatics and more.
Funny Retro Sunset Silhouette Design
This design lends the colors from our first example, but sprinkles in some humor. The innocent-looking Corgi, combined with lyrics from the song ‘Every Breath You Take’, creates a funny joke.
Funny Slogan Design
Here’s a funny slogan in simple white text.
Often, simplicity adds more humor to a design. This is why a joke written in fancy text won’t get as many laughs as a handwritten joke. Because when it’s handwritten, we feel like the person wearing it actually wrote it! And so when you read it, you imagine the person wearing it is sarcastically saying it themselves.
Ready to Create T-Shirt Designs Like a Pro?
Are you ready to unleash your creativity and bring your t-shirt designs to life? Thanks to graphic design apps like Canva, you don’t need to feel intimidated by the thought of creating your own designs. Their user-friendly platform provides all the necessary tools to transform ideas into visually stunning pieces of art. Say goodbye to the limitations of not having any design experience.
With a wide array of templates at your fingertips, designing t-shirts has never been easier. Simply choose your preferred template, swap out the text or image, and voila! You can now create multiple eye-catching designs in record time. The best part? You don’t have to break the bank to get started.
However, it’s important to remember that while inspiration is great, copying is not. Take inspiration from popular designs and put your own spin on them to create something truly unique. This not only sets you apart but also shows your customers that you’re putting in the extra effort to create one-of-a-kind designs that they’ll love.
So, don’t wait any longer. Embrace your inner designer and start creating fantastic t-shirt designs with the help of Canva today. You’ll be amazed at just how easy and enjoyable it can be!