How To Score Money With T-Shirt Designs

Simon Slangen 23-10-2008

How To Score Money With T-Shirt Designs 1022886 skullPeople love T-shirts. It’s the single most worn type of clothing (except underwear, of course).


Why? They’re comfortable, unisex and, most of all, very personal. T-shirts come in different sizes, models, and with tons of different prints. This allows you to wear T-shirts that fit you and your personality.

The only thing people love more than T-shirts is money. Money to buy new and more T-shirts, or just money to have.

Say if we combine these two? Instead of spending money, you’ll receive money.

Receive money for receiving T-shirts? Sadly, no. The first law of physics applies even here. One must give for one to get. But you can receive money for designing T-shirts.

How To Score Money With T-Shirt Designs threadlesslogo2Threadless is one of the best known online T-shirt retailers. What not so many people know is where all those T-shirts come from.


Featured on the “participate” part of the Threadless website is a “submit” page. Throughout this page, you can hit three roads; ‘critique’, ‘slogan’ and ‘design’.


threadless - t-shirt design ideas

This part should be the first stop for everyone. You have an idea, some artwork or some sketches, or maybe even a fully fledged T-shirt design, but you want more than just one opinion on it. What are its strengths & weaknesses? Is there something missing or do the different elements repress each other?

In short, you want some constructive criticism. When your ideas are submitted, you’ll receive feedback from the community. Listen carefully to what they say – it can only make your work better.


If you are done with the critique part, or if you’re just absolutely confident you don’t need it, move on to slogan or design.


t-shirt design template

Think big, start small. Superman didn’t try to rid the world of crime the first day he found out about his powers. He started by helping out at the barn, getting rid of some minor foes.

If you think you aren’t ready for the big deal yet, start with something smaller.


In the slogan section of Threadless, you can submit your own slogan to be printed as a Threadless TypeTee. Try to think of an amazing tagline, an ironic metaphor or a funny statement.

If you’re in luck, you’ll score $200 cash and a $100 gift certificate!


tshirt design template

So you’re up for the job? You’ve sweated blood and tears trying to come up with the best concept ever? Try to make it different from the rest. Reject the usual and try to create a global jaw-dropping design.


Follow the next steps to finalize the project:

First, download the submission kit from Threadless’ submit page. The submissions kit contains the Tee Templates you’ll have to use to create a nice shirt preview. Also included are some pictures you can use for placement inspiration, a specialty printing PDF and a Decline Reasons PDF. Please read the latter two thoroughly.

The specialty printing PDF contains information on printing techniques and the different types of ink, in particular the different kinds you might want to use for further adjustment of your T-shirt.

If you don’t want your design to be instantly declined, read the Decline Reasons PDF as well. Herein lies a list of things you’ll certainly want to avoid.

Next, submit your idea and wait for the community to respond. During the following seven days, other users will view, review and rate your design. Ultimately, Threadless will manually pick a winner out of the best designs.

If your design gets chosen, you’ll receive the following goodies:

  • $2,000 in cash money
  • $500 worth of gift certificates
  • $500 each time your design gets reprinted
  • a membership for the elite Alumni Club on Threadless

If your design does extremely well, and becomes one of the “Threadless Awards” winners, you can also receive up to $10,000!

Don’t lay your expectations too high. There are a ton of people going after this and only about ten people who get their T-shirts chosen each month.

It’s very nice to participate in, though. You’ll get feedback on your work, perhaps a chance to try something different than usual, and you’ll always come out better.

If you decide to give it a go, let us know what designs you come up with!

Related topics: Adobe Photoshop, Fashion, Make Money Online.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. James Whitworth
    February 27, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Nice blog, I decided to try it out and see what happens, seems like you also need to be part of their community to get enough votes also so I am trying it out. You said to let you know what designs you come up with so I am posting the design up for voting to see if I can muster more support:) I hope everyone enjoys the playful nature of the shirt

    • Simon Slangen
      February 28, 2009 at 11:11 am

      Apparently your link didn't come trough.

      Looks good by the way! And it seems you're getting some nice support.

  2. Aibek
    October 25, 2008 at 10:01 am

    I tried submitting design once as well, and although it didn't make anywhere I learned a few things from it. If you're even a bit creative and have some Photoshop skills I recommend you try it.

  3. Scott T.
    October 23, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    I love Threadless, but they're standards are a bit too high for my skill level. Design By Humans on the other hand, is much easier to get featured on. I've had two featured, and several people from a forum I frequent have had more.

    Thanks for giving some love to the designers behind the shirts. :D

    • Simon Slangen
      October 24, 2008 at 1:03 am

      Sure, threadless isn't the only site where this is possible, but it has the most extended platform. Most websites offer only a 'shirt design' solution, where threadless also offers critique and the slogan solution. Because threadless is choosier, you'll learn more from it.