How To: Earn Money for Creative T-Shirt Designs

Earn Money for Creative T-Shirt Designs

Why T-Shirts

T-shirts are a great way for people to express themselves, and like other art forms, unique t-shirt designs are becoming more and more popular. Websites that specialize in just t-shirts are popping up all over the internet with tons of opportunities for designers, and artists from all over the world are now considering t-shirt design as a way to expand their portfolios and make some cash. 

How it Works

All t-shirt design opportunities are available online through a variety of websites (discussed below), which lets designers work from anywhere in the world. Each site is a bit different in structure but overall very simple to use. 

Step 1 Find Design Opportunities

Here is a descriptions of some of the best design websites available to designers. Each of these websites sells only t-shirts that were designed by artists, so check them out and see which ones would fit your style better:


How to Earn Money for Creative T-Shirt Designs

Threadless is one of the most popular t-shirt design sites on the web, it is an online store with entire galleries full of t-shirts created by artists that are available to buy. All designs at Threadless, once submitted, have a 7-day voting period in which other Threadless members have a chance to vote on how cool the design is. Designs that have the best voting scores will be selected to be printed as t-shirts. So, every t-shirt at Threadless is chosen entirely by members of the Threadless community, not staff.


If your design is selected for print at Threadless you will receive $2,000 cash and a $500 gift certificate to Threadless. In addition, you will also receive $500 if your design is selected to be reprinted and you will be eligible to win multiple awards which are voted on at the end of the year.


How to Earn Money for Creative T-Shirt Designs

Design By Humans has three different contests in which designers can enter to earn rewards; a shirt-of-the-day, shirt-of-the-week, and shirt-of-the-month contest. Winners from each contest are chosen by members of the Design By Humans community which votes for their favorite designs.


Winners of the individual contests will get cash prizes which vary by contest. Shirt of the day winners will receive $750, shirt of the week winners will receive $1,000, and shirt of the month winners will receive $1,750. In addition, designers can receive more bonuses if their design reaches certain benchmarks of shirts sold. For example, if your design sells 1,000 shirts you will get an extra $500. there are additional bonuses all the way up to 10,000 shirts sold which will earn you a bonus of $2,500.


How to Earn Money for Creative T-Shirt Designs

Teefury is a one-a-day t-shirt website, meaning it has just one new tee available every day, which is chosen by TeeFury staff from design submissions. All t-shirts sell for just 9 bucks a piece, and have a full 24-hour day to be sold on TeeFury.


If your design is selected by Teefury to be printed and sold it will have a full 24-hour day for people to purchase the tee. As the designer you will get $1 for every t-shirt that is sold.


How to Earn Money for Creative T-Shirt Designs

Shirt.Woot is another one-a-day t-shirt website, but it is structured a bit different from Teefury. About half of the t-shirts selected for print are chosen by Shirt.Woot staff and the other half are determined by a weekly design competition. The competitions at Shirt.Woot (called derbys) have a weekly theme that Shirt.Woot chooses and is open to submissions from anyone. Submitted designs are presented and voted on by Woot members and the top 3 designs with the highest voting scores are chosen to be printed.


If your design is selected for print by staff or competitions, designers receive $1,000 plus $2 per shirt sold after the first day.

Step 2 Submit Your Designs

Once you have selected the websites that you think fit your style and goals best, you can start submitting your designs. Each website is different when it comes to submission formats, so make sure you read each websites design submission rules to make sure your design does not get rejected (all sites have very simple and reasonable rules to follow, but just double-check your designs to make sure).

Step 3 Promote Your Designs

Once you have submitted your designs, it is a great idea to promote your entries so that you have a better chance of being selected.  Promoting your designs that have been submitted to sites like Threadless, in which your designs are voted on by other members is especially important because it can lead to more votes. Here are some simple tips to help spread the word:


  • Use social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter to tell your friends and followers when you have new designs that can be voted on. This goes a long way in getting the ball rolling.
  • Create a simple blog where people can easily track your designs and know what you're up to.
  • Follow other artists' blogs to see what they are doing to promote their work.

Now that you have an idea of how to add t-shirt designs into your portfolio, go make some designs and have some fun making money from them.

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Great list, but I have one more website for artists to make money online: Hollajack. Hollajack Clothing Company is new on the "block" so artists that decide to submit designs will have prime placement of their work giving them a better chance to earn money. Full disclosure: I work there. We are asking the online artist community to help us build or selection of art. We hope people will see this as a partnership, and we want to be another outlet for people to share their art with the world.

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