A crucial part of selling T-shirts on your POD (print on demand) store is having great mockups!

People love to get a feeling for what will look great on them, and visualizing it is the perfect way to do it.

In this article, we'll review what exactly makes a good t-shirt mockup and the steps in creating your own.

Are you ready to take your product images to the next level?

What are T-shirt mockups?

T-shirt mockups are digital images of how your design will look on a T-shirt. They help store visitors visualize your design without printing the shirt.

They can help show the design's scale, how it fits on the shirt, and what it might look like in different colors or materials!

How do you make a T-shirt mockup? (Step-by-step)

Creating a T-shirt mockup is a fun and creative process, and with this step-by-step guide, you'll create eye-catching mockups in no time.

Let's dive in.

1. Choosing the right T-shirt mockup design tool

Gelato Mock up page
Gelato's Mockup page

Now, how do you know which T-shirt mockup tool to use?

You might see many options, wondering which tool will work best for you, but it's pretty simple!

Perhaps, you're working with a POD supplier that provides built-in mockup tools - these can be an excellent option for beginners as they are generally user-friendly and efficient.

Third-party T-shirt mockup tools could be your calling if you want more control over your mockup. These offer more customization options but might require a steeper learning curve.

Now let's look at the two types of mockup tools and how they differ.

Built-in mockup tools from POD suppliers

These platforms' in-house tools simplify the design process and enable you to bring your T-shirt concepts to life.

Printful is one of the best print on demand companies offering a wide range of products to customize.

An exceptional feature of Printful is its built-in mockup generator, which allows users to visualize their designs on the selected product before ordering it:

Printful mock up generator page

The mockup generator provides users with high-resolution, realistic images of their designs.

Printful's generator also allows you to add tear-away tags to your products and includes options for inserts and stickers for packaging.

As an alternative, Printify stands out with an extensive network of print on demand suppliers worldwide, and a key feature of their offering is the mockup creation tool.

The tool allows businesses to customize over 300 products in many ways, including embroidery and sublimation:

Printify mock up generator page

CustomCat is a US-based print on demand company notable for its speedy fulfillment and extensive product catalog.

The platform provides a reliable mockup generator that allows you to customize and visualize a design on your chosen product before printing:

CustomCat homepage for mock ups

Here's why the mockup tools from a POD supplier's website can be helpful for your store.

  • They are designed to be user-friendly. They are highly accessible for beginners or those who want a simple, fuss-free design process.
  • Ready-to-use templates. This significantly speeds up your design process, saving you valuable time and effort!
  • Lack of customization. These tools often provide fewer options than professional design software, restricting your creativity and uniqueness in design.
  • The mockup quality might not be excellent. The quality of the mockups is directly tied to the POD supplier, which may not be up to your standard without flexibility.

Third-party T-shirt mockup tools

Placeit mock up page

Branching out from built-in options, let's delve into third-party T-shirt mockup tools!

Placeit is one of the popular T-shirt mockup tools. It's an easy-to-use platform with thousands of professionally designed templates:

placeit homepage

You select a T-shirt mockup template and upload your design, and the tool does the rest, adjusting your design to fit the T-shirt perfectly.

Canva also offers a range of T-shirt mockup templates. Using Canva, you can easily drag and drop your designs onto the T-shirt mockup of your choice:

Canva shirt homepage

The tool's intuitive interface makes it easy to adjust your design's size, orientation, and position to get it just right.

Canva also offers a host of graphic elements, fonts, and effects that you can use to further customize your T-shirt design.

Freepik operates a bit differently.

It's a platform offering a vast collection of graphic resources, including T-shirt mockups:

Freepik homepage

These mockups are downloadable as vector files that you can edit in a vector graphics editor like Adobe Illustrator.

This allows you to resize the design without losing quality, making it ideal for large print runs!

  • Complete customization. The diversity of templates can be incredible, often extending far beyond what any single POD platform provides. This could allow you to experiment with unique T-shirt styles, poses, and settings that mirror your brand's aesthetic.
  • Advanced options for continued growth. While your brand can scale, so can your products, so if you want to use state-of-the-art technology in your mockups, third-party providers will always have options for you.
  • Difficulty in mocking up rare materials. If you need to create a design mockup on rare material, it's best to use the design tool given by the supplier who produces the material. Their tool is usually the easiest to use for such specific jobs.

2. Designing your T-shirt mockup

Grey shirt in Printfuls mock up genertator
Printful's mockup generator

Once you've got your mockup tool nailed down, it's time to dive into the heart of the process — designing the T-shirt mockup!

The design stage is your opportunity to bring your vision to life, ensuring it strikes the perfect balance between creativity and professionalism.

Start by picking the right colors

The color of your T-shirt should complement the design without overpowering it.

It's also important to pay attention to the lighting and angles, as these can dramatically affect how your design appears!

Aim for a realistic look replicating how the design would appear under natural light and from different perspectives.

Remember, a professional mockup can differ between a customer clicking the 'Buy Now' button or scrolling past!

Use the proper design selection

Tshirt mock up generator from Printful

Depending on your brand and audience, the perfect design could be anything from a minimalist line drawing to a detailed, vibrant illustration.

Whichever you choose, make sure that it aligns with your brand identity.

Your T-shirts represent your brand, and consistency in design can go a long way in building recognition and loyalty among your customers.

Don't forget to show variations

Tshirt mock up variation

If your design comes in different colors or ways to show designs on different types of T-shirts (like v-necks, long sleeves, or tanks), use your mockups to show these variations!

You can also include other design elements, such as on the sleeve or back of the shirt, to scale your product selection if someone wants a fully designed product.

Offering your customers a complete picture of what's available can increase their chances of finding a product they love!

3. Importing and adjusting your design

Printful mock up download page

After you have your design ready, it's time to use it in your chosen mockup tool.

Whether using a built-in tool from a POD supplier or a third-party application, the first step will typically be importing your design file into the mockup generator.

It could be a JPEG, PNG, or even a vector file depending on the preferences.

Once your design is imported, the real fine-tuning begins.

You'll need to adjust the design to ensure it fits appropriately on the T-shirt mockup.

Adjust and manipulate the design until you achieve an aesthetically pleasing look that accurately represents the final product's appearance.

Remember, creating a mockup that depicts your product realistically is the goal.

So, take time with these adjustments.

Common problems of creating T-shirt mockups and their solutions

Creating T-shirt mockups may seem straightforward initially, but a few common issues may challenge even the savviest designers.

  • Achieving the right balance between quantity and quality. A rushed or poorly-made mockup may discourage potential buyers, so ensure each mockup is polished and professional.
  • Striking the right balance between variety and consistency. While it's essential to highlight different colors, styles, and designs, it's equally crucial to maintain a consistent brand image. If they're too similar, you risk not effectively showcasing the range of your products.
  • Remember to keep your mockups accurate. A common mistake in the design process is creating visually appealing mockups that don't match the final product. To avoid this, ensure your mockups meet the product's final look.

Following these guidelines will help you navigate the world of T-shirt mockup creation and result in designs that accurately and attractively represent your product range!

How best to use your T-shirt mockups in your online store?

canva shirt mockups
Source: Canva

Utilizing your T-shirt mockups in your online store can be a game-changer, promising increased engagement, sales, and customer satisfaction.

Here's how:

Strategies for using T-shirt mockups in your store

Firstly, using T-shirt mockups for marketing and promotional campaigns can be great!

These high-quality, realistic representations of your product catch the eye of potential customers, stir their interest, and ultimately drive conversions.

For instance, you can use them in your email marketing efforts, displaying them in newsletters or promotional emails:

shirt mock up for email marketing
Email promotion from Tentree

Likewise, they can be used on the product pages of your online store to provide a detailed and enticing view of your offerings.

The ultimate goal is to provide a clear idea of what the customer can expect and build confidence in your product!

Tailoring your mockups for different social platforms

Another tip is adjusting your T-shirt mockups to suit the unique style of each social media platform.

Each platform has a specific style and user expectation: Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.

For Instagram, you might want more lifestyle-focused mockups showing your shirts in 'real-life' settings.

For Pinterest, you could consider more detailed, close-up shots to highlight the unique aspects of your design.

Understanding these nuances and tailoring mockups can improve engagement and boost online visibility!

Contests, influencer partnerships, visual ads

Contests and giveaways, influencer partnerships, and visual ads are compelling tools to get your T-shirt mockups in front of a wider audience.

Partner with influencers who have a substantial following that matches your target demographic. Then, provide them with your T-shirt mockups to feature in their posts.

Finally, use your mockups in visual ads across social media and search engines.

By having an optical component that accurately represents your product, your ads will likely be more effective and result in higher click-through rates.

Best practices for displaying T-shirt mockups

Let's make sure your T-shirt mockups shine!

When it comes to showcasing your mockups, consistency is critical. Develop a theme or aesthetic that aligns with your brand.

This could be a specific filter, lighting, or a consistent background - these elements help create an identifiable brand presence:

Gelato mock up generator page
Source: Gelato

Ensure your mockups accurately depict the size and fit of your T-shirts. This is an integral part of your customer's decision-making process, so it's best to get it right.

FAQs about T-shirt mockups

Here are some answers to questions you may have so far:

Can you make T-shirt mockups on Canva?

Yes, you can create T-shirt mockups on Canva. They provide a variety of templates and design tools to customize your mockup.

How do you make a realistic clothing mockup?

To make a realistic clothing mockup, choose a high-quality template, select appropriate colors and lighting, adjust your design to fit the garment's draping and folds, and consider the product's real-world context.

Do you have to copyright T-shirt designs?

While you're not required to copyright your T-shirt designs, protecting your original artwork is a good practice. Copyright automatically applies when your design is created and finished.

Taking action

Reading and absorbing information and knowledge is excellent (definitely if it's free!), but do you know what's even better?

Taking action!

So, to help you with taking action with what you have learned in this article, take a look at the bullet points:

  • Use built-in mockup tools for ease of use and ready-to-use templates.
  • Opt for third-party mockup tools for more customization options and control over the mockup.
  • Choose a T-shirt color that complements your design.
  • Create a design that aligns with your brand identity.
  • Show variations of your design, such as different colors or styles.
  • Import your design file into your chosen mockup tool.
  • Adjust the design to fit appropriately on the T-shirt mockup.
  • Ensure the mockup is representative of the final product.
  • Ensure mockups are an accurate representation of the final product.
  • Use mockups in email marketing campaigns and on product pages.
  • Adapt your mockups for different social media platforms.


Creating T-shirt mockups is essential for anyone diving into online apparel sales!

With the right tools and a keen understanding of design, you can create mockups that truly reflect your brand and entice customers.

Happy designing, and have a great day!

Want to learn more about POD?

Ready to move your print on demand store to the next level? Check out the articles below:

Plus, don't forget to check out our in-depth how to start a print on demand business guide here!

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