Programs for Designing T-Shirts

By Daniel Ketchum

Updated September 15, 2017

Designing t-shirts is now easier than ever thanks to the numerous programs on the market that allow anyone with a computer to create their own t-shirt masterpieces. Whether your aim is to create a uniquely personal t-shirt for a friend or relative or create a line of t-shirts for sale, making use of a graphics program for your designs is necessary. The following are a few ideas on programs you can use to create your own t-shirt designs.


Photoshop is an extremely useful program for designing t-shirts, especially if your t-shirt will include text. Using Photoshop, you can create various elements that will be part of your overall design in layers and make separate changes to them as you go, shifting the elements around, resizing and making changes using various colors, fonts and filters.

Art Rage

Art Rage is a terrific program if your t-shirt design will have a more artsy feel to it. You can literally paint, color or draw your design in this program. Art Rage gives you the option of using stencils and allows you to have a reference image as you work. You can also trace an image (photograph, scan or hand drawing) you have brought into the program. From colored pencils to chalk, Art Rage is a wonderful tool for creating your more artsy designs.

Corel Products

Corel Painter is a program that offers many options including a cloning tool and various filters ranging from an automatic Van Gogh filter to a water color filter. You can also purchase additional filters and paint textures for this program. Corel also has a graphics program, CorelDraw, that can be used to create your t-shirt designs.

Something More Basic

Always keep in mind that your basic free-ware draw program that comes with Microsoft Office can allow you to create t-shirt designs that look quite professional. This program is also useful for getting kids started creating their own designs for t-shirts. You might have to preset the image dimensions and resolution when you create a new document before your child begins.

Format and Printing

Remember to save your work as you go and to select the proper format, such as a jpeg or tiff file. You can print your designs and transfer the images using transfer paper, which you can purchase at many craft stores and retailers. You can also have your images placed on t-shirts at a screen printer or any shop that has a heat press for creating t-shirts. Finally, you can load you designs onto t-shirts by creating an account with an online company like CafePress.