Custom T-Shirts for Special Events: A Comprehensive Guide

Creating custom T-shirts for special events is a popular and effective way to promote your brand, celebrate milestones, or unite a group of people with a common message. In this article, we’ll explore the various options for designing graphics, imaging methods, sourcing T-shirts, and deciding between DIY or hiring professionals.

Designing Graphics for Your T-Shirts

Before diving into the production process, you’ll need an eye-catching design that resonates with your target audience. Here are some options for creating graphics:

  1. Design it yourself: If you have graphic design skills, you can create your own design using software like Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, or even free online tools like Canva.
  2. Hire a professional designer: For those who lack design expertise or prefer a polished, professional look, consider hiring a freelance graphic designer or working with a design agency.
  3. Use pre-made templates: Many T-shirt printing companies offer pre-made design templates that you can customize with your text, colors, and logo.
  4. Crowdsource your design: Launch a design contest on platforms like 99designs or DesignCrowd, where designers submit their ideas, and you choose the winning design.

T-Shirt Imaging Options

Once you have your design ready, you’ll need to decide on the best imaging method for your T-shirts. Here are some of the most common methods:

  1. Screen printing: A traditional technique that involves pushing ink through a mesh screen onto the T-shirt. It’s ideal for simple designs with limited colors and provides a durable, long-lasting print.
  2. Direct-to-garment (DTG) printing: A newer technology that uses inkjet printers to apply water-based ink directly onto the fabric. This method is excellent for complex designs with multiple colors and gradients but may not be as durable as screen printing.
  3. Heat transfer: A process that uses heat and pressure to transfer a design from a special paper onto the T-shirt. This method is suitable for small quantities and intricate designs but may not be as durable as other options.
  4. Embroidery: A classic technique that involves stitching the design directly onto the fabric, creating a high-quality, professional look. Embroidery is perfect for logos and small designs but may not be suitable for large or highly detailed graphics.

Sourcing T-Shirts

When choosing T-shirts for your event, consider factors like fabric quality, fit, and available sizes. You can source blank T-shirts from wholesale suppliers like Gildan, Bella+Canvas, or Next Level Apparel. Be sure to order samples to evaluate the quality and fit before placing a large order.

DIY or Professional Printing?

Deciding between DIY or professional T-shirt printing depends on your budget, quantity, and desired quality. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. DIY: If you’re on a tight budget and only need a small number of T-shirts, DIY methods like heat transfers or even screen printing at home could be a cost-effective solution. However, be prepared for a learning curve and potentially less professional results.
  2. Professional printing: For larger quantities, complex designs, or high-quality results, working with a professional T-shirt printing company is recommended. These companies have the expertise and equipment to produce consistently excellent results. Some popular T-shirt printing companies include Printful, CustomInk, and Printify.


Creating custom T-shirts for special events can be a fun and rewarding process when you consider the right design, imaging method, T-shirt sourcing, and whether to opt for DIY or professional printing. By carefully planning each step and collaborating with experienced professionals when needed, you can ensure your T-shirts make a lasting impression at your event and beyond.





dabodab is my sound and art studio blog (and other things). I am Briyan Frederick (aka Bryan Baker), a graphic arts professional, songwriter, experimental recording artist, publisher, local and personal historian, grassroots business supporter, silver creative, podcaster, vlogger and zinester. I’m better known as the publisher of GAJOOB and a founder of Tapegerm Collective read more.