5 Simple Tips to Save Big on Custom T-Shirts
Creating custom t-shirts lets us showcase our personal style or promote causes dear to us. However, custom apparel can get pricey fast. By using some inside tips to maximize value, we can design affordable shirts without giving up too much on creativity or quality. In this super thorough guide, we’ll dive into 5 tried and true ways to save money on your next custom shirt order.
With some savvy moves, getting shirts printed can be pretty cheap, especially if you order a bunch at once. Keeping the designs simple, choosing cheaper shirts to print on, and scoring discounts for larger orders are big ways to lower the starting price. A few small tweaks can make a huge difference! Keep reading as we detail the specifics on maximizing savings for your custom tee project.
Choose Budget-Friendly Blank Shirts
The blank t-shirt is the foundation of any custom shirt order. Cheaper blank tees are typically made of thinner materials and simpler construction, while premium blanks boast soft ring-spun cotton and high stitch density for maximum comfort. Decent quality blanks start around $3 per shirt, while ultra-soft high-end shirts can cost $8+.
Tip: Sort blank tee options from low to high price to find the best value for your budget. Our favorite budget pick is the Gildan 5000 - it’s an ideal balance of price and quality.
Stick With 1-2 Ink Colors
The number of screen printing ink colors directly impacts the pricing of a custom shirt order. Each additional color adds to the production time and materials cost. For the best value, we recommend sticking to 1-2 ink colors max.
Tip: Black and white prints are the most affordable. Bold spot colors like red or blue are also budget-friendly. Simple designs often look the coolest too!
Choose a Smaller Print Size
Screen printing charges are based on the total print size on the shirt. Larger print areas require more ink and labor. Downsizing your artwork helps lower the price point.
Tip: Center chest and small back prints are the most affordable. Pocket prints also utilize less real estate. Scale down big designs when possible.
Take Advantage of Bulk Order Discounts
Due to tiered pricing structures, per unit costs decrease significantly with larger custom shirt orders. Bulk discounts kick in around 12, 24, 36, 48, 72, 100+ quantity. The more you order, the more you save!
Tip: To maximize savings, gather friends, family or team members to place one large order. Splitting shipping costs over more items helps too.
Explore Value-Adding Extras
Upgrades like soft garment wash, distressed effects, oversized fits and tri-blends do add cost, but can set your shirts apart while retaining value. Be selective with premium extras that enhance the design without breaking your budget.
Tip: Consider a garment wash for vintage softness or an oversized relaxed fit for streetwear style. Small touches go a long way!
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have some questions? No worries, we’ve got you covered on the key details for saving money on custom apparel orders.
How much do custom t-shirts usually cost?
Custom t-shirt pricing can range quite a bit based on all the customizable factors involved. As a ballpark estimate, custom tees typically start around $15 per shirt for basic single color prints. Prices go up from there for additional colors, larger print sizes, higher quantities or premium blanks. Following our money-saving tips can help lower those base costs.
What blank t-shirts are the cheapest?
The most budget-friendly blank tee options are typically made of thinner cotton materials, like 5oz or 4.5oz heavyweight cotton. These include blanks like the Gildan 5000, Anvil 980, and Hanes 5250. They offer decent quality for the cost, while maintaining a lighter feel than premium shirts. For a step up in comfort without breaking the bank, we recommend the Next Level 3600.
How can I design a shirt on a budget?
The easiest ways to design custom tees on a budget are: using only 1-2 ink colors, sticking to a left chest or back center print area, scaling down big graphics, and ordering just what you need versus over-ordering. Simplicity, minimalism and intentionality are key when trying to save money. Play with color combinations and focus on a strong icon, logo or text-based design.
What is the most affordable way to print t-shirt designs?
For custom t-shirt printing, screen printing is the most affordable method for bulk orders due to its ability to print multiple shirts efficiently. Next up would be direct-to-garment (DTG) printing – best for smaller orders with full-color photographic designs. Other techniques like vinyl and sublimation printing typically have higher per unit costs for custom apparel.
Should I order in bulk to save money?
Yes, bulk orders are one of the best ways to maximize savings on custom t-shirts! Due to tiered pricing levels, costs per shirt decrease significantly at order quantities like 12, 24, 36, 48 and beyond. For example, a 24 piece order may save you $2 per shirt versus a 12 piece order. Combining multi-location club, team or event orders into larger bulk also helps optimize value.
Following these insider strategies for saving money on custom t-shirt orders comes down to intentional choices. Prioritize value over sheer quantity when selecting blank shirts. Streamline artwork to require fewer print colors and smaller sizing. Take advantage of bulk order discounts by combining groups or purchasing only what you need. And don’t be afraid to explore premium extras like washes and tri-blends to elevate simple designs.
With some creative thinking and compromise, you can design affordable custom tees perfect for any occasion. Focus on simplicity, minimize excess, and choose additions intentionally. Build a budget-friendly order that looks anything but cheap. We hope these money-saving tips help you access the world of custom apparel with value and confidence!