How to sell t-shirt designs on Spreadshirt

the EditorT-Shirt Small Talk6 Comments

Ever wondered how to translate that amazing idea in your head into some serious t-shirt money? The easiest way is by uploading your design to Spreadshirt and selling it from there. This post will show you how.

While there are other alternatives to Spreadshirt, including stores like Cafepress or Zazzle, Spreadshirt provides the most options, best quality products and is the easiest to get started on.

Spreadshirt's Flex Printing technology for vector graphics

Flex Printing technology for vector graphics

Why Spreadshirt?

Spreadshirt’s platform is easy to use, it takes minimal learning to be able to upload either a pixel or vector graphic, make some products, and add the design to its marketplace. Unlike other t-shirt marketplaces online, you can simply upload your design and include it into the spreadshirt marketplace and leave it there; no marketing a shop or trying to get pageviews is needed at all.

The team here at Relativistic Designs uses Spreadshirt for all of our products, and we’ve received fantastic reviews about the quality of the product. The flex printing shown above really shines above the crowd in terms of quality (literally, its smooth and shiny), and we use it for a majority of our vector designs.

Another reason to use Spreadshirt is the wide variety of products and printing options available to the designer and the user. There is Flex Print, its non-shiny cousin Flock Print, and there’s the standard heat transfer printing that other companies use.


The spreadshirt designer interface, showing extreme ease of use

The spreadshirt designer interface, showing extreme ease of use


Getting Started:

1. Create your perfect t-shirt

This step is the hardest step to getting your dream design onto a t-shirt. It takes a bit of experimentation to make an aesthetically pleasing t-shirt design. In order to be able to print with flex print, your final product must be a vector image (.svg, .ai, .eps or other vector files). For this you would need Adobe Illustrator

If you already did your design in Photoshop, resulting in a pixel image, you can still upload it to Spreadshirt. The only difference is that the only printing option available to your buyer is Digital Direct, or standard printing. If you want to convert it to a vector image, go into Illustrator>file>open>(YOUR IMAGE)>trace to trace the image into a vector design.

Otherwise, if you do not have your design rendered yet, its best to start in Illustrator right away. Create a new file by going Illustrator>file>new, and click on “Web” as your document profile.

Click on web, then click Ok.

Click on web, then click Ok.

Knock yourself out with your creative process, but make sure your design not only looks good, but is also something people would want to buy or wear.

2. Creating an account

Now that you have your t-shirt, its time to create an account and get it out into the world.

Click here and follow the instructions given, its a quick and painless process to create your account


3. Uploading your design

Once you’re finished creating an account and have confirmed your email, upload your design to the Spreadshirt marketplace. In the Spreadshirt home page, click on your name in the upper right hand corner, then “Your Account”:

Click on "Your Account"

Click on “Your Account”

Afterwards , click on “Designs” on the top bar menu, then “Upload Designs” on the side bar menu.

Uploading the design to spreadshirt takes you here

Uploading the design to spreadshirt takes you here

Then, simply select your file, choose the number of colors contained in that file IF it’s a vector image, agree to the terms of conditions, and upload away!


  • A vector image can ONLY have 3 colors, make sure to choose the right number of colors before uploading
  • A vector image should be in .eps format, but the native .ai format often works as well
  • Save your pixel designs as .png, as it not only supports transparency but also its a great lossless image format
  • Size of pixel designs: max. 10 MB and min. 200 dpi
  • Pixel designs may not exceed 4000 x 4000 pixels.
  • As you upload, you can see the “(You can upload a further 50 vector or pixel graphics. )” count go down, dont worry, you have an initial amount of 50 designs, then you get 5 maximum per day.

4. Creating some products (or not)

If you don’t plan to maintain a shop outside of the Spreadshirt marketplace, please skip this step.

However, if you do, you must create some products to place in your shop. Doing that is slightly more confusing, but still quite simple to do.

Go to your design, and then click on “Create a product with this design”, then follow the lovely designer interface’s instructions.

Create a product with this design

Create a product with this design

You would want to set a small premium for each product, as that is how much you will make with each sale in your shop.

5. Adding to the marketplace (Be weary of the guidelines)

To add your wonderful design to the marketplace to start selling with Spreadshirt, you would click on “add to the marketplace” from the same place as shown in the above picture.

BUT, before doing that, you should set a design commission so that you get paid for each sale you make in the Spreadshirt marketplace. It is recommended that your design commission be anywhere from 50 cents to 7 dollars, however much you think its worth.

Set a design commission for the marketplace

Set a design commission for the marketplace

After doing that and saving, add your design to the marketplace by choosing a category, writing some informative or witty descriptions, adding a few keywords. Bingo! You got your design into the marketplace.

REALLY important things to note:

  • Your designs cannot have anything to do with copyrighted designs, concepts, or phrases. For example, its NOT okay to print the word Nike with something that looks like a checkmark. These designs will get rejected as spreadshirt is quite careful about copyright law.
  • Marketplace inclusions take a while to get approved, so be patient and wait.
  • Your new design will not be the top of any search term inside the marketplace for at least a few months. If it is popular enough, however, it will be ranked really fast as more and more people buy that design
  • Your design will encounter similar designs in the marketplace, if you want to avoid that, be especially creative or artistic
  • There are other ways that your design may be rejected, most of them are technical.


6. Afterthoughts and misc things to do

Now that you’ve uploaded your design to the spreadshirt marketplace, its time to sit back and wait for the sales to flood in. Don’t forget to include your PayPal account so you can get paid on-time for your hard work. (Or you can choose to set up an US bank account direct transfer)

Enter your PayPal information

Enter your PayPal information

Also very important is to set up your tax information, so that you get your full amount from Spreadshirt and the IRS doesn’t go after you.

U.S. citizens and U.S. residents must enter their tax number for Spreadshirt to process their full commission payout. Failure to provide this information will result in 28% withholding of earned commission.

Commission is paid on each January, April, July, and October, and Commissions over CAD $ 27.90 will be processed and paid out in full.

That’s all for this tutorial! Hope you enjoyed reading and good luck making t-shirts!


Written by Teng Rong. Find him on +

6 Comments on “How to sell t-shirt designs on Spreadshirt”

  1. Hi, what is the difference between a normal shop & designer shop? When upload a design i get a question where to use it. So we have marketplace, shop, designershop. Please help.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Tony,

      I’ll use myself as an example.

      My normal shop displays all the products I create (T-shirts, Mugs & Buttons), the only variations for the products, for customers, being color and size.

      My designer shop allows customers to choose one of my designs, and place it on any product they like, in a design size they prefer, any color. The designer shop also has the function to allow designs from the whole spreadshirt marketplace to be used, I don’t use that feature though.


  2. Hi there!

    Thanks for your info on spreadshirt, it’s really great to get started on this. When you create a designer shop, is it possible to disable the community designs from the page? I only want people to use my designs.



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