How to Affordably Design & Print Church Shirts for Fundraisers and Ministries
If you've ever run a fundraiser using t-shirts for your church ministry or fundraiser, you know how important it is to find a way to make your custom t-shirt designs with the right custom message in as little time as possible.
Many churches often need mission trip shirts, youth group shirts, worship team t-shirts, vacation bible school t shirts, and more.
Sound complicated? Not really. Making your church t-shirt designs doesn't have to be complex or expensive, and you don't have to be a pro to create t-shirt designs for your congregation.
In this post, we'll discuss the simplest and least expensive method to design & print your custom church t-shirts.
How to create church t-shirt designs
You can print and ship a sample of your first church t-shirt within 48 hours of reading this blog post. The first thing you need to do is to create a design. There are three options, two of which are simple and affordable.
Create your own church t-shirt designs
Suppose you have an idea and skills, you can do this by yourself. Creating designs is not difficult. All you need are tools that will help bring your concept to digital life. There are great free and paid tools out there that will help you create your church t-shirt designs.
If you already have graphic design experience, you can skip this section.
Create a church shirt design with Canva
If you are not a designer, then we recommend using Canva to create your designs.
Canva has everything you'll need to develop your designs. From the ability to upload your images, access to pre-made templates, creating and editing vector graphics, and the ability to work with complex paintings.
You can login to Canva right now, select a template, change the text and export the PNG graphic. Within 10 minutes you can have your first design ready.
Here's a great instructional video for making church designs with Canva:
Buy an editable church shirt design with Creative Market
Another great resource is Creative Market. On Creative Market you can search for PSD (with editable text) designs that you like. Buy them for as low as $10. Open them in a tool like Adobe Photoshop, edit the text as needed, and export the PNG file to send to your POD printer.
These tools are friendly to both beginners and veteran graphic designers.
Have your church t-shirt design created by a freelance designer
If you have a little more advanced church t-shirt design in mind that isn't easily done with your own skills, there are some great resources to create excellent designs for less than $100.
We recommend outsourcing the church shirt design work to a professional and tap into their knowledge. Design Crowd is the best resource today to create design for less than $100 that are awesome.
Just login to Design Crowd, create a project, enter the details about your design, and several freelance designers will create their rendition of your idea. Then you can choose which one you like and settle with that designer on the final touches.
Here's a great tutorial video about creating t-shirt designs with Design Crowd:
Remember to clearly explain your church shirt design concept to your designer and let them know your intentions with the design.
Let them know your likes and dislikes, and remember to include the details of whom the t-shirts are intended for; Are they for the youth group, Sunday school, or praise and worship? Are the shirts intended for a Missions Trip to Haiti? Give them all the details about the intent of the church shirt design.
Include details about preferable logos and colors as well. The more detailed you are; the easier it will be for them to create church t shirt designs that match your concept.
Hire a professional graphic artist for your church designs
Our third recommended option is viable if your church has a little more budget to allocate to t-shirt designs. In the case of churches like Elevation Church, they have graphic artists on staff.
This is a great option if you have a lot of design work and church tees are only a small part of the graphic design needs for your church.
Note: Elevation Church Design in Blog Header image was created by Elevation Church Art Director Jacob Boyles. Source: Jacob Boyles art
Use print-on-demand to print your church shirts
What is Print-on-demand?
Print-on-demand (POD) is a way to create 1 or 1000 customized t-shirts at a reasonable price. POD is like drop-shipping. The POD provider packages and ships the shirts to any address, with your address in the return.
There are no order minimums with POD. Churches and ministries can print and ship 1 full-color t-shirt for as low as $8 per shirt.
On-demand t-shirt printing services use a process known as DTG (Direct to Garment) to print t-shirts. It allows churches and organizations to create small orders multiple times at a low cost since there's no set-up to print a shirt on a DTG print, like in the case of screen printing.
We recommend using Printify for your POD needs. We have found them to be the least expensive and the best quality for the price. Other options are Printful, Custom Cat, and Print Aura.
Using on-demand printing services is easy for churches to customize your custom designs. There's no more need for storage space, there's no minimum quantities, and you don't have to buy from expensive print shops.
What format should you export POD designs in?
Now that you know how to create a beautiful church t shirt design, what are the right dimensions and resolutions to use?
Most POD companies recommend a PNG file format as it supports many colors, transparent background, and cannot lose any critical data of the image.
We usually recommend a 300DPI (Dots per inch) PNG file that is set at the exact dimensions of your design on a Large t-shirt. A resolution higher than 300DPI will not improve the print quality; it will be just an oversized file. A lower DPI will produce a blurrier image.
The average size of your print area of your t-shirt should be 12" by 16".
To get the best results, make sure you submit the highest quality files you have.
Why churches should print their own t-shirt designs?
Churches can create t-shirt designs for fundraising, mission trips, renovation or construction, community support, youth group activities, and special programs and events.
But here's the thing. Most screen-printing companies have a minimum quantity of 24 or more shirts to print your church t-shirt order.
Your worship team may only have 8 members. If you do these with your own Print-on-Demand account, you can print 8 totally customized worship team designs on super soft Bella or Next Level t-shirts for around $8 each.
If you are commemorating the veteran church members, and want to print Veteran church t-shirts with their last name on the back of the shirts, you can do it with POD. Again, with no minimums.
To raise money for missions, summer youth camps, or the building fund, you can create custom t-shirts to sell to church members, family, and friends through your bookstore and coffee shops if you have one. You can also create a small t-shirt store on your website and sell online.
Here are other reasons why churches should design and create their own t-shirts...
T-shirts are a great gift for visitors.
Research has shown that gifts are an easier way to get contacts from guests. How are you going to follow up with your visitors without their contacts? Many churches are using gifts in exchange for contact from their first-time visitors.
You can order a t-shirt with your church's message and gift it to your visitors to make them feel welcome and extend their experience beyond the weekend. Donating t-shirts to your guests is a way of asking them to come back and this time around, bring a friend!
Custom tees are a way of marketing your church or ministry
When your congregation wears your shirts outside the church, they're advertising your church. This is the easiest way to get your name out to the community and tell other new people about your church. It's also a great way of reaching the lost and expanding your ministry.
Church shirts help new guests find their way
When people are new in your church, they may get confused about where to go, ask questions, or even sit. But if you've designed t-shirts for your ushering team, hospitality team, and other service teams, your guests will know where to ask for help. It's an easy way of creating order at your church.
T-shirts are a great way of appreciating volunteers at your church
Volunteers are what keep your church-going. You cannot serve a church all by yourself; you need a volunteer, and you need to thank them for helping out. In addition to sending them birthday cards and throwing parties for them, you can design tees to make them feel special and a part of your ministry.
There are multiple benefits of designing and printing your own church t-shirts.
You don't have to break the bank and spend hundreds of dollars on designs. You can use tools like Canva, Creative Market, and Design Crowd to create church t-shirt designs for a few dollars.
Creating a print-on-demand account just makes sense for churches. No matter how complex your design or logo is, print on demand can execute it. Churches don't have to make bulk orders.
With print on demand, you can make small orders multiple times at no additional cost. POD creates products quickly. And best of all POD is affordable. Churches need low price merch to fit their budget and give them margins for fundraising.
If you have any questions about designing or printing church t-shirt designs, reach out to us and we will be glad to help! Also leave any of your own tips in the comments below!