How to Generate Passive Income by Designing T-Shirts

Everyone loves buying a t-shirt with a cool and unique design on it. If you have an element of creativity inside you and think that you can generate your own unique t-shirt designs then this guide is surely for you. In this article, you will get to know different platforms from where you can generate passive income by selling your t-shirt designs online.

If you don’t know how to design, you can hire some creative designers and let them work for you.

Here are some questions to keep in mind during this process:

Question: Do I need any kind of investment to get started?
Answer: You will need to create designs through some means. If it’s through your own design work then proper computer equipment and software (e.g. Adobe products) will be required. You can get a monthly subscription to the Adobe platform to help keep up front costs low.

Question: Do I have to use my own unique designs or can I copy someone else’s too?
Answer: You definitely do not want to copy someone’s designs you don’t have the right to use. Be very aware of copy right laws and make sure you have 100% rights to whatever you sell. If your using stock photography or graphics make sure you read the licensing agreements.

Question: Can I set my own price for designs or will the platform set it for me?
Answer: This is partly dependent on the platform and what your selling. You will need to check on the platform options.

Question: How and where to sell my t-shirt designs?
Answer: Read on below for great options.

Question: How much money can I earn through this?
Answer: That’s really dependent on you. The quality, creativity and volume of designs will have a significant impact how much money you can make.

How to Generate Passive Income by Designing T-Shirts

How does it work?

All you have to do is design(or have designed for you) unique and attractive artwork that will sell. It can be a trendy or a forever-green design (the choice is totally yours). Once you have the design ready, you have to post that design on any platform (that you will find below). The more sales, the higher the profit you will earn per sale. The working of these websites is mostly the same but there can be slight variations from one to another.

Here are the 8 best websites that will help you earn passive income by selling your t-shirt designs globally. For the most part, they handle the entire process of making the t-shirts, shipping them and collecting the money. The key contribution you make is the creative input.

1. Tee Spring

Tee spring is one of the most popular platforms for selling your t-shirt designs and making a fair amount of money. It is 100% free to design your very own shirt. You can either choose your own pre-made design to put it on the shirt or use clip art from the site. The first thing you will have to do after signing up with them will be setting a sale goal or tipping point, which is the minimum you have to sell in order to have the shirts printed. You can share your campaign via email, social media marketing, or your website. You have to exceed that tipping point through your campaign and once it successfully ends, the shirts are printed and sent out to the customers. You will be then sent a check for the total profit you earned.

There isn’t any fixed amount that you can earn but just for an idea consider this scenario. Suppose the basic shirt by Tee Spring costs $5 and adding your design will cost about $7 per shirt. You can set your own price over their base price, for instance, you set $13.00 per piece and have a goal of selling 50 shirts. This would give you a profit of $300. The more you sell, the higher your profit will be.

Click here to sign up!

2. Zazzle

Zazzle provides a great opportunity to all the great designers out there to sign up with them and sell their artwork on t-shirts and many other products. All you have to do is create a store with whatever name you opt for, select a product to add your design and post it up for sale. You can choose a product from a wide variety of products such as t-shirts, wall art, coffee mugs, office supplies, electronic appliances, and many more.

There are no upfront costs, you can set your royalty rates anywhere from 5% to 99%. In short, Zazzle will produce all the products and ship them directly to the customer; all you have to do is create a design for any product.

Don’t worry if you don’t have impressive designing skills as Zazzle also provides a facility to become their affiliate and earn commission by selling designs made by other designers.

Here is an example to let you know about their working. For instance, the cost of a basic t-shirt is $19 with your design on, and you set a 15% royalty rate. Your shirt will then sell for $21.85, earning you a profit of $2.85 per shirt. Sell 50 shirts and earn about $142.5.

Plus, there isn’t any minimum amount of shirts you have to sell to get your shirts printed. (They charge 24 cent transaction fee when you set the royalty rate at 20% or above)

Click here to sign up!

3. CafePress

CafePress also provides you with a platform to upload your designs and add them to different products such as t-shirts, stickers, phone cases, and more. On joining, you will get your very own store where you will post your product with your design on. CafePress will also help promote your products. They will give you a base price and it will be completely up to you to choose the markup. On earning the total markup price of each sale, they will also offer you a number of bonuses based on the volume you sell.

Click here to sign up!

4. Threadless

Threadless is also a similar platform to CafePress. They also let you open a store with your own designs. They provide you a base price and whatever markup you set will be completelyupto you. One great thing about them is their themed design challenges. You have to submit your best designs and the community will vote on it if they like it. The top design that is chosen by the number of votes usually gets prize money of $1,000 plus commission on each sale.

Even if you don’t win, they may still choose to print your design if they like it that will help you earn a commission in return.

Click here to sign up!

5. Spreadshirt

Spreadshirt is another exciting platform that allows you to upload your unique designs on t-shirts and many other products. On joining them, you will have two options to choose from. You can either sell your designs to their marketplace or open your own branded store. People who already have a large audience through social media or blogs usually opt for opening a store.

It is better to simply upload your designs to their marketplace if you do not want to get into all that store promotion stuff. They will tell you the base price of each product, and you will set the markup.

Click here to sign up!

6. Redbubble

Redbubble is a global marketplace for talenteddesigners to sell their artwork on t-shirts, posters, vinyl stickers, phone cases, and more. They give you total control of whatever markup price to set on the base price given by them. They will do all the major work such as handling site transactions, managing the printing, arranging for delivery, and providing customer service, while you only have to create and upload your design on their platform.

Click here to sign up!

7. TeePublic

TeePublic is a great platform for you even if you are not a designer. You can earn passive income with this company in two different ways. The first way is similar to all the other websites, which is creating designs, putting them on the products, and uploading to your store. This way you can earn a set price commission that normally ranges from $2.00-$8.00 depending on the product you sell such as shirts, tanks, or hoodies.

The second way is for people who are not interested in creating designs. You can become their partner and have a merchandise store. You can then select the products from other designers and feature them in your store. You will earn 32% commission by selling your own merchandise and 11% on other designer’s products. It is excellent for people who are looking to earn passive income through affiliate marketing using existing TeePublic designs.

Click here to sign up!


All the websites mentioned in the article above are solid options to consider when it comes to earning passive income by designing your own t-shirts. Once your design ranks above all the other designs, you will have a good source of passive income on which you can completely rely. Make sure you create unique designs that will sell. If you think that you cannot design something great on your own, you can also hire a designer to do it for you. Best of luck!