How to Create Your Own Online Shirt Shop and Make Money, No Investment Needed: PART 1

My name is Mike McPuff , from Fort Collins, CO, USA. I have loved making art my whole life but it wasn’t until 2013 that I really found my style as an artist. I began to make shirts when soon after found out about the site which allows you to print shirts with your own design, as purchased (opposed to buying in bulk). This has been a free way that I have made some extra money as an artist. All you need to start your own t-shirt shop online is this : A laptop or PC with the internet.

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Step 1: Get GIMP or other similar Image Editing Software

I have had the program GIMP for about 8 years now and it has worked well for me! I chose this program because it is free to download online and is trusted to my knowledge. This program allows you to alter images, use layers, and save images in several formats. So get GIMP or a similar program that allows you to use layers AND has a “Threshold” filter.


Step 2: Take an image of your drawing

On blank paper, Draw something in Sharpie marker (not pencil, pen might work though). Take a picture of the image, and get it on your computer ( I just shared the image online from my phone and saved the file on my computer).B9q7QdpCAAAaHy_

Step 3: Resize the image

Open up Gimp. Click “image” on the upper bar, then click “Scale Image” below. Try to make the image around 2000 pixels x 2000 pixels at least.


Step 4: Make the image Pure Black and White by applying “Threshold”. Click “Colors” then click “Threshold”. A dialogue box will pop up, and what you want to do is click the arrow that is in the middle of the scale. Slide this arrow around in the scale until your image looks proper. To fix it up you can always use the white paintbrush tool to fill any splotches, or adjust the contrast before hand. If you took your picture in good even lighting then you wont have to fix it up. Also remember we will be cropping the image, so only care about whats in the frame of what you want cropped out next.step6step7step8

Step 5: Crop the Image

Click the Exacto Blade button on the toolbox. Then click the corners of the box that appears to adjust the height and width of your cropping. Double Click the center of the image to crop.


Step 6: Give the image a transparent background. Click the Paint Bucket tool and fill in the background of the image with a color. Then hit the “select by color” icon towards the top of the toolbox, it looks like a finger pointing at a set of colors. Then click on the background color you have filled in. Now, go to “select” in the top bar, and hit “invert”. This is inverting the selection from background to foreground. Go under “Edit” and hit “Cut” , or Cntrl+X. step12step13step15step19

Step 6 1/2 : Make a new layer and Paste your image down. (“edit” then click “paste”, or Cntrl+V). Then Anchor the layer down. Finally, choose the lower layer from the layer toolbox, and delete it.


Step 7: Color in your image by using the paint bucket tool!


Step 8: Make sure to save it as a PNG. that way it will save the transparent background as well.


COMING SOON: How to put your designs on a shirt and make money online!

FInd me on Instagram @MikeMcPuff

Paintings available at


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