7 days of PS Actions, graphics, templates & fonts - for free!* Unlimited asset downloads! Start 7-Day Free Trial
Advertisement
  1. Design & Illustration
  2. T-Shirt Design

How to Design a Shirt in Photoshop

Scroll to top
Read Time: 10 mins
Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

Wondering how to make T-shirt designs with unique distressed textures? In this tutorial, I will show you a few simple and effective ways to create a design for vintage distressed T-shirts. We'll use different types of textures, brushes, and mask layers, and then combine these methods. 

But what if you're looking for Photoshop T-shirt designs that are ready to use? In that case, you can always visit Envato Elements to find hundreds of T-shirt design templates, like the one below. Scroll down after this grunge T-shirt tutorial to find a top selection of Photoshop T-shirt designs!

This cool Photoshop T-shirt design is available on Envato Elements. This cool Photoshop T-shirt design is available on Envato Elements. This cool Photoshop T-shirt design is available on Envato Elements.
This cool Photoshop T-shirt design is available on Envato Elements.

Do you prefer video tutorials to learn new Photoshop skills? Then watch this cool video from the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel to learn how to design a shirt in Photoshop:

What You'll Learn in This Distressed Texture Photoshop Tutorial

  • How to make your own distressed textures and brushes
  • How to make a distressed T-shirt design using transparent PNG textures
  • How to make a distressed effect in Photoshop using JPEG textures
  • How to make distressed T-shirt designs with Photoshop brushes
  • How to combine textures and brushes to design a distressed T-shirt

What You'll Need

1. How to Make Your Own Distressed Textures and Brushes

Step 1

Let's learn how to design T-shirt graphics with the free texture I created for you. You could also create your own just by taking a photo of any metal surface (even with your smartphone!). Open the metal texture in Photoshop and then Double-Click on the background layer to rasterize it.

Opening the metal texture in PhotoshopOpening the metal texture in PhotoshopOpening the metal texture in Photoshop

Step 2

After that, select the layer and press Shift-Control-Alt-B to convert the image to black and white.

Converting the layer to black and white - distressed filter PhotoshopConverting the layer to black and white - distressed filter PhotoshopConverting the layer to black and white - distressed filter Photoshop

Step 3

Hit Control-I to invert the colors of the image, and then go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and use the following settings: Brightness: 132Contrast: 100.

setting up brightness and contrastsetting up brightness and contrastsetting up brightness and contrast

Step 4

Go to Select > Color Range and then select white with the Eyedropper Tool and set the Fuzziness to 50.

distressed filter Photoshop settingsdistressed filter Photoshop settingsdistressed filter Photoshop settings

Step 5

Once you've selected the white area of the texture, press the Delete button, and then Control-D to deselect.

deleting the white part of the texturedeleting the white part of the texturedeleting the white part of the texture

Step 6

And for the last step, Double-Click on the layer and put a tick on Color Overlay, and select black with Normal Blend Mode and 100% Opacity. After that, just save the texture in transparent PNG file format.

adding color overlay to the layeradding color overlay to the layeradding color overlay to the layer

Step 7

Now, let's make a brush from our texture. Open the PNG file and select a part of the document with the Lasso Tool (L). I added a white background layer here, so you can see the texture better.

selecting the part of the texture for brushselecting the part of the texture for brushselecting the part of the texture for brush

Step 8

Go to Edit > Define Brush Preset and press OK to create a new brush.

creating a new distressed brushcreating a new distressed brushcreating a new distressed brush

Step 9

Let's set up the brush. Hit the Brush Settings icon and use the following settings:

  • Shape Dynamics: On; Size Jitter: 100%, Angle Jitter: 100%
  • Scattering: On; Scatter: 129%.

In the next sections, we'll discover how to use these brushes/textures and any others.

setting up distressed brushsetting up distressed brushsetting up distressed brush

2. How to Make T-Shirt Designs With PNG Textures

Step 1

Before starting to create a distressed vintage tee texture, let's create a new document with the following settings:

  • 2000x2000 px
  • 300 dpi
  • Background Color: Black.
Creating a new documentCreating a new documentCreating a new document

Step 2

Go to File > Place and then select the lettering for your distressed tee shirt design. Once you've placed the image, press Alt-Shift-Control-I to invert the colors of the lettering.

inverting the color of the imageinverting the color of the imageinverting the color of the image

Step 3

Now we are ready to create a distressed texture Photoshop effect! Let's place one of the textures from the 15 Grandpa's Textures pack. I chose distressed Photoshop overlay №3.

adding a distressed texture to the letteringadding a distressed texture to the letteringadding a distressed texture to the lettering

As you can see, our vintage T-shirt design already looks pretty cool!

distressed t shirt design with one texturedistressed t shirt design with one texturedistressed t shirt design with one texture

And here is a variation with the texture we created previously, applied the same way:

handmade distressed texture appliedhandmade distressed texture appliedhandmade distressed texture applied

Step 4

The important thing here is that you need to apply the distressed Photoshop overlay only to the lettering layer. If you make the background Invisible, you'll see that distressed texture applied to the whole document.

making the background layer invisiblemaking the background layer invisiblemaking the background layer invisible

Step 5

So, to add the distressed texture Photoshop effect only to the desired layer, you need to select the layer with your texture and then Right Click > Create a Clipping Mask.

creating a clipping maskcreating a clipping maskcreating a clipping mask

Step 6

If you want to make your vintage distressed T-shirts look even older, let's apply another texture. I chose texture №14. Don't forget to Create a Clipping Mask for this new texture. 

adding second distressed texture to the imageadding second distressed texture to the imageadding second distressed texture to the image

This is how our distressed T-shirt design looks now:

distressed t shirt design photoshopdistressed t shirt design photoshopdistressed t shirt design photoshop

Step 7

If this still doesn't look grungy enough, let's add one more texture (I selected texture №4) to our vintage shirt design.

distressed t shirt design with three texturesdistressed t shirt design with three texturesdistressed t shirt design with three textures

3. How to Make a Vintage T-Shirt Design in Photoshop Using JPEG Textures

Step 1

Now, let's try to use JPEG textures from another pack and apply them to our vintage distressed T-shirt design. Place texture №13 from the 14 Distressed Ink Overlays pack above the lettering and Create a Clipping Mask.

adding a jpeg texture to the letteringadding a jpeg texture to the letteringadding a jpeg texture to the lettering

Step 2

Change the Blending of the texture to Hard Light, to make our distressed effect Photoshop design less evident.

changing the blending mode of the layerchanging the blending mode of the layerchanging the blending mode of the layer

Step 3

Now, let's add a distressed texture Photoshop effect one more time. I chose texture №3 and changed the Blending Mode to Multiply and the Opacity to 50%.

adding a second jpeg textureadding a second jpeg textureadding a second jpeg texture

Here is our vintage T-shirt design with JPEG textures applied.

distressed t shirt design with two jpeg textures applieddistressed t shirt design with two jpeg textures applieddistressed t shirt design with two jpeg textures applied

4. How to Make a Distressed Effect in Photoshop With Brushes

Step 1

Now, we'll use distressed Photoshop brushes to create a design for distressed shirts. Let's create a new layer with the Alt-Shift-Control-N shortcut.

creating a new layercreating a new layercreating a new layer

If you want to learn how to install distressed Photoshop brushes, check out this amazing tutorial:

Step 2

Select any subtle distressed brush and paint on this new layer with black. Combine a few brushes to make your design for distressed shirts truly unique, and don't forget to create a clipping mask!

adding distressed effect with the brushesadding distressed effect with the brushesadding distressed effect with the brushes

Here is how the distressed graphic T-shirt design looks with our own custom brush applied to it:

texture created with brush appliedtexture created with brush appliedtexture created with brush applied

Step 3

Another way to use the brushes to add texture to a distressed graphic T-shirt is with a mask. Select the layer with your lettering and press Add a Mask.

adding a mask to the layeradding a mask to the layeradding a mask to the layer

Step 4

Let's take a heavy grunge brush from the pack and then select the mask of the layer (or use Alt-Right Click to open it) and add a few strokes. 

painting with the brushes on the maks of the layerpainting with the brushes on the maks of the layerpainting with the brushes on the maks of the layer

This is how my retro T-shirt design looks now:

adding strokes to the mask of the layeradding strokes to the mask of the layeradding strokes to the mask of the layer

And another variation of the final distressed graphic T-shirt design with our own brushes:

distressed t shirt design with custom brushes useddistressed t shirt design with custom brushes useddistressed t shirt design with custom brushes used

5. How to Combine Textures and Brushes to Create a Distressed Graphic T-Shirt

Step 1

To design a distressed T-shirt, we'll use all the methods we've discovered before. Let's Add a Mask to the layer.

adding a mask to the letteringadding a mask to the letteringadding a mask to the lettering

Step 2

This time, we won't use the brushes on the mask, but we'll paste the texture onto it. So place and resize JPEG texture №1.

placing the jpeg textureplacing the jpeg textureplacing the jpeg texture

Step 3

Now, we need to select the whole texture using the Rectangular Marquee Tool, and then press Control-C.

selecting the texture with rectangular marquee toolselecting the texture with rectangular marquee toolselecting the texture with rectangular marquee tool

Step 4

After that, Control-Right Click to open the mask of the layer, and then hit Control-V to paste the texture.

pasting the texture to the mask of the layerpasting the texture to the mask of the layerpasting the texture to the mask of the layer

Step 5

Delete the layer with the texture, and then select the mask of the lettering layer and press Control-I to invert the image.

inverting the color of the maskinverting the color of the maskinverting the color of the mask

Step 6

Select the mask of the layer one more time, and go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and use the following settings: Brightness: 105; Contrast: -15.

adding adjustments to the layeradding adjustments to the layeradding adjustments to the layer

Step 7

Now, let's add a layer with PNG texture №2, and Create a Clipping Mask.

adding a png texture to the layeradding a png texture to the layeradding a png texture to the layer

Step 8

And in this step of creating our retro T-shirt design, let's add a distressed texture Photoshop effect using JPEG texture №12 with Hard Light blend mode and 50% Opacity.

Step 9

And finally, let's save our vintage shirt design, make the background layer Invisible, and then just save the image as a transparent PNG file.

making the background layer invisible and saving itmaking the background layer invisible and saving itmaking the background layer invisible and saving it

Awesome Work, You're Now Done!

Today, you've learned how to create T-shirt designs using different techniques. I hope you've enjoyed the tutorial and you have a lot of retro T-shirt design ideas now! 

how to make distressed t shirt desing in Photoshop previewhow to make distressed t shirt desing in Photoshop previewhow to make distressed t shirt desing in Photoshop preview

You may be wondering where I found these amazing mockups for the previews of our distressed texture Photoshop design. The answer is Placeit's T-shirt design maker! Placeit is an amazing site with hundreds of T-shirt mockups and T-shirt design templates, which you can use and customize in a few simple clicks! Try your retro T-shirt design ideas on different mockups here to find the best preview of your product. You don't need any special T-shirt design software to use Placeit, since it works right in your browser.

Placeit T-shirt design makerPlaceit T-shirt design makerPlaceit T-shirt design maker
Visit Placeit's T-shirt design maker to easily learn how to design T-shirt graphics.

5 Top T-Shirt Design Photoshop Templates From Envato Elements

Now you know how to design a shirt in Photoshop and how to recreate a cool Photoshop weathered look. But if you're looking for a T-shirt grunge texture and a design that's ready to send to print, check out Envato Elements.

This subscription-based marketplace offers you unlimited T-shirt design templates, T-shirt distressed textures, product mockups, graphics, and more. Everything's included for a flat monthly fee. Here we've selected five top T-shirt design Photoshop templates you can download and use right away!

1. Drink Hot Cocoa Vector T-Shirt Design (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG, PSD, SVG)

Drink Hot Cocoa Vector T-Shirt Design (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG, PSD, SVG)Drink Hot Cocoa Vector T-Shirt Design (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG, PSD, SVG)Drink Hot Cocoa Vector T-Shirt Design (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG, PSD, SVG)

If you like T-shirt distressed textures for your designs, you'll like this cool option. The T-shirt design Photoshop template features a Christmas typography design with a distressed style.

This T-shirt grunge texture comes in eight helpful formats, including a vector design so you can resize it without losing quality.

2. Surfing Vintage Sports T-Shirt Design (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG, PSD, SVG)

Surfing Retro Graphics Prints T-Shirt (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG, PSD, SVG)Surfing Retro Graphics Prints T-Shirt (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG, PSD, SVG)Surfing Retro Graphics Prints T-Shirt (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG, PSD, SVG)

Create awesome designs with this vintage tee texture inspired by surfing. The Photoshop T-shirt design is also perfect for posters, mugs, and more.

This vintage sports T-shirt will make cool merchandise, and it comes in eight file formats. Easily recreate a Photoshop weathered look with this design.

3. American Football Retro Sports T-Shirt Design (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG, PSD, SVG)

American Football T-Shirt Design (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG, PSD, SVG)American Football T-Shirt Design (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG, PSD, SVG)American Football T-Shirt Design (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG, PSD, SVG)

Use Photoshop for designing T-shirts like this one. The retro sports T-shirt design is inspired by college varsity style and football insignias.

You can also use this vintage tee texture on mugs, posters, flags, and more. The download includes a T-shirt distressed texture as well.

4. Meowtain Doodle T-Shirt Design (JPG, PNG, PSD)

Meowtain Doodle T-Shirt Design (JPG, PNG, PSD)Meowtain Doodle T-Shirt Design (JPG, PNG, PSD)Meowtain Doodle T-Shirt Design (JPG, PNG, PSD)

Do you like unique custom team shirts? This cool T-shirt design template is a great option for your next project.

The flat vector illustration looks fantastic on custom team shirts and other types of merchandise. Use Photoshop to design T-shirts with unique textures like this!

5. Halloween Momster Print T-Shirt Design (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG, PSD, SVG)

Halloween Momster Print T-Shirt Design (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG, PSD, SVG)Halloween Momster Print T-Shirt Design (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG, PSD, SVG)Halloween Momster Print T-Shirt Design (AI, EPS, JPG, PNG, PSD, SVG)

This distressed T-shirt design is great for Halloween! If you want to recreate a Photoshop weathered look in your T-shirt design, this is a great option.

The T-shirt grunge texture will grab everyone's attention. And the best part: the download includes eight file formats so you can work with this distressed T-shirt design on many platforms.

Discover More Cool Tutorials and Resources

Want to learn more about how to make T-shirt designs or find the best distressed effect Photoshop actions? Check out our awesome tutorials and articles:

Editorial Note: This post has been updated with contributions from Maria Villanueva. Maria is the Associate Editor of the Tuts+ Design channel.

Advertisement
Did you find this post useful?
Want a weekly email summary?
Subscribe below and we’ll send you a weekly email summary of all new Design & Illustration tutorials. Never miss out on learning about the next big thing.
Start your 7-day free trial*
Start free trial
*All Individual plans include a 7-day free trial for new customers; then chosen plan price applies. Cancel any time.