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Creating a T-Shirt Mockup Like a Pro

It’s time to get down to (screen printing) business, and to do so, we need to talk mockups. Making a high quality mockup helps you to fine-tune concepts, and send work concepts to clients before any printing begins. The higher quality a mockup is, the more uses a client and a business (you) can get out of it! We’re talking about product photos, social media posts, etc.!

Making a Template

Before we can start making a mockup, we need to get a template started. We have found a couple of options thanks to other screen printing pros. You can find “2700+ Apparel Mockups Bundle” at about $70 on, or you can use the “Realistic Blank T-Shirt Mockups” on the site for $15! Essentially these two will “pay for itself,” especially because of the amount of time, effort and photoshop skills it takes to create your own. Making the decision to pay for a template is worth it because this is something that you will get its use of time and time again!

Starting Your Design

Once you open Photoshop and choose the template you would like to use, take a look at the design, tag and custom tag areas. Some templates will have extra bells and whistles such as shadows, highlights, fabrics and colors. Typically a drop shadow and background layers help to complete most templates and allow them to look their best.

Let’s start off the discussion with the left chest print.

The Left-Chest Print

Click on the design layer. When the smart object pops up in a new window, delete that stock design, and replace it with your design. A way to do this is from copying and pasting from Adobe Illustrator directly into Photoshop. From here you can scale the design to fit the left-chest print, and place it exactly where you are wanting it to be.

Click save while in the smart object screen, and voila! It will appear in your mockup!

Lots of the time the highlights layer can look overpowering in mockups, causing them to look faded or it has been washed too many times. To fix this issue, you can adjust the opacity of the layer, which allows for your design to shine through!

Paying Attention to the Tag

When you add a custom tag to the shirt mockup, it makes the entire project feel that much more personal. Get rid of the “stock tag” layer and it is just as easy to turn on the “custom tag” layer. It should open as another smart object window and you follow the same steps as you did for the left-chest print. Always make sure you have the stock image deleted when working on replacing it! Also another tip is to make sure the tag is resized to be scaled in proportion to the shirt.

The Back Print

The process for this part of the shirt is very similar to the front, it is just at a larger scale because this design typically will be taking up the entirety of the back. Keep in mind the purpose of the design and how it might fit on an actual person. You want to have the design be large enough to read but also not too large to where it is not universally legible by those who wear it.

Once you are happy with your design, turn off your placement guide, save your smart objects and open your mockups like you are about to send them to the client. After making sure everything is perfected, you can move on to actually sending it to your client with fingers crossed that they are impressed.

Here at BOLT Screen Printing we pride ourselves in creating quality custom apparel that brings your vision to life. We have assembled a team of professionals, who strive to understand your goals and assist you with out of the box advertising and branding techniques. We combine our knowledge of all things apparel with your project goals in order to provide killer gear and a stress-free experience.

With an ambition to create premium quality vintage threads, Bolt was born. From our passion of creating the best clothing for our clothing store Opolis and our customers expressing the desire to see their designs on our high-quality apparel we knew the next step would be to open Bolt. After being in the industry for over 13 years, we've perfected the process of turning amazing ideas into even better results. Contact us today by emailing us at, or giving us a call at 405-493-9557!

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