Creating T-Shirt Designs in Canva

I'm fascinated with learning how people do the things that they do. I also love to teach pretty much anything I know in an effort to help other people learn quickly. I'll occasionally share behind-the-scenes posts and videos showing how I run my business, Words & Whimsy, and I'm kicking it off today by showing you how I create t-shirt designs using Canva, and prep my artwork to send to Supacolor. Let's go!

I’ve been using Canva for several years, and I absolutely love the versatility of the platform. If you’re not familiar, Canva is an online design tool that allows you to create everything from simple social media graphics to animations and videos, and everything in between! I use it literally every single day and couldn’t run my business without it.

When I started making t-shirt designs, of course I wanted to use a platform that I was already familiar with, so I went to old reliable, Canva! I’ve put together a full video that shows you exactly how I created my “Good Grace” t-shirt design, which you can watch below.


  • Start with a square blank template in Canva. This allows you to create both horizontal and vertical designs on one template. You will resize once you have your final artwork designed.
  • Create layers instead of using the shadow effect. I talk about this in the video, but if you want a shadow effect on your lettering like I created in the “Good Grace” design, you need to create layers. Don’t use the shadow effect in Canva because it will be too transparent for Supacolor to print.
  • Save your artwork as a hi-res PNG file with transparent background. You’ll also need to be sure your final artwork is at least 300dpi before uploading to Supacolor.
  • Use shirt mock-ups (like these from Whimsy Mocks) to test your design. I always like to see how my design will look on various shirt colors before sending it to print. I like giving my customers at least 2 shirt options for each design.


  • Use the template sizes for Supacolor wearable transfers as a starting point. On the Heat Transfer Warehouse site, you will see that Supacolor wearable transfers come in a variety of sizes. NOTE: Your design must fit onto one of these template sizes, but does not need to match the template size exactly.
  •  Create blank Supacolor templates in Canva to use again and again. Use the dimensions of each transfer template to create blank templates in Canva. Remember to change pixels to inches when creating these templates.
  • Pay attention to artwork dimensions when sizing it on a template in Canva. As you drag the corners of your artwork onto the template in Canva, there will be small numbers that appear by your mouse arrow that will give you the dimensions of your artwork. You’ll need those when ordering your transfers.
  • Be as specific as possible when entering details of your Supacolor order. This will help make sure your transfers turn out perfectly! Provide details like the size of  your artwork and the colors and materials off the garments you will be pressing the artwork on.

In the next post, I’ll share what the transfers look like when they arrive, and how to press your artwork onto your t-shirt! CLICK HERE FOR PART 2.

Want to try Supacolor transfers for yourself? Create a free account on Supacolor’s website and receive a FREE test kit! Be sure to let them know Kirsten Thompson sent you! 

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