Graphic Design: Create a T-Shirt Mockup

Beginner level Adobe Illustrator Adobe Illustrator Adobe Photoshop Adobe Photoshop

First Steps

Mockups are a great tool for getting a visual and a pretty realistic representation of the final appearance of your product. In the design world, mockups are widely used for merchandising purposes, stationery, clothing items, cars, etc.

This way, clients can get an idea of how the final product will look like before it becomes a reality. This tutorial is a great opportunity to learn how to create a mockup for a T-shirt. We’re going to adjust a T-shirt so that we can modify its colors and its design whenever we want to. Thus, we’re going to prepare and adjust a template to work with it quick & easy.  

Before we start, you must download the files attached to this tutorial.

How to Create a T-shirt Mockup

Step 1

First of all, use the T-shirt image to create the template. Open the T-shirt image in Adobe Photoshop (File → Open → Select the T-shirt file). Crop the first T-shirt using the Crop Tool (C).


Step 2

Select the Patch Tool (J) and and use the settings and values that you see on the following reference image. Then, select the design on the T-shirt and replace it with the parts without design to delete it as indicated below.


Step 3

Select the Pen Tool (P) and use it to outline the T-shirt except for the sleeves. Hold the Control key and click on the layer to select it. Then, press Control + J to create a new layer with the selected area. 


Step 4

Duplicate the layer again (Control + J) and desaturate it (Shift + Control + U). Then, create a new Levels adjustment layer from the Layers panel.

Create a clipping mask (Alt + Control + G) and adjust the levels as indicated below. After that, merge the Levels layer with the layer below (Control + E)


Step 5

Create a new copy (Control + J), apply a Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 2.5 px (Filter → Blur → Gaussian Blur). Save a copy of the file and name it “displace.psd”.


Step 6

Hold down the Control key and click on “Layer 1” to select its contents. Then, create a fill layer from the Layers panel and use the following fill color: #A8F3D0.  


Step 7

Draw a rectangle in the middle of the T-shirt with the Rectangle Tool (U) covering as much space as possible. Once created, rasterize the layer (right click → Rasterize Layer) and turn it into a Smart Object (right click → Convert to Smart Object).


Step 8

Double click on the rectangle layer to open the Smart Object and, then, deactivate the rectangle layer to leave that space empty.

Open the vector logo in Adobe Illustrator, copy it (Control + C) and paste it (Control + V) in Adobe Photoshop as a Smart Object. Center align the logo in the rectangle. Save the changes (Control + S) and return to the template. 


Guys, this step is very important because, thanks to the Smart Object, we'll be able to modify the T-shirt design very easily. So, every time you want to modify the design, double-click on the rectangle to edit the smart object. I recommend that you change the name of the rectangle layer and type something like “Replace Design Here” instead. Then, create a new copy and hide it in a group as indicated below, keeping only the original. 


Step 9

Go to the Blending Options to adjust the Output Levels (Layer → Layer Style → Blending Options).


Step 10

Then, apply a Displace Filter (Filter → Distort → Displace) making use of the “displace.psd” file that we saved previously. 


Step 11

Create a fill layer with the fill color #393939 and apply a drop shadow to the T-shirt as shown below.


Congratulations! You've Finished!

And that’s it! We have created a T-shirt mockup simply and quickly. I hope you found it useful, and I recommend you that you put this into practice in your future projects. I’m looking forward to seeing your result!


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Join me in this tutorial and learn to create a mockup template of a T-shirt in just a few and simple steps with Adobe Photoshop.