You might have an extensive collection of hoodies, but it’s never enough. The coziness of this garment keeps you warm on chilly days and its style adds some zest to your casual looks. This top is so versatile, you can wear it at a gym or on a date, for work or for a dog walk. There are so many brands and designs that it becomes harder and harder to choose. Maybe it’s time to step away from the fast fashion and create something of your own. Or maybe you want a personalized gift for your family or colleagues. You can also be a manager looking for quality merch for your music band or sports team. In all these cases you need a unique hoodie with a custom design.
If you ever thought about making a custom hoodie, you know how many questions may arise. It looks a lot harder than just ordering another shirt from Amazon. Don’t panic, we know how to do it with zero fuss. And we can assure you, if you do everything right, the result will be worth it.
1. Choose the Custom Hoodie
You might have already imagined what your design will look like, but do you know how the hoodie will feel? Here are some things to consider when creating your perfect custom printed hoodie.
There are tons of blank hoodies and they might look very similar, but they are not. First of all, decide if you want a pullover or a zip-up hoodie. The names are self-explanatory and the main difference is in the way you put them on. Pullovers are generally warmer, easier to wash and print across the chest. Zip-ups are more fashion-forward and give you an opportunity to control the temperature. The drawback is, zippers can break.
The next thing to decide is the style. You can have a boxy unisex hoodie that is usually more roomy, longer and made with the thicker fabric. This type works when you love oversized tops. A tailored fit, also known as fashion fit or slim fit, is a more flattering option. Read the description carefully and pay attention to how the garment looks on a model.
Last but not least, decide if you want your hoodie to have a front pocket and drawstrings, what color it should be and what size.
Even before you know what a hoodie can be made from, you need to decide whether you want it to be lightweight or a heavy one? How should the fabric feel?
In general, fabric options are either 100% cotton, polyester or cotton/poly blends in various proportions. Natural fabrics are usually more pricey, but they allow your body to breathe and keep it warm at the same time. The softest option on the inside is fleece (can be made from all of those materials above). It is also the warmest and the heaviest. French terry is not that spongy to touch, but more lightweight and keeps you cooler. It is more of a spring/summer night option. Note, that some printing methods work only on specific types of fabric.
The brand (and the price)
Obviously there are tons of companies on the market. Let’s just talk about three main categories.
Brands like American Apparel, Bella+Canvas or District are in the premium segment. They use good fabrics and pay a lot of attention to the quality of cuts and fashion-forward styles. But of course, they are the most expensive.
Mid-range brands include Champion, Next Level, and Hanes. They are more affordable and have good quality but might be not that stylish in terms of fitting.
Standard brands like Fruit of the Loom, Gildan, and Jerzees are probably the most common blanks on the mass-market. The quality is decent, but the number of options is limited. And those are usually not the softest hoodies. Still, they are good for sports teams, colleges or corporate gifts.
2. Finalize Your Design
If you are not a designer or artist yourself, this might take some time. But now worries, we got some tips for you.
Tip #1. Use the online design tool.
Most custom printing services have one on their website. You can download your logo there and play with positioning, colors and supporting text. You can also buy a pre-designed hoodie and personalize it or search through a clip art library. The features of online tools vary greatly from service to service. But if you want a simple text or have your artwork ready, it shouldn’t take much time.
Tip #2. The simpler the better.
Limit the number of colors on your design. First, the fewer colors you use in the design, the cheaper is the printing. Second, bold contrast designs usually look better than very colorful ones.
Tip #3. Placement is the key.
Source: Rush Order Tees
There are a lot of options on where to put your design on a hoodie. The rule of thumb is to put the image where it is clearly visible. Also, the bigger the artwork, the more it costs.
Possible and most common print locations include full front/full back/full sleeve, on the pocket or on a hood’s side, shoulder sleeve, chest, wrist, and lower back. Which means almost anywhere you can imagine. Just be careful with proportions and possible restrictions for artwork sizes. Most companies will notify you if there is a problem with placement.
3. Pick the Method of Customisation
There are two main techniques to create a custom hoodie: printing (screen or DTG) and embroidery.
A small emblem on a chest looks cool when embroidered. However, this method does not allow a lot of details and will cost a fortune if your design is big.
Screen printing is the most common method. It is generally cheaper, more vivid and durable. You can print on almost any fabric type and color. The trade-off is that you pay per color, so if your idea is too colorful, it might be expensive. The bigger is the butch, the smaller the price for one hoodie.
The process of screen printing. Source: Wikipedia commons
Direct-to-garment printing (DTG) is perfect when you need to have gradients or full color. It works best with 100% cotton and a small run. The image may be not as vibrant as with screen printing. You also should wash it with care in cold water.
You can also research heat transfer or dye-sublimation methods, but they are not so common.
4. Choose a Printing Service for your Custom Hoodie
There are tons of companies offering custom hoodies and some of them are more suitable for your purposes than others. They offer various blanks, printing methods, and additional services. Some of them have no minimums, others only work with bulk orders.
Tip #4. Check reviews
Good companies have good reviews. If you read them, they’ll probably enlighten you about actual delivery time and printing quality, as well as overall experience about the service.
We recommend choosing according to your aim (business or personal), budget and time frame. But also check terms and conditions, especially return policy, payment options and shipping charges.
Here is a list and reviews of some trusted printing services to consider. At least one of them should meet all your criteria.
This service would work both for bulk and individual orders, but for larger quantities, it has more options. It has good reviews, a huge selection of blanks, fast turnaround (six business days), reasonable prices and free shipping. For example, if you order 12 hoodies with one color printing, one would cost $22 dollars. The company has been in business for 30 years!
It offers screen printing, sublimation, 3D printing, embroidery and some other options to customize your piece. Everything is made in the US. Moreover, their online design tool is pretty convenient and easy to use.
Though it says tees, the company makes screen printing and embroidery on hoodies as well. Why is it good? It has no minimum order for some models, it has an extensive catalog of blanks and free shipping option if you are in no rush. The usual turnaround is 8 business days. The price of one standard hoodie in an order of 12 would be $38 each.
With this service, you can customize everything from mugs to sports bra. It offers a one-stop solution with an easy-to-use design tool. You can either upload your artwork, choose from a vast collection of templates or simply add text. The standard turnaround is reasonably fast, and the shipping costs $7-11 depending on the destination. You can also use their design marketplace to find something unique you’d like.
This service dominates the individual print-on-demand market. It has a huge collection of pre-designed hoodies ready for personalization. You can either choose one or create it on your own. The only drawback is the limited number of blanks options. The turnaround is five to seven business days. Prices are a little higher than on other services, but the quality is flawless. Shipping is chargeable.
This service works best when you need a small number of hoodies for your soulmate, family or team. You can also use it to sell your own designs.
You can either create your design from scratch or shop ready-made designs that you can customize and put on any garment. The selection of blanks is decent, the printing quality is excellent, but prices could be better. In a small bulk order, your standard hoodie will cost about $30 and will be delivered in eight business days. Shipping prices start at $6 and it goes higher if you order more items.
This service works best for those who want something semi-custom in small numbers. It is similar to CafePress, but with more customizable options and funky designs. Also, you can order the same design on hoodies, t-shirts, and even phone-cases.
06. Custom Ink
First of all, the clip art collection is huge. So you do not need to draw anything yourself, just use the designer tool. The prices are all-inclusive (no additional costs for shipping), but they are a little bit on the higher end. The turnaround is about two weeks, which is slower than other services have. But the customer support is very helpful and available on evenings and weekends. Also, no art help provided here.
And last but not least, here is another tip to smoothen your custom hoodie experience:
Tip #5. Order ahead of time
If you need a hoodie for a special occasion, order them ahead of schedule. Some services may have a queue, and all of them apply extra charges on rush orders.
Custom hoodies are perfect gifts for friends or colleges, they look perfect on teams and family reunion photos. These versatile garments will keep your memories for a long time. Moreover, they are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to start your own fashion business. Whatever your goal is, a warm and stylish hoodie will look amazing with your design on it.