3 Ways to Design & Create Vintage Looking T-Shirt

1. Use Water Based Inks for a Soft Hand & Transparent Look

You can select either water based inks or plastisol inks when working with Broken Arrow. While plastisol is the most popular, water based inks have a special place in the screen printing world. Water based inks are thinner, more transparent inks that are used when wanting a distressed or vintage t-shirt look. Typically water based inks will be used in conjunction with a discharge under base which means we don’t print a layer of white down under your ink colors. Since you found this page, you are not looking for a vibrant print anyways so that is perfect for you. Water base inks are typically recommend for use with 100% cotton t-shirts but can be used on blended materials depending on the design and desired effect.

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All Over T-Shirt Prints

2. Add Distressing to Your Design

Distressing is adding a pattern over top of the design that will typically add negative space to the image allowing the shirt to show through. Distressing is particularly effective when trying to create a custom vintage t-shirt because it gives a look to the design that the garment has been washed a bunch. Distressing can come in many forms including crackling, speckling and even have a look that a part of the design has washed off. Almost all vintage t-shirt designs include distressing of some sort, but it’s not a requirement.

screen printing with rhinestones
screen printing with rhinestones
screen printing with rhinestones
screen printing with rhinestones
screen printing with rhinestones
screen printing with rhinestones
screen printing with rhinestones
screen printing with rhinestones
screen printing with rhinestones
screen printing with rhinestones
screen printing with rhinestones
screen printing with rhinestones

3. Select A Vintage Style or Looking T-Shirt

While you can use a basic tee, these will really up your vintage custom t-shirt up a notch! Choose from a vintage looking football style or one that has distressing already in the shirt. With many options to choose from, the right vintage t-shirt will really enhance your design.

Vintage T-Shirts - Softer, More Worn Looking Feel

Canvas 3413

Bella+Canvas 3413

3.8oz Unisex Triblend

Alternative apparel 5050

Alternative Apparel 5050

Keeper Vintage 50/50

American apparel TR401

AmericanApparel TR401

3.7oz USA Made Tri

Next level 6010

Next Level 6010

4.3oz Soft Triblend

New Era NEA130

New Era NEA130

4.3oz Performance Tri

Alternative apparel AA1973

Alternative AA1973

Eco-Jersey Triblend

Canvas 3001

Bella+Canvas 3001

4.2oz 100% Cotton

La t 6930

Champion AO300

4.3oz Originals Varsity

Canvas 3650

Bella+Canvas 3650

3.6oz Cotton/Poly Tee

Alternative apparel 12150

Alternative 12150

Eco-Jersey Football

La t 6937

LAT 6937

Vintage Football Tee

Dyenomite 650VRX

Dyenomite 650VRX

Vintage Fest TieDye

Alternative apparel 5093

Alternative Apparel 5093

Vintage 50/50 Slapshot

Vintage Ladies & Womens T-Shirts

Next level 6760

Next level 6760

Tri-Blend Dolman

Alternative apparel 5052

Alternative apparel 5052

50/50 Jersey Keepsake

Alternative apparel 5082

Alternative apparel 5082

50/50 Jersey Stadium

Alternative apparel 12412

Alternative 12412

Washed Slub Pocket

Alternative apparel 4860

Alternative apparel 4860

Distressed Vintage

Alternative apparel AA5060

Alternative AA5060

Outfield 50/50 Tee

La t 3537

La t 3537

Vintage Football

La t 3530

La t 3530

Jersey Baseball

Champion AO350

Champion AO350

Triblend Varsity

Vintage Sweatshirts & Hoodies

Alternative apparel 5068

Alternative apparel 5068

Sport Scrimmage

Alternative apparel AA9575

Alternative apparel AA9575

Basic Fleece Crew

J-america J8915

J-america J8915

Zen Fleece Pullover

Alternative apparel 5066

Alternative apparel 5066

Sport French Terry

Alternative apparel 5079

Alternative apparel 5079

French Terry Pullover

Alternative apparel 5077

Alternative apparel 5077

French Terry Trainer

Alternative apparel 5069

Alternative apparel 5069

Sport French Terry

J-america 8916

J-america 8916

Zen Fleece Full-Zip

Alternative apparel 61061

Alternative 61061

Slouchy Slub Pullover

Alternative apparel 5072

Alternative apparel 5072

Sport French Terry

Vintage & Distressed Hats

Valucap VC300A

Valucap VC300A

Bio-Washed Unstructured

District threads DT600

District threads DT600

Distressed Cap

Adams AD969

Adams AD969

Washed Pigment-Dyed

Valucap VC800

Valucap VC800

Fidel Cap

Adams OL102

Adams OL102

Pigment-Dyed Distressed

Mega cap 7601

Mega cap 7601

Dyed Cotton Twill

More on Custom Vintage Shirts

If you are looking for retro or vintage t-shirts, you have come to the right place! Broken Arrow is your number one choice for custom vintage t-shirts! Choose from tons of popular brands like Alternative Apparel, District Made, American Apparel and many more. Below are a few of our favorite vintage t-shirts, including some fun raglan styles! Not seeing the perfect vintage shirt? Don't worry! We have tons of other fabulous options available! Vintage t-shirts are a popular option as they give you that lived in feel, while still being new and free from moth balls. Vintage t-shirts are soft and generally lightweight and can be made from cotton or cotton blends. If you are looking for a vintage screen printing look as well, ask about water base inks which sink into the fibers of the shirts for a lightweight print that also has a worn and vintage look. Our team of in-house artists can also take care of distressing your logo or creating a design that is vintage or retro looking for your custom vintage t-shirts for the total package! Upon placing your order, you'll get an online proof to review and approve so you can be sure your vintage screen printing design looks perfect! Ready to get started on your custom vintage t-shirts design? Click on your favorite shirt above, chat with us, or give us a call at 800-810-4692. Our friendly customer service reps are ready to get your vintage t-shirts started!