Picking the perfect T-shirt for your special project

guessing you have more important things to be doing than trying to decide what T-shirt to use. We have already done the heavy lifting for you. We have printed, washed, worn, and otherwise researched hundreds of samples from just about every brand you can think of

There are countless options when picking the right blank for your project.

I am guessing you have more important things to be doing than trying to decide what T-shirt to use. We have already done the heavy lifting for you. We have printed, washed, worn, and otherwise researched hundreds of samples from just about every brand you can think of. If your favorite isn’t on this list don’t be offended or concerned. This list is just a few of our favorites that cover the needs of 95% of the people out there. It would be impossible (or at the very least costly and time-consuming to list them all)

Even if your personal favorite did not make the cut, don’t despair – through our relationships directly with a few of our favorite brands and with most of the major distributors in the US, odds are good we can get our hands on it pretty quick.

For the most part, we have chosen to stay away from the ‘house brands’ that some of distributors carry. There is nothing wrong with the shirts themselves, and in some instances, there are some pretty great options but we tend to stick with brands that have multiple distribution channels as it gives us a better opportunity to get competitive pricing (which gets passed along) and gives us multiple options if one of our distributors is low on stock for a particular style or color.

If you have any questions or think there is one that is missing just let us know in the comments and we will check it out. We are always up for trying something new so you don’t have to.

Now – onto the list (average blank price listed for reference)

Our “go-to” T

Bella+Canvas 3001. ($8) This is where we will almost always start when picking out a blank for a new project. We like it so much we have a full post on it in the works where we tell you all the things that make Bella+Canvas our preferred brand around the shop.

The short version

  • Reasonably priced for the quality t-shirt that you get
  • super soft
  • holds up really well
  • available in a LONG list of colors (120+ between the 2 fabrications)
  • right balance of flattering fit without being too trim or too boxy.
  • Available in both 100% cotton and CVC (52% ring-spun cotton/48% polyester)

Next Level Apparel has some very similar options at a similar price point – It usually comes down to finding just the right color.

Need to save a couple of bucks?

Gildan 2000 ($6) This is the go-to for a lot of shops. Honestly, there is nothing special about this t-shirt but it does its job. It’s consistent and predictable and sometimes that is all you really need. There are lots of options out there at this price point but if you’re needing a basic tee and need to keep the cost down this one is our preference. Need a t-shirt for your work crew, this may be a great option. Have a group that is a little on the older more mature side, this may be a great fit here too as it’s likely what they are use to. There are some cheaper options out there but in our experience, if you go cheaper you won’t save much and odds are you will end up regretting it.

The rundown

  • combed cotton
  • lots of colors
  • available up to 5x
  • inexpensive
  • roomy fit

Splitting the difference

Gildan 64000 or similar ($7)

When a client want’s something a little nicer but needs to be mindful of the cost, we usually start with the Gildan Softsyle but this is a tough group for us – There are a lot of options in this category that are pretty similar both in price and quality. For most folks, it is worth the price difference to move up to the Bella+Canvas 3001 or they need to save the $ and go with old faithful – The Gildan 2000. For this range most of the time the deciding factor is finding the color we need or even what we can catch on sale(which gets passed on to you).

Shirts in this category share a few common traits.

  • Ring-spun cotton
  • relaxed sizing
  • mid to lightweight

Need something unique?

Triblend and Slub($12) t-shirts are where we usually look next and are a great option for a premium T-shirt. Modern fashion with a vintage feel. Again – Bella+Canvas is where we start with their 3413 Triblend for a freakishly soft T or their 3650 Slub for something super soft with a unique texture and look.

Comfort Colors 1717 ($12)Some people love them, some can’t stand them – we fall right in the middle. For certain projects, they are a great choice as their garment-dyed colors are what make them stand out from the rest. They start out pretty stiff but soften up after a few washings. The 1717 is a heavyweight (6.1 oz) tee with a generous fit. They also offer a midweight 5500 (5.4oz) & a lightweight 4017(4.8 oz) but the 1717 typically has the most colors and best availability. Sometimes you need a color that no one else has. The downside for the countless color choices is their availability is pretty unpredictable so it’s a good idea to have a 2nd (or even 3rd) color choice if we’re working on a project down the road.

Regardless of what you need for your next order, we would love to help you out. Like we said this is just a short list but enough to get you started. Get in touch and we can help you with finding the perfect blank!



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1836 Ink | custom apparel, printing & desing | Fayetteville, AR

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