The Adventures of POD

Merch by Amazon is Amazon’s Print-on-Demand service.

Merch products include T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, Long-Sleeves, Hoodies, Zip-Hoodies, Tank-Tops, and Pop Sockets. When a customer buys a product with your design, you will earn a Royalty fee.

I’m not new to the POD scene, it’s the method I used first before deciding to invest in equipment that could get me on my feet. However, I still need to use one of the big boy companies every now and then for designs that are too detailed for my patience.

I recently got accepted after requesting an invitation. Accepted in less than 3 days, which is astounding considering the wait time everyone fears – just for them to go over your application.

I should be stoked right?

Yeah. I’m so excited my dashboard still looks like this –


The problem…

I’m techy to some extent and the issues I’ve run into so far – no other POD platform has made me want to pull my hair out when I’ve just reached the uploading stage.

A typical custom t-shirt design should conform to the following standards to get the most out of Merch by Amazon:

  • Image size should fit within a 15 x 18-inch printable area (preferably with a little room to spare around the edges)
  • Create your artwork using RGB color
  • Save your image as a 300 dpi PNG file
  • Make sure your final file is under 25MB

Check. Check. Check. And check.

So, wth is going on here?


I used 3 different programs to try and figure it out. Ps, Illustrator, and 3D paint because why not? I’ve been messing with the file all friggin’ day to no avail. And I closed EVERYTHING without saving changes.

Which brings me to where I am right now.


If the idea of seeing your sketches on apparel sound appealing to you (I became fascinated with the thought after placing an owl sketch on a pillow mock-up 3 years ago.) here’s an inside look –

Print-on-demand is direct-to-garment or DTG. This is equivalent to running shirts through a giant printer and they get blasted with ink.

The lifecycle of successful t-shirts;

  • Create a shirt that appeals to a very targeted audience
  • People start buying that shirt, it gains some traction
  • Someone else is able to design a very very similar shirt compared to yours and price it lower
  • You have to lower prices as your listing gets buried under the sea of endless creativity
  • Rinse and repeat

Right now anyone can go on Upwork and hire a foreign “designer” to pump out “unique” shirt designs for $4. That market research consists of;

  • Go on Teespring or similar website and search for top designs
  • Take note of the top selling design/message/idea
  • Go to your designer and have them recreate it and add 24 other variations.

That’s it.

$100 down isn’t too much to gamble with, as far as those variations go, say there’s a shirt that says “My [dog_breed] is better than your dog”. Insert 25 different dog breeds and boom, you’re appealing to 25 segments of dog lovers.


I’m just trying to have fun with what I enjoy (: