Printful and Shopify | How to Start a Print-On-Demand Business
By the end of this guide you should understand how to create your store, create and add products, and customize your store.
- Printful & Shopify: What is Print-on-demand & How it Works
- Setup Your Printful Account
- Setup Your Shopify Account
- Integrate Your Printful Account with Shopify
- Add Products to Your Shopify Store via Printful
- Printful & Shopify: Printful Shipping Costs
- Add a Custom Domain to Your Shopify Store
- Create Custom Mockups and Templates
- Customize Your Shopify Store
- Printful and Shopify: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Printful & Shopify: What is Print-on-demand & How it Works
Print-on-demand is a service where you work with suppliers to sell customized goods to your customers.
It is similar to dropshipping since you don’t have to buy any inventory. Instead you add products to your store and add a retail price.
Once a customer places an order, the product and shipping costs are deducted from the retail price you set. This leaves you with your profit.
Printful is a free print-on-demand service that lets you sell a variety of products including:
- Men and womens clothing (t-shirts, hoodies, activewear, joggers etc.)
- Tote bags, drawstring bags, backpacks and laptop cases
- Different varieties of hats including beanies and snapbacks
- Jewellery products such as bracelets, necklaces and earring
- Home products like pillow cases, blankets, bean bags and towels
- Art products including canvas prints, posters and framed posters
Now that you have a brief overview of print-on-demand and how it works, let’s move onto creating your new store.
Setup Your Printful Account
When starting your Print On Demand store, the first thing you need to do is sign up with Printful.
Click on the Start Selling button or click on Sign up in the top left corner.
On the sign up page you can sign up using Facebook, your Google account or you can sign up using your email.
If you sign up with your email, fill in your details (name, email, create a password), agree to Printfuls policies and click on Sign up.
Next Printful is going to ask you what you intend to use the platform for. You can just choose “Start my first ecommerce business”, then click Finish.
That’s it! You’ve successfully created your Printful account.
Next you need to confirm your email address, check your inbox for an email frrom Printful and click the confirmation link inside.
If you don’t see an email from Printful, go back to your Printful dashboard and click “Confirm Email Addresss”, and request a new confirmation email.
Printful confirmation emails can take a few minutes to reach your inbox so don’t be alarmed if you don’t an email straight away.
Setup Your Shopify Account
Go to Shopify, enter your email address and click Start free trial.
Next you just need to create a password and store name, then click Create your store.
Note: Your store name will appear in your Shopify stores URL, for example “mycoolstore.myshopify.com”.
Later I’ll show you how to use your own domain name (thestartupshirts.com) instead of Shopify’s default domain for your store.
Once your store has finished it’s initial setup you should you’ll see a success message, followed by some optional questions by Shopify.
It doesn’t really matter what answers you choose in this section and you can just press the skip button if you want to move on.
On the next section, you need to add your personal details so you can get paid by Shopify whenever you make a sale.
Details you need to sign up to Shopify include:
- First name
- Last name
Once you are done, scroll down and click Enter my store.
Now you’ve created your Shopify account, simple!
Once you’re inside your Shopify store, you’ll see a banner telling you that you’re on a free trial.
Click on the Select a Plan button to view the available Shopify plans.
Note: You only get charged for a Shopify plan after your 14 day free trial has expired.
On the next page you’ll see a list of three Shopify plans:
The three Shopify plans you’ll see are:
- Basic Shopify — $29 per month
- Shopify — $79 per month
- Advanced Shopify — $299 per month
For most of you, the $29 per month Basic Shopify plan is all that you’ll need when starting out.
The Basic Shopify plan isn’t expensive when you take into account the features that come with the plan:
- Website + Free themes
- Theme customizer
- Web hosting
- Sell products online and get paid
Every business comes with an investment, and $29 per month is a small price to pay for the ability to sell online and get paid every day.
So choose a plan, choose whether to pay monthly or annually, then choose a payment method and enter your card or PayPal details.
If you have a debit/credit card and a PayPal account, I recommend choosing both card payment methods at the same time so you never miss a payment.
Even if you have multiple payment methods, you’ll only be charged once, using the first payment method that works.
Once you have chosen a Shopify plan, the next step is to integrate Printful with Shopify.
Integrate Your Printful Account with Shopify
- On your Shopify dashboard go to “Apps” on the left side menu.
- On the next page click “Visit the Shopify App Store”.
- Search for “Printful”.
- Select the Printful app.
- On the next page click “Add app”
- On the confirmation page, click “Install app”.
- On the next screen, sign in to your Printful account.
- Click “Connect store” to confirm the Printful to Shopify connection
Now your Shopify store should be fully connected with your Printful account.
Add Products to Your Shopify Store via Printful
When you add a product via Printful, you are basically choosing a product to sell and customizing it. Once you are done, Printful imports it straight to your Shopify store.
To make this process easier, you should go back to the full Printful website.
You can go back to the Printful site in two ways:
- Go back to Printful directly — Just go back to the browser tab or window where you setup your Printful account.
- From inside Shopify — Click on “Open Full Site” on the right side of the screen.
How to Add a Product to Shopify via Printful
On your Printful dashboard, go to Stores on the admin menu and click Add product.
Next choose the type of product you want to add to your Printful store, for this example I’ll add a Mens T-Shirt.
When adding products to Printful, aim to choose “Best Selling” product styles. For the T-shirt I added the first style which is a best seller with loads of positive reviews.
Once you’ve chosen a product to add, click on it and you’ll be taken to the customization screen.
Printful lets you customize the following parts of a t-shirt:
- Left sleeve
- Right Sleeve
- Outside label
- Inside label
You can choose a printing technique for your t-shirt too:
- Printing (DTG) – Direct-to-garment printing using ink jet technology.
- Embroidery – Have your designs stitched onto your t-shirt using a sewing machine or embroidery machine.
Printful also lets you choose as many color variations as you want for your product, just click on a color to add it as a variation.
You can also add multiple sizes for your product too.
When it comes to designing your t-shirts, you can have the following options:
- Upload file — Upload your own design
- Add text — Create a text based design
- Add clipart — Use Printfuls own clipart designs
I’m going to upload my own design to Printful for this example. So you just choose Upload File.
Next click the Upload button and choose the design you want to upload to Printful.
Once your design is uploaded, go to your design and click “Choose”. Now you’ll be able to see your design on the t-shirt itself.
You can resize the design, flip it and adjust it’s position.
Printful also gives your option to allow image personalization. This feature lets your customers create customized versions of your design in real-time via your store.
Once you are done, scroll down and click on “Proceed to media”.
Choose a Printful Mockup style
Now you need to choose a mockup style for your Printful product. Printful mockups are product images that feature your custom designs.
For example if you are selling t-shirts, mockups will include male or female models wearing a t-shirt with your design.
If you are selling phone cases, mockups will include smartphones inside a case with your own design.
You can choose different mockups styles for your Printful product, for example with t-shirts, mockups you can choose include:
- Men’s mockups — Male model wearing your design.
- Women’s mockups — Female model wearing your design.
- Couple’s mockups — Couples modelling your t-shirt design.
- Men’s lifestyle mockups — Male model with a background theme.
- Women’s lifestyle mockups — Female model with a background theme.
- Flat mockups — T-shirt mockup with no model.
- Flat lifestyle mockups — T-shirt mockups with a background theme.
- Wrinkled mockups — Wrinkled t-shirt mockups.
- Halloween mockups — Halloween themed mockups
- Christmas mockups — Christmas themed mockups
- On Hanger mockups — T-shirt design on a hanger.
Once you have chosen a mockup style, scroll down and click on “Proceed to details”.
Add a description for your Printful product
Inside Printful, you can edit the following information for your product:
- Choose description language
- Product title
There is also an option to attach a size guide, this is always enabled by default.
You can also attach a size guide, using Imperial or Metric system.
Make sure you tick the “Publish product” box under Product visibility so your product is listed on your store after editing.
Under Product Collections, click on the empty box and select “Home page”. This will ensure that your product shows up on the homepage.
Make sure you select this option so your customers can find your product easily.
Note: Printful product collections are simply product categories, similar to how collections on Shopify function as categories.
If you want to offer free shipping, tick the box labelled “Display my product with free shipping”.
If you decide to offer free shipping, make sure to add the shipping cost into the product price.
This way the customer still pays for the shipping, and you don’t lose out on profits.
Once you are done, click “Proceed to pricing”.
Price your Printful product
When pricing your products on Printful, you are shown four things:
- Size — The size of your product. Each size has a different price.
- Printful price — The cost of your product.
- Retail price — The price you can sell the product for, you can change this price.
- Profit — The amount of money you’ll make, based on the Printful price subtracted from the Retail price.
Under the profit section you can increase the price of your products by a certain amount ($3 for example).
You can also go straight to the Retail price section and adjust the prices manually.
I’m going to price my t-shirts at $29.99 for each size.
Since my costs are $13.95-$15.37 this will give me a profit of $16.16-$16.74 depending on the sizes sold.
Once you have finished entering your prices, click Submit to store.
That’s it, you’ve just added a new product to your Shopify store via Printful.
Printful & Shopify: Printful Shipping Costs
For every order a customers places on through your store, they will be charged the cost of the product plus the shipping cost.
This is why it’s important to know your shipping costs, so you can adjust the selling price of your products accordingly.
You can see list of Printful’s shipping costs on their Shipping page.
To get there, go to “Home page” on your admin menu, then click on “How this works” and click “Shipping”.
You can also click here to go to Printfuls Shipping directly.
On Printful’s shipping page, scroll down and click on the tabs to see shipping prices for each product type.
Printful’s shipping costs depend on the product being sold and the country it’s being sold in.
Printful also charges a lower shipping price for additional items in an order.
For example if a customer in the USA ordered three T-shirts, you would pay $3.99 shipping for the first T-shirt and $1.25 each for the next two T-shirts.
If a customer only orders one T-shirt then you’ll pay $3.99 for shipping.
Remember when earlier in this guide we mentioned free shipping? If you want to add free shipping to your Printful products, you can do it in three steps things:
- Add a new product or edit an existing one
- On the Description section, scroll down and tick the box labelled “Display my product with free shipping”.
- Click “Proceed to pricing” and add the shipping cost to your Retail Price
I’ve already priced my products at $29.99 so I have a lot of room for shipping costs.
The price you set for your products will depend on a price you feel comfortable selling at whilst still making a profit. The price above is just an example.
Add a Custom Domain to Your Shopify Store
Every Shopify store comes with a default, free “myshopify.com” domain (for example “mycoolstore.myshopify.com”).
Whilst the myshopify.com domain is free, it doesn’t look professional since it’s unbranded.
What you want is a custom domain, featuring your brand name, for example “mycoolstore.com”. This will make your store look like a serious business, instead of looking like some random store that was setup overnight.
In this section we’ll go through adding a custom domain name to your Shopify store.
On your Shopify dashboard, you can click “Add Domain” or go to Online Store > Domains on the admin menu
If you see it on your Shopify dashboard, click the Add Domain button.
If you don’t see the Add Domain button on your Shopify dashboard, on the left side menu, go to Online Store > Domains.
On Shopify’s Domains page, click on “Buy new domain”.
Next you need to type in your brand name and see if there is a domain available for it. You want to have a .com domain for your store since it’s the most common domain extension.
If your domain name isn’t available, try adding the words “shop”, “store” or “online” (as covered in our Shopify setup guide).
You can also add words like “my”, “the” or “world” to your domain name.
For example if “startupshirts.com” isn’t available you can search for:
Once you find a domain name that’s available click Buy.
Next, you may be asked to add a credit card, if so just add your card details.
Once you have chosen a domain name and added a payment method, you’ll taken to a summary screen.
On this page you can choose to auto-renew your domain every year, or you can untick the box and renew it manually.
When you buy a domain on Shopify, WHOIS privacy is already included for some of these domains.
This means that you’re personal information (name etc.) will not be shown on public domain records if your domain name is ever searched.
WHOIS is a public domain directory that displays information about a domain, including the registered owner, among other details.
If WHOIS privacy is not included, you can also always contact Shopify and request it.
Once you have reviewed your domain details, click Buy domain at the bottom of the screen.
You may get a confirmation email after purchase, so be sure to login to your email and click on the confirmation link if the email is there.
Change your primary domain on Shopify
After adding a custom domain to your Shopify store, the next step is setting it as your primary domain.
To change your primary domain on Shopify, go to Online Store > Domains and click “Change primary domain”.
On the popup screen, select your custom domain and click Save.
That’s it, you’ve successfully changed your primary domain on Shopify.
Create Custom Mockups and Templates
Printful has their own selection of mockups you can use for your online store.
However if you really want to stand out, you can create your own custom mockups online.
You can create custom T-shirt mockups on a site called Placeit.
They have thousands of different mockups and designs for all kinds of Print-on-Demand products, from T-shirts and activewear, to phone cases and tote bags.
To get started, go to Placeit, then go to “Mockups” and select the mockup type you want.
You can also just click on Mockups and search for the type of mockup you want.
Placeit gives you a wide range of options when it comes to mockup styles. When it comes to T-shirts you can choose mockups based on:
- Tags (4th of July, Gaming, Valentines Day etc.)
Once you choose a mockup style, you’ll be taken to a customization screen.
Here you can upload your designs or logos, change the background color and change the shirt color.
You can also add some text to your chosen mockup style too.
Below is a before and after example of a the t-shirt mockup I created on Placeit.
For my mockup I set a transparent background and uploaded my design onto the T-shirt.
Once you are finished designing your mockup, click the Download button, so you can add it to your store.
You can pay for your custom mockup in three ways:
- Pay Individually — Pay for your mockup individually (in this case $7.95)
- Pay Monthly — Unlimited Access to all mockups for $14.45 per month
- Pay Annually — Unlimited Access to all mockups for $99.95 per month
The price plan you choose depends on how many designs or mockups you want to source from Placeit.
If you plan to buy more than two mockups or designs, the monthly plan at $14.95 per month is cheaper instead of paying $7.95 for each one.
This is especially true if you plan to add new products to your store or use Placeit’s other services including:
- Logo design
- Facebook post templates
- Instagram story templates
- Podcast covers
- Business cards
- Video template designs
- Facebook Ad templates
- Gaming logos and designs
The monthly plan is a good choice if you plan to regularly use their design assets.
Add your custom mockup style to your Shopify store
Once you have downloaded your custom mockup, the next step is to add it your product page.
To do this, go to Products on your Shopify dashboard menu.
Next click on the product you want to edit. On the product page scroll down to Images and click on the Add media button.
Upload your custom mockup and drag it to the front, this will make it the main product image.
Shopify will automatically save your changes. Now it’s time to preview the product in your Shopify store.
To preview your Shopify store, go to your admin menu on the left and click on the eye icon next to Online Store.
On your Shopify store preview, click on Catalog to see all of your products.
On the Catalog page, click on your product to view it’s product page.
Now you’ll see your product with your custom mockup style on your Shopify store.
Now it’s time to customize your Shopify store and make it look attractive.
Customize Your Shopify Store
When customers visit your store, you want them to feel like they’re buying from a trusted brand.
User experience plays a big part in getting websites visitors to convert to paying customers.
When customizing your Shopify store, you are better off going for a clean and simple design with minimal clutter.
Cluttered websites are distracting and going for a simpler design can improve conversions.
Shopify has a theme store where you can browse through both free and paid themes.
If you want to choose a free theme, I recommend the theme Minimal by Shopify. In my opinion this theme has the cleanest design and is perfect for clothing stores.
My second choice for a free Shopify theme would be Debut. This theme is also great for clothing stores, but it’s more text heavy than Minimal.
For most people looking for a free Shopify theme however, stick with Minimal. It’s clean, simple and fashionable.
To customize your Shopify store, follow the steps below.
On your Shopify dashboard, go to Online Store > Themes. Next, scroll down and click Explore Free Themes.
Find the theme named Minimal, choose the “Fashion” style and then click Add to theme library.
Once you are done, click on Actions then click Publish. Shopify will ask you to confirm this action so click on the blue Publish button to confirm.
Once your theme is installed, scroll up and click Customize.
Each Shopify theme is divided into “Sections”, making theme customization simple.
I’ve outlined the main sections you need to edit below.
Make the following customizations to your Shopify theme:
- Add your logo to the Header section
- Add your own images to the Slideshow section.
- Edit the Images with text sections. Add your own images and text.
- Since you are using the Print-on-Demand business model, delete the Our Store section.
- If you don’t have a Newsletter, click on the Footer section and delete the Newsletter sign up module.
If you need product images, banners and marketing images use Placeit to create interesting photos with your Print-on-Demand product.
Finish customizing your Shopify and you’re ready to start selling.
If you need help you can find a detailed Shopify customization guide here.
You can also hire us to build your Shopify store for you.
When you’re ready to launch your store, click the Disable password, so customers can view your store.
Printful and Shopify: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
If you have any questions of your own, leave them to the comments section.
How do I delete a Printful product from my Shopify store?
On the next page click “View store” next to your Shopify store.
Next, scroll down and find the product you want to delete. Click the button with the three dots next to edit and select Delete.
Next a confirmation pop-up will appear. Tick the confirmation box and click the Delete button.
Next, just reload the page and your product has been removed from Pritnful and your Shopify store.
Does Printful automatically fulfil orders on Shopify?
Printful has two settings for fulfilling orders, to see them go to Settings and select Orders.
Next scroll down to Order import settings where you’ll see Printfuls order fulfilment settings:
- Manually confirm imported orders
- Automatically confirm orders to be fulfilled (default setting)
Be default, Printful will automatically fulfil all orders placed on your Shopify store.
Does Printful do dropshipping?
Since Printful has warehouses in the US, Canada, Mexico, Latvia and Spain you can provide faster dropshipping times to your customers.
Products you can dropship using Printful include:
- Men’s clothing
- Women’s clothing
- Kids clothing
- iPhone cases
- Samsung cases
- Face masks
- Flip flops
- Bags, backpacks and laptop cases
- Art, canvas prints and framed posters
- Stickers, posters and post cards
- Pillows, blankets and bean bags
- Coffee mugs and more
What percentage does Printful take?
You make your profit by charging a retail price that is higher than Printful’s base price.
- Printful Price — The price Printful charges for the product.
- Retail Price — The price you charge for the product
- Profit — The different between Printful’s Price and the Retail Price
Does Printful have a monthly fee?
Printful itself is actually free to use, all the costs are covered whenever a customer places an order.
That’s how you start selling with Printful and Shopify. If you found this guide helpful, feel free to share it with anyone who would find it beneficial.
If you have any questions regarding, Printful and Shopify, leave it in the comments sections.
If you want to receive more business guides and tutorials, subscribe to the HomeGrown Income Newsletter below.