Dads can do it all—love us, empower us, embarrass us, and make us laugh. For all they do, Father’s Day is a good time to show our dads some love.
To stir up your imagination about what to gift this special person in your life, we’ve prepared some cool dad shirt ideas as design inspo. It’s clear that every dad is unique with their own quirky interests, but we’ve managed to hone in on 13 “types of dads.” Take a gander and we’re sure you’ll find yours!
If you’re new to designing custom t-shirts, our design team has created downloadable designs to get you started, so keep scrolling.
Being a dad to a newborn is no joke. New dad life is full of joyous moments—as well as daunting ones.
Help the first-time dad in your life feel like a superstar, because they are!
Design a t-shirt with a fun slogan like “Dad of the year,” or “Promoted // new dad,” or you can choose an image that reflects their newfound fatherhood. Maybe a cute graphic design of a dad holding a baby or a creative design featuring the baby’s name or birth date.
Not only will a custom t-shirt be a one-of-a-kind and thoughtful gift for any new dad, it’ll also be practical. As any parent can attest, you can never have too many comfortable and stylish t-shirts for the busy days ahead.
The hip dad is the cool dad. They’re trendsetters with their own original look and an enviable sense of style. They’re probably someone everyone in high school wanted to be friends with. These dads need shirts that reflect their lifestyle, hobbies, or anything else that makes them the cool cat they are.
Create something that goes together with dad’s personality. Include their favorite things—whatever that might be: video games, skateboarding, motorbikes, a monkey with sunglasses, you name it.
Tip: When you’re thinking of cool dad shirt ideas, think about using t-shirt design trends.
If your father is into a good tune, they’ll love a personalized shirt with a nod to their favorite music.
You can create a design of their beloved genre or instrument, or spice up a classic dad shirt with illustrations of musical notes and symbols. You could even include lyrics from a song they’ve written.
But be careful with using other artists’ lyrics, pictures, or album covers as they might be protected under copyright. Fanart is allowed, however.
A quirky dad is someone who stands out from the crowd. Whether it’s their style, sense of humor, or taste in cars, this dad always makes everyone wonder: “Woah! Is that really your father?”
Think about what your dad loves: if they’re an artist, add original art to a t-shirt; if they’re a gearhead, make use of those car references; if they’re covered in tattoos, translate some of their favorite motifs into shirt designs.
Whether it’s camping in a nearby forest or an 18-hour flight to some exotic destination, this dad is always ready for adventures. If they could, they’d probably change up their location every month. Coming up with ideas for travel-themed dad shirts is easy: look up their most cherished destinations or upcoming travel plans, incorporate them into your shirt design, and boom—your perfect father’s day gift is done.
Think maps, itineraries, vacation pics, mountain or forest graphics, monument clipart, or inside jokes from trips. And while you’re at it, why not add to the look with a matching custom dad hat?
Our design team has added a lot of travel and nature designs to our collection, so check it out if it has what you’re looking for.
Is the dad you’re thinking of an absolute sweetheart? Do they choke up remembering their kids’ tiny hands and feet? Do they love to reminisce about all the fun times you’ve had together? This dad probably went to all of your sports games and recitals growing up and hung all your accomplishments on the fridge. They might even be storing your report cards in a special box for your own kids to see someday! This kind of dad wants everybody to know you’re the best kid.
Melt your dad’s heart by turning baby prints and childhood drawings into adorable designs. Nostalgic pics from past get-togethers would be another super sweet and personal option to put on a shirt.
Does your dad love going out? Then your people-person dad would definitely enjoy a fun shirt that’ll go hand in hand with that carefree, social lifestyle.
Design a shirt that’ll be a conversation piece at your next family gathering. The “party animal” theme is a classic: find out your dad’s favorite animal and use your Photoshop skills to create a fun new creature. If you don’t have Photoshop skills, you can also use online resources like Canva’s t-shirt templates, or Printful’s free Design Maker resources. Think about their go-to party tricks and inside jokes. Anything fun will work as your dad will be working the party anyway!
Whenever you think of dad, do you hear their laughter or picture them doing something hilarious? Perhaps you’d describe your dad as the master of sarcasm or someone who’d be happy to receive a fart fan as a gift?
If your dad has always known how to bring a smile to your face, they will wear funny dad t-shirts with pride.These dads will surely adore witty t-shirts with funny graphics, photos, illustrations, or dad jokes.
If you have this kind of dad, you probably never had a plumber at your childhood home. Nothing is impossible, and they learn as they go. So, get the handyman dad the tool they’ve been missing: a cool dad shirt that reminds them of how much you care.
Create a shirt design that includes a classic handyman one-liner, or create a themed collage or illustration to say thank you for all the hard work they do.
Here are some one-liner ideas to get you brainstorming:
A minimalist design featuring a hammer or saw and the words “Dad, the original fixer-upper.”
A clever design with a pun, like “Dad, the sawdust whisperer.”
A design featuring a toolbox and the words “Dad’s toolbox: open for business.”
We don’t give enough credit to the single dads out there. Single dads often don’t have time for themselves, so reminding them of how great and strong they are is important.
Design a dad shirt worthy of a superhero. Add a powerful message or words expressing gratitude to make them feel special on Father’s Day and every time they wear your custom shirt. Show your dad how proud you are.
Another idea is to create a design that showcases their interests and hobbies, whether it’s a sports team they support or a favorite movie or TV show. A design featuring their favorite hobby, animal, or symbol can also be a great way to make the shirt especially tailored to them.
The sporty dad loves working out and staying in shape, knows an absurd amount of trivia about every sport, and keeps track of all the games happening during the week.
Designing a custom dad shirt is easy since you already know their biggest passion. Create a motivational tee they’d wear working out or customize a fantastic embroidered polo to rock at the next game.
This is the type of dad who never wants anything as a gift, just for the family to be together when you’re celebrating Father’s Day. You could say that this person has everything—they’ll love whatever you get them.
Channel your inner designer and get creative. Mix and match clipart designs, throw in some fun patterns, and don’t be afraid to experiment with color. The goal here is to create a shirt that your dad will love to wear and show off to friends.
Keep in mind that simple and classic can be just as lovable as something more elaborate. Sometimes a subtle nod to your dad’s interests is all it takes to make them feel special.
If you want to create your custom shirt in our Design Maker, we’ve prepared some useful tips. This free tool makes the design process intuitive so you can create beautiful, original designs with no design experience. Printful offers shirt printing and embroidery—and both techniques have their strengths. Embroidery is a classic technique that uses thread to stitch the design onto the shirt. It creates a textured, high-quality look, but for it to turn out flawless, it’s best if the design is minimalistic. It can also be more expensive than printing.
DTG (direct-to-garment) printing, on the other hand, involves applying the design onto a shirt using ink. This method is more versatile and cost-effective, making it a great choice for designs with lots of color or detail. However, the ink may fade and crack if not properly cared for.
You may want to create a design that covers the entire shirt, like a pattern or a large graphic. If that’s the case, check out our all-over print shirts. These products are printed on fabric with dye ink using heat and then cut and sewn into the shirt you ordered.
You can create text designs in seconds. Just click Add text in the Design tab and type in your message. Then:
The Design Maker has over 50 collections and more than 3000 individual designs you can use and customize for free. Whether you’re looking for minimalistic or bold design elements, or designs with specific themes for an occasion like Father’s Day, you’ll find what you need. You can combine these design elements, scale them, and change their color.
Take a look at what we created using Printful’s Design Maker.
You can find all the graphics in the clipart section, except for the pacifier which was sourced from Subpng—a free transparent PNG image website. We changed the color of the pacifier’s background clipart and added finishing touches with a funky text.
This took just a few minutes. Check it out and see if you can come up with something cooler!
The Design Maker’s Premium Images section stores more than 80M photos and illustrations in countless searchable categories. These aren’t editable, but make your t-shirt stand out with your dad’s aesthetic and special interests.
If you don’t have time to combine text and clipart, try our Quick Designs. These are pre-made compositions of text and clipart. Think of your dad type and search through our Quick Designs using specific keywords.
Embroidery is a great way to infuse your dad’s shirt with that extra-special something. When you browse the product catalog, you can select embroidery and display all t-shirts that support this customization type.
Custom embroidered shirts look stunning with minimalistic designs. When you add your design, you can see how it’ll look with the embroidery in the Design Maker’s preview.
Add secret messages using custom labels. Just as you can search for embroidery shirts, look for the inside labels checkbox. This is a fun little way to surprise dads when they least expect it. You can customize the inside label just like you’d customize your shirt. Click on the Inside label tab at the top of the Design Maker and play around with text and design elements.
If you want to know more about our Design Maker check out our article 10 Things You Didn’t Know Printful’s Design Maker Could Do, or just start exploring its features. The best way to learn is to try it out.
We hope these dad shirt ideas inspired you. No matter what you get dad this year, just make sure it comes from the heart and serves as a thank you for all their help and support.
Father’s Day in the US is the third Sunday of June, so order the gift early in the month so that it arrives on time. For more info about gifts you can order, check out our Father’s Day gift page.
Our design team created some fun designs for you to help you get started for Father’s Day. Feel free to download them or head to our Design Maker and create your own dad shirt design.
This article was originally published in June 2016; it has since been updated.
Sintija is an SEO content specialist at Printful. Along with her team, she helps to create the best possible landing pages and SEO-friendly content.