Unlock Retro T-Shirt Techniques in Canva for FREE

Detour Shirts
26 Apr 202416:59

TLDRIn this video, Juna from Detour Shirts demonstrates how to create a vintage-style T-shirt design for free using Canva and AI tools. The process involves typing out the full word in all caps to get the right size, then individually creating and arranging each letter with a rectangle shape to extend the letters. The rectangles are locked and adjusted to fit the letters precisely, then grouped and colored to create the illusion of one long piece. Juna also shows how to use Canva's AI generator to create a cartoon llama eating ramen image and edit it to remove the background. Additionally, she mentions using another free AI tool, Ideogram, for different styles. The final step is exporting the design as a PNG with a transparent background for print-on-demand purposes. Juna encourages viewers to experiment with different prompts and styles, providing a simple yet effective technique for T-shirt design.


  • ๐ŸŽจ Use Canva's free version to create vintage-style extended letter designs without needing to purchase additional software.
  • ๐Ÿ“ Start by setting a custom size for your design in Canva to match the dimensions you need for your project.
  • ๐Ÿ”  Begin by typing out the full word to establish the correct sizing and spacing before working on individual letters.
  • ๐Ÿ”‘ Choose a free font like Anton for your design, which is suitable for creating the vintage effect.
  • ๐Ÿ”„ Copy and paste individual letters, then use the option and shift keys to duplicate and align them properly.
  • ๐Ÿ“ Draw rectangles to extend the bottoms of certain letters, creating the vintage look by aligning them closely with the letterforms.
  • ๐Ÿ”’ Lock the rectangles in place after aligning them with the letters to prevent accidental movement.
  • ๐ŸŽญ Group the letters with their corresponding rectangles to move and manipulate them as a single unit.
  • ๐Ÿ– Color each letter and rectangle individually to create a cohesive look, using a variety of colors for a rainbow effect.
  • ๐Ÿ” Zoom in for precise alignment and adjust the spacing between the letters to ensure an even distribution.
  • ๐Ÿž๏ธ Incorporate free graphics or use Canva's AI generator to create custom images that match the style of your design.
  • โœ‚๏ธ Use a free tool like Photopea to remove the background from your design, preparing it for print on demand services.

Q & A

  • What is the name of the technique Juna uses to create the vintage style design in the video?

    -Juna refers to the technique as 'vintage, extended letters'.

  • Which design software does Juna use to create the design for free?

    -Juna uses Canva's free version to create the design for free.

  • What is the name of the free font that Juna uses in the video?

    -The free font used by Juna is called Anton.

  • Why does Juna recommend using all capital letters for the design?

    -Using all capital letters helps to create a straight bottom line, which is more suitable for extending the letters in the design.

  • How does Juna create the illusion of one long piece for the letters?


  • What is the purpose of locking the rectangles in Canva?

    -Locking the rectangles allows Juna to move and adjust the boxes without affecting the letters, ensuring precise alignment.

  • How does Juna ensure the white spaces between the letters are even?

    -After grouping the letters and boxes, Juna moves them together to adjust the spacing between the white spaces to be even.

  • What AI tool does Juna use to generate a cartoon llama eating ramen?

    -Juna uses Canva's AI generator to create the cartoon llama eating ramen.

  • What is the advantage of using Canva's AI generator over external AI tools?

    -Using Canva's AI generator allows for direct integration and manipulation within the Canva platform, potentially saving time on additional editing steps.

  • How does Juna remove the background from the AI-generated image?

    -Juna uses the 'Edit Photo' feature in Canva to remove the background and then applies the 'Magic Eraser' tool to clean up the edges.

  • What is the final step Juna takes to prepare the design for print on demand?

    -The final step is to export the design as a PNG with a transparent background, which is ready for print on demand services.

  • What advice does Juna give regarding the use of this design technique for other prompts?

    -Juna advises not to copy the exact llama design but to use the technique for different prompts and to try out different styles and elements.



๐ŸŽจ Introduction to Designing with Vintage Extended Letters

Juna from Detour Shirts introduces the video's purpose, which is to share a free method for creating a vintage, extended letter design similar to one she made for a llama prompt. She explains that instead of using paid tools like Affinity Designer and Chat GBT, she will demonstrate how to achieve a similar style using Canva's free version and free AI tools.


๐Ÿ“ Creating the Design in Canva

Juna walks through the process of creating the design on Canva, starting with setting up a custom size artboard. She types out the full word 'Yamin', a mashup of 'llama' and 'ramen', in all caps using the free font Anton. She emphasizes the importance of using all caps for a straight, extendable bottom. She then proceeds to delete the full word and recreate it letter by letter, highlighting the need for precise spacing and alignment.


๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ Adding Shapes and Grouping Elements

The video continues with Juna demonstrating how to draw rectangles around each letter, which will serve as the extended parts of the design. She advises locking the rectangles in place before fine-tuning their position to closely match the letters. After adjusting the rectangles, she groups the letters with their corresponding boxes to facilitate collective manipulation and coloring.


๐ŸŒˆ Coloring and Customizing the Design

Juna describes how to color the grouped letter and shape elements individually to create the illusion of a single, extended piece. She opts for a rainbow of colors, applying the same color to both the letter and its rectangle to maintain a cohesive look. She also discusses adjusting the spacing between the letters for an even appearance and suggests adding a graphic element, like a llama eating ramen, to complement the design.

๐Ÿ” Using AI Tools for Graphics and Final Touches

To incorporate a graphic element, Juna explores using Canva's AI generator to create a cartoon llama eating ramen in various styles. She also mentions another free AI tool, Ideogram, as an alternative for generating images. Once satisfied with the graphic, she discusses removing the background using Photopea to prepare the design for print on demand. Juna concludes by encouraging viewers to apply the technique to different prompts and to keep creating and learning.




Canva is an online design and graphics platform that allows users to create visual content such as logos, social media posts, posters, and more. In the video, Canva is used to demonstrate how to create a vintage-style t-shirt design for free using its free version. It is central to the video's theme of teaching a design technique without the need for expensive software.


Vintage, in the context of the video, refers to a design style that is inspired by or resembles trends from the past, often characterized by a nostalgic or retro aesthetic. The video focuses on creating a 'vintage' t-shirt design, which is a key concept for the artistic outcome the presenter is aiming to achieve.

๐Ÿ’กAI Tools

AI Tools, or Artificial Intelligence Tools, are software applications that utilize machine learning and AI algorithms to automate tasks or enhance their performance. In the script, AI tools are used to generate images and designs, such as creating a cartoon llama eating ramen, which is a significant part of the design process shown in the video.

๐Ÿ’กGraphic Design

Graphic Design is the process of visual communication and problem-solving using one or more of typography, photography, and illustration. The video is a tutorial on creating a specific graphic design for a t-shirt, which involves typography, shapes, and imagery to convey a retro and vintage style.

๐Ÿ’กAffinity Designer

Affinity Designer is a professional graphic design software known for vector graphics, and it is mentioned in the video as a tool the presenter has used previously but is costly. The video aims to show an alternative free method using Canva, which is significant as it addresses the audience's need for cost-effective solutions.

๐Ÿ’กRetro T-Shirt Techniques

Retro T-Shirt Techniques refer to the methods and styles used in designing t-shirts that have a throwback or classic appeal. The video provides a step-by-step guide on how to unlock these techniques using free tools, which is the main educational content being offered to the viewers.

๐Ÿ’กCustom Size

Custom Size in the context of the video refers to the ability to set a specific dimension for the design canvas in Canva, which is important for creating designs that fit the intended purpose, such as a t-shirt print. The presenter guides viewers on setting a custom size, which is a crucial step in the design process.


A font is the term used for a set of text characters in a specific size, weight, and style. In the video, the presenter chooses a free font called Anton to style the text in the design. The choice of font is essential as it contributes to the overall vintage aesthetic of the t-shirt design.

๐Ÿ’กColor Palette

A color palette is a range of colors selected to be used for a harmonious and aesthetically pleasing design. The video demonstrates the use of a rainbow color palette to color the individual letters of the design, which adds a vibrant and thematic touch to the final t-shirt design.

๐Ÿ’กPrint on Demand (POD)

Print on Demand (POD) is a service used by designers where products like t-shirts are only printed when a customer orders them, eliminating the need for inventory. The video concludes with instructions on how to prepare the design for POD, which is a practical aspect for viewers looking to sell their designs.

๐Ÿ’กDesign Elements

Design Elements in the video refer to the various components that make up the final design, such as text, shapes, and graphics. The presenter uses design elements like rectangles and AI-generated images to construct the vintage t-shirt design, emphasizing the importance of these elements in achieving the desired look.


Juna from Detour Shirts shares a free method to create vintage-style extended letter designs in Canva.

The video demonstrates how to achieve a design similar to one created with paid tools like Affinity Designer and Chat GBT, but entirely for free.

Canva's free version is used to create custom-sized artboards and text elements.

The technique involves creating all-caps text using the free font 'Anton' for a better visual effect.

Letters are individually manipulated for spacing and then grouped with colored rectangles to simulate extended letter effects.

Canva's AI generator is introduced as a free tool to create custom images, such as a cartoon llama eating ramen.

The AI-generated image can be edited within Canva to remove the background and seamlessly integrate with the text design.

Ideogram, another free AI tool, is mentioned for creating different styles of images that can be used in design.

Designs can be further customized by adding graphics and finding a harmonious blend between text and imagery.

The importance of grouping elements in Canva for ease of movement and color application is emphasized.

A step-by-step guide is provided for adjusting spacing between letters and aligning them properly.

The use of a color palette is suggested for a cohesive and visually appealing design.

An alternative method using Photopea to remove the white background from a Canva design for print on demand is shown.

The final design is a vintage extended letter technique that can be applied to various prompts and ideas.

Juna encourages viewers to experiment with different prompts and not to copy the exact llama design shown in the video.

The video concludes with an invitation to watch another video for additional techniques using Affinity Designer.

The presentation is capped off with an encouragement to keep creating and learning new design skills.