Free Photoshop alternatives to help you design T-shirts

Photoshop is an amazing tool. But if you’re just starting out on your tee-making journey, or, if you’re in a situation where paying for Creative Cloud is not an option for you at the moment, there are plenty of free design and editing options out there. We believe that creativity should be for everyone, without barriers – so read on to find out about the free tools that’ll have you designing tees, making illustrations and editing photos in no time. 

GNU Image Manipulation Program aka GIMP 

GIMP is one of the original photo editing programs, created in 1995 for the GNU operating system – an extensive collection of free software that served as a predecessor to Linux. It is available for both Windows and MAC and, while it cannot rival Adobe’s more cutting edge technologies, it has a wide array of layer support, brushes and selection tools, color and exposure correction, and much more. It is not the most entry-level of tools out there, but – much like for Photoshop – there are many tutorials available online. 

Pixlr X

With an interface that carries many similar functionalities to Photoshop, Pixlr X is a great free tool offering a host of features and overlays, special effects, and borders you can use to create your designs. As a bonus, you can use it on any iOS or Android device as well as MAC or PC and, since the app runs in a browser window, you don’t need any additional space on your device – with the only drawback being that you need to be connected to the internet to use it. 


Krita is a free and open-source paint program and photo editor for digital designers and illustrators. It is available for Mac and PC and features an optional donation – but all functionalities are available for free. This tool is great for users already familiar with Photoshop as it works with many of the same features, such as layers, HDR, brushes and effects. It even supports the Photoshop PSD file format.

Originally created as a more sophisticated replacement for the mighty but simple Microsoft Paint, is a great place to start for those who are not yet pros at digital design. While somewhat limited compared to more high-end programs, it’s easy to use with a straightforward set of tools including selection options, brushes, and unlimited Undo. Unfortunately, like its predecessor, it’s only available for Windows. 


Photopea is perhaps the closest you can get to Photoshop without, well, paying for Photoshop. With a Photoshop-inspired interface and functions, and the ability to work on RAW and PSD files (including exporting files in PSD), Photopea is great for anyone who already has a working knowledge of Creative Cloud, or anyone collaborating with someone that works on Photoshop. Upgrading for a small fee lets you have access to more file storage and an ad-free workspace – but as far as tools go, the free version has everything you could need. 


One for designers and illustrators – Inkscape is perhaps the least Photoshop-like of the free tools out there, focusing on graphics instead of photos and offering tools for pattern design, shape creation, calligraphy and typography tools, vector illustration and more. While it might be a tad intimidating for complete beginners, it does not take long to wrap your head around it – and of course, it is 100% free and open source.