Make a Retro Summer Shirt with These Retro Sublimation Designs

Quick and fun, this retro summer shirt is one of my favorites and you can make a whole coordinating set with these retro sublimation designs!

summer surfing sublimation design for tshirt making
You are not going to believe how rad this easy retro summer shirt is to make with the retro sublimation designs.

Retro Summer Shirt

Here at Ruffles and Rain Boots, we have decided that sublimation is the most fun way to decorate a custom shirt. I mean, sure Infusible Inks are fun, heat transfer vinyl can really be a cool activity, but sublimation? It’s just the tops. Fast, cool and easy. And this retro summer shirt showcases that by being a 10-minute or less craft!


The design is done-for-you and basically no-fail, as long as you follow the steps. So, grab your heat press and let’s get started.

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volkswagon bug summer sublimation file for tshirts
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photo collage of retro shirt sublimation with text which reads make this no-fail 10-minute retro summer sublimation shirt

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Tips to Make a Shirt with These Retro Sublimation Designs

  • I am a big fan of the retro summer beetle design here that I used to make my shirt. It’s simple, clean and absolutely stinking adorable. But there are four retro summer sublimation designs that I made, with variations for each that you can find at each of the following links:
  • If your craft room doesn’t include a sublimation printer yet, you can absolutely make this sublimation shirt by snagging a custom-printed sublimation design here. I tried them out before getting my sublimation printer and I was really impressed with the quality.
  • Definitely use a sublimation-ready, quality t-shirt like the one here. In order to get the ink to bond properly with the material, the blank has to be mostly polyester. With cotton-based materials, the ink doesn’t bond well and, even if it looks like it bonded when you finish, your design will most likely wash out.
retro summer shirt sublimation

How Do I Make This Retro Summer Shirt ?

I’m so glad you asked. Below is our written tutorial.

Yield: 1 Retro Summer Shirt

Retro Summer Shirt

retro summer shirt sublimation

You are not going to believe how fast it is to make this retro summer shirt with one of these fun retro summer sublimation designs. So many cute options!

Active Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $10



  1. Download your selected design and open using your default photo viewer. Make sure the design is mirrored by flipping the view horizontally. To do this, in the toolbar, I selected Edit, then Transform, then Flip Horizontal. This will mirror the image.
  2. Send the mirrored retro summer design to your sublimation printer. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the EasyPress to 400 degrees and roll both front and back of the shirt with your lint roller.
  4. Place a sheet of butcher paper inside the shirt, separating the front and back in the area where you plan to put the retro summer design. Spread the shirt out on your heat press mat, smoothing it out and removing any wrinkles in the fabric. 
  5. Place one of your print of the retro summer design face-down on the shirt where desired. I chose to place mine about 3-4 inches below the neck of the crew neck and squarely between the two sleeve hems.
  6. Using the heat-safe tape, tape down all four sides of the paper, and cover completely with a sheet of butcher paper.
  7. Place the hot EasyPress on the t-shirt, using light pressure for 60 seconds. Set aside the EasyPress and allow the stack to cool to the touch. Remove the paper and tape then discard. Your shirt is ready to wash and wear! photo collage tutorial of how to make a retro summer sublimation shirt


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retro summer sublimation file on a shirt with text which reads make this retro summer sublimation shirt

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