What is a Mock Up?

share on social:

What Is A Mock Up?

I hate clutter which is exactly why I absolutely love mock ups.  When I was selling physical products it would drive me crazy that I had to make a physical option of each item to be able to showoff what I offered.  It wasn’t possible (or so I thought) to display the large amount of color choices and shirt choices that my customers had… and not to mention what if I made it and no-one bought it… what next?  I felt stuck and over time it really added up to lots of clutter in my already small craft corner.  Then one day as I was brainstorming (and googling) I discovered the beauty of a mock up image.   Let me explain…

What is a mock up?



I have since stopped selling physical items but I use mock ups all the time with my digital SVG designs.   In it’s simplest form a mock up is a photograph of a blank physical product with a digital image placed on top.  Mock ups give the illusion that the shirt (or cup or bag, etc.) is already made, but you don’t have to actually use any of your supplies until the customer places an order.  It is a way to show off the final product without having to physically make it.

When to use Mock Ups

Utilizing mock ups can be very beneficial in your business for a couple reasons.   When you are first starting out they are wonderful.  Usually you don’t have the extra cash flow to pour into blanks, inventory, and stock every color of the rainbow in vinyl.  Mock up images give you flexibility.  Use these digital images to display what you want to sell in a variety of colors and formats.  From there you will start to see trends and patterns.  This will help you to discover what you should keep on hand in your stash and what to only order as a customer requests. 

 Digital mock up images are also perfect if you don’t have tons of space to store blanks.  Not sure what a blank is?  Learn more about them here. 

I find that when my space starts to feel cluttered and crowded my creativity tends to take a nose dive.  While I don’t think I’ll ever reach a fully decluttered craft room, not having to store inventory is a huge plus for my anxiety.  It helps me to keep the things on hand that I know I’m going to use and not stress about things that might not ever sell.  Now if only I could get my digital clutter under control. But, that’s for a whole different post at a whole different time lol.  

Overall when asked what is a mock up… my answer is that they are huge cost, time, and space savers.  I highly recommend them and encourage you to try them out!  We even have some free mock up images on the bottom of this post for you to play with.

Word of Caution:

There are a couple things I want to caution you on though before you go all in on mock ups.  While they can be amazing for your business (and your sanity) there are some things to keep in mind.

First off, make sure you use the exact style of shirt on the mock up, that you are using on the finished product.  Nothing will make a customer grumpy faster than seeing one image and then getting a different item. 

Next, make sure that the colors you use on your mock up image can be replicated on your final item.  I love filters like the rest of the world (because hello wrinkles and mom life) but we don’t want to deceive our customers.  The color shown should always be the color they will be getting on their purchase.

My last tip is a big one and not as easy as the others but totally worth it.  Once you have sold 1 of that particular item, make sure to replace the mock up image with a picture of your true work. 

Now, when I say a picture of your true work let me explain what I DON’T mean.  I don’t mean to throw it on the bed or carpet at 1am (when you finally finished the order) to snap a photo, bad lighting and all.  I mean to plan in advance and stage a nice photo, with high quality lighting, on a clean attractive background.  While natural sunlight works best, you could even use a light box if needed.  Check out more of my photography tips here.  Having these real product images in your portfolio will help to increase buyer’s trust in you and what you have to offer.  Plus it gives you great content to share on your social media channels and website to gain more orders in the future.


As with life there are exceptions to every rule.  While I mentioned a few guidelines to follow above, the one huge exception to these is if you are displaying digital items that people can download.  So for example, I can show off an SVG file that I have designed for a shirt in red, black, and green.  Let’s say though, my customer wants to create something with that file for a hat in purple, blue, and white. 

That’s the beauty of a digital file… they can use the digital file to cut whatever color they want for any blank they want.  No need to make a mock up in every single color on every blank imaginable.  Plus, there is no finished product to snap a photo of either.  Although, it is always great to see customer photos of the designs in action.  I love seeing how y’all bring the designs to life.

Example Mock Up

Here is an example of a mock up displaying one of our Club Chaos digital SVG designs.  No need to worry about what it is displayed on or the color.  Club members can take the design and place it anywhere with any color they want!  One cool thing about our club is that the majority of our exclusive designs come with a pre-made mock up image for you to use when promoting your product.   Learn more about our Club here.


Reminder: If it is a digital item that is in PNG format only for print you will want to make sure and follow the color rule. (learn more about the difference between PNG and SVG files here)  

Where to Find Free and Cheap Mock Ups

There are tons of great spots to find free mock ups and high quality inexpensive mock ups.  We actually complied a full list for you of all our favorite spots over on this post here.
Plus, our blog is full of free SVG files to get you going as you are learning how to use the mock up photos.  Browse our selection of free designs here.  

Free Mock Ups

As a bonus to help get you started on your mock up journey we have 4 free mock ups for you to download and start putting designs on.  Stumped on how to put the digital designs on the image to display your mock up?  Learn the step by step  process in your design software on this post here.    

Free Mock Up Images



Download 4 Blank Free Mock Ups Here


Please Note:  You are more than welcome to use these mock up images to promote your own items.  I do request that you do not re-sell these images and instead of sharing the image, please direct them here to this post to download for themselves.  Thank You!

I can’t wait to see what your designs look like on your mock ups and we always appreciate if you pin the images in the post to help spread the crafting love!

Happy cutting, crafting, and chaos!


  1. Felisa on November 2, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Thanks for sharing your free mock ups

    • MyDesigns on November 2, 2018 at 8:03 am

      You are very welcome! 🙂

  2. veronica buchanan on December 7, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Thank you!

    • MyDesigns on December 7, 2018 at 10:25 am

      You are welcome! 🙂

  3. topath on December 19, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    You must have read my mind and felt my frustration! For the life of me, I can’t find my mock ups on my computer. I have a feeling that I accidentally deleted the whole folder. ? I’ve been searching for days.

    Now, at least, I have something to start my files over again.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart … and thank you from my family who are probably getting tired of hearing me lament over this! ?

    • MyDesigns on December 19, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      So glad to help! 🙂 Have a wonderful holiday season!

  4. Sugerlypps on January 1, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    Thank you

    • MyDesigns on January 3, 2019 at 5:50 pm

      You are very welcome!

  5. 5 Free Heart SVG Files - My Designs In the Chaos on February 3, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    […] In this batch of free svg hearts there are endless amounts of pairs and possibilities of things you can create.  I have provided some mock up images for you to get the wheels turning but I know your creativity is going to shine with these!  (learn all about mock up images here on this post) […]

  6. […] of questions though on the mock up blank.  (curious about what a mock up is… check out this post)  Find all of our favorite blanks to use […]

  7. […] little bit of a different variety of finds.  You can search mock ups (check out what those are here), SVG designs, fonts, graphics and […]

  8. Free Arrow SVG Designs - My Designs In the Chaos on April 28, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    […] Here are a few mock ups to show off what you could do with the arrows.  Want to learn more about mock ups and get a few free ones?  Check out this post here. […]

  9. […] though I put this design on a shirt for the mock up I think it would be adorable on a coffee mug or even one of these coffee tumblers for the person in […]

  10. […] decide between making it red, white, and blue, like the old fashioned ice pops for the mock up or making it a softer summer color.  You can see which one below won that debate.  Use […]

  11. […] of what I mean when I say mock-up?…. Check out this post where we give you some free mock-ups to practice with and explain exactly what they are and how to […]

  12. […] went ahead and created some mock up images with these wreath frame svg files to get your ideas flowing on types of things that you can create […]

  13. […] mermaid vibes design pictured below on a mock up is one of the additional 6 vibes SVG files available in that bundle I mentioned […]

  14. […] look like on a shirt.  Want to know more about mocks ups?  Check out this post here. […]

  15. Kim Starbuck on February 20, 2021 at 2:33 am

    thank you so much for sharing these. just starting out so your free files and information is amazing xx

    • jespsantiago on February 20, 2021 at 10:57 am

      So glad you found us. There are tons of freebies on our blog! 🙂 – Team Chaos

  16. Krystal on February 26, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing and caring. Love your items.

    • jespsantiago on February 26, 2021 at 2:24 pm

      You’re welcome! – Team Chaos

Leave a Comment

Learn to develop, and grow your crafting skills!

My mission is to develop, encourage, and grow your crafting skills, and confidence through freebies, tutorials, our club, and our signature course.


Behind the Chaos...

My name is Michelle and I am the creative director behind the chaos. I'm so are glad you are here and hope you find inspiration and confidence to create something beautiful out of the chaos in your craft room and in life.

free ebook!

Bring your creativity to life quickly and easily.

This guidebook will give you a detailed look into the creative crafting cycle called the Craft Maker Process.