Creating blank QGIS shapefile templates?

You can create a folder to hold your templates. Create the Shapefiles, style them, set the labels.

The, for each of them, save the style/label as a QML file. Right click the layer, go to properties, then style, then hit the style button then save style / QGIS Layer Style File and use the same name as your Shapefile (so mylayer.shp -> mylayer.qml).

When you start a new project, copy the template folder to a new one (like project1). Add the Shapefiles from this new project1 folder, either by drag and drop or by the menu Layer / Add layer / Add vector layer. They will be automatically styled and labeled.

You can look at the qml file using a text editor. It is not linked to any particular layer, and the file name being the same as the shapefile name is the key.

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