T-Shirt Printing: What Printing Method Worth Your Time And Money?

  • Feb 25, 2020

T-Shirt printing involves a great deal of creative and technical inputs. But if you want to create an impeccable print on a T-shirt, you first need to know the right printing method to apply an artwork on the tee. 

No matter how cool the artwork (logo, custom patches or imageries) looks on the screen, if you choose a wrong T-shirt printing method, it will spoil the artwork and the final print will fail to match the character of your design.

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The T-shirt printers rely on four major printing methods to create beautiful artworks on a T-shirt. Here they are:

 

Screen Printing

Screen printing is the oldest among the other printing methods. It uses a mesh screen to print a design on a T-shirt. It uses a plastisol ink to print an artwork through the stencil of the screen. The printer needs a squeegee and emulsion to force the ink to pass onto the T-shirt. Screen printing has its pros and cons. Some of them are:

 

Pros

It produces highly vibrant colors.

It generates durable prints.

It is the best printing method for large volume of prints.

 

Cons

The printing process is exhaustive.

It is a costly printing method since it needs separate screens to print different colors.

It is more expensive than other printing methods.

 

DTG - Direct To Garment Printing

DTG is a more popular T-shirt printing method for printers who thrive on small batch of T-shirt prints. It is known for printing intricate designs, logos and custom embroidered patches in full color. The mechanism of DTG printing works similar to paper printing. The only different is that you will be using a T-shirt as a substrate than a paper. The pros and cons of DTG printing are:

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Pros

It is the best printing solution for printing multiple colors and complex artworks.

It is a more economical printing method for printing limited batch of T-shirts.

You can operate a DTG printing facility from a small shop.

 

Cons

It doesn’t work for large bulk of prints

The print is not durable and may fade after several washes

It produces the best print results only on 100% cotton T-shirt and the prints on other fabrics may lack the quality.

 

Heat Press Printing

Heat Press Printing is another popular T-shirt printing method that is known for its high-quality of prints. It is among the most favorite T-shirt printing methods for its cheap setup cost and durable prints. Heat printing process makes use of heat to transfer a design on a T-shirt. 

The artwork is first printed onto a vinyl transfer paper and then it gets heat pressed to print on the T-shirt. Here are the pros and cons of heat press printing:

 

Pros

It can create complex designs in different effects, such as glossy, glitter and faded etc.

It can be set up without much hassles and doesn’t require frequent change of ink and active maintenance which saves time and cost.

It is a perfect printing method for small batch of T-shirts.

 

Cons

It is not suitable for printing heat-sensitive fabrics.

It is not the right printing method for large batch of T-shirts.

 

Dye Sublimation Printing

Dye sublimation is the other printing method that printers love for its durable prints. It is an endothermic process that prints the artwork by converting a solid ink into gas which gets absorbed into the fibers of the T-shirt. So the print is lifelong and durable.

Dye sublimation has a few pros and cons which are as follows:

 

Pros

It can create a print in full colors.

It produces the most durable prints than any other printing method.

It is much cheaper to set up and the operating cost is less than other printing methods.

 

Cons

It works best only on 100% polyester fabric.

It is a slow printing method for high volume of T-shirts.

It is not the best printing method for heat-sensitive fabrics.

 

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