A Complete Guide to the Different Types of T-Shirt Printing Methods

T-Shirt Printing Methods

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Creating your own T-shirts is often a fun and rewarding experience. You can also use this method to start your own clothing brand, something that has become fairly popular with the explosive growth of the eCommerce industry in recent years.

No matter what you need your shirts for, though, you’ll need to understand common T-shirt printing methods. This will help you make the decision that’s best for your situation.

Let’s dive in.

Screen Printing

This is one of the most frequently used methods that people create T-shirts with. For those who are unfamiliar, you will need nylon mesh and a stencil in order to do so.

The stencil is held in place by the mesh and will allow you to appropriately place your design. The negative space of the design is where the ink will occupy the fabric.

Afterward, the ink is administered to the screen, allowing it to be placed on the shirt in the appropriate spaces.

The main benefit of screen printing is the fact that you can achieve high-quality, consistent results. In fact, there’s a good chance that the design on a favorite T-shirt you own was screen printed.

This method is also great for mass production, making it a viable option for people who need to create a large number of shirts within a short period of time.

Many people believe that screen printing is only capable of producing designs with a handful of colors. The truth is that with screen printing you can achieve multicolor and complex design, but you need to have a lot of experience with artwork separations, halftones, and a lot of technical knowledge.

Dry Sublimation

In order to use dry sublimation, you’ll need to use a special type of dye. This is a liquid that quickly dries when it comes in contact with the fabric.

In order to permanently place the design onto the shirt, you need to then apply heat and pressure.

As heat is applied to liquid, it begins to turn into gas while the fabric simultaneously begins to expand. The gas then makes its way into the newly formed gaps within the fabric.

When the heat is no longer present, the fabric contracts and traps the gas molecules within the shirt.

Due to the direct application of heat, this process is not suitable for cotton T-shirts. It’s best when working with polyester.

Direct-to-Garment Printing (DTG)

Provided that you have the budget to purchase a DTG printer, this is one of the premier options for creating a large number of high-quality T-shirts at once. As the name suggests, this type of printer allows you to print ink directly onto the fabric.

You also have virtually limitless capabilities when it comes to the designs you can create. This is due to the fact that you can work with design applications like Photoshop in order to create the perfect image for your T-shirt.

Then, you can print the design onto your shirt with the DTG printer after uploading the image from your computer.

For this reason, DTG printing is best for people who want to incorporate highly complex designs. It’s worth noting that you will need to use a high-quality printer in order to achieve the results that you want.

Otherwise, you may experience issues with the overall resolution of the printed image. It’s also recommended that you always wash DTG shirts with cold water and allow them to hang dry.

Washing them with warmer water or putting them in the dryer will cause the image to fade at a much faster rate.

Heat Press Printing

Not everyone needs to create T-shirts in bulk. This is true for both those who order them as well as the brands that make them for their customers.

Heat press printing is ideal in this situation, as it is highly economical in terms of resource usage.

The process is also relatively straightforward. To get started, you need to print your design on specialized paper known as transfer paper.

You’ll need to manually line up your design on the fabric before moving forward. Afterward, you can use a heat press to apply heat and pressure to the shirt.

This is very similar to the dry sublimation process.

The main difference, though, is that your main goal is to heat up and soften the dye on the transfer paper until it permeates into the cloth of the shirt.

Due to the way in which the ink is administered, heat-pressed T-shirts are highly durable and won’t fade as quickly as other methods.

How Do I Know Which Is Best For Me?

The method ideal for your situation will depend on your needs. A brand that owns a large clothing brand will likely utilize screen printing for large orders.

In contrast, they might use DTG for samples before utilizing screen printing. DTG is ideal for smaller runs with more colors, samples, birthday shirts, vacations shirts, and for brands that prefer the look of DTG printing.

Someone who needs an extremely high-quality, simple design placed onto a shirt could take advantage of screenprinting.

Regardless of your needs, outsourcing to a professional is sure to get you the results that you desire. They have multiple methods at their disposal and will be able to help you decide which one is best for your intended outcome.

Choosing the Right T-Shirt Printing Methods Is Essential

The above guide will help ensure that you know everything you need to about choosing the best T-shirt printing methods for you. From here, you’ll be able to easily achieve the results you desire.

Want to learn more about what we have to offer? Feel free to get in touch with us today and see how we can help.

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