Embroidery vs. Screen Printing: Which Is Best for You?

embroidery vs screen printing

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Did you know that modern humans have been wearing clothes for an estimated 100,000 years? Of course, those clothes were more functional than fashionable. Today we have the means to adorn our clothing in a variety of ways, including embroidery and screen printing. But what exactly are these methods of clothing design? And when would you choose one over the other? We’re going to tell you all of that and more in this showdown between embroidery vs screen printing.

What Is Embroidery?

Embroidery is ancient. Various cultures around the globe and throughout history have used embroidery to decorate goods for the home, clothing, and artwork for centuries.

Embroidery involves the use of a needle and thread to apply a design onto fabric. Using various stitching techniques, almost any design can be worked into a fabric.

What Is Screen Printing?

Screen printing is a far more modern method for applying designs to fabric. Also called silk screening or silk screen printing, it can be used to adorn many surfaces and textures.

Screen printing involves a stencil on a fine mesh screen, ink, and a squeegee. The ink is pushed through the stencil to imprint the design on the fabric.

Embroidery vs Screen Printing: Advantages and Disadvantages

Both embroidery and screen printing are great options if you’re looking for a company shirt design for uniforms, events, or conferences. They’re also good choices if you’re considering starting your own clothing brand. 

But how do you know when to choose embroidery vs screen printing? We’ll help you make that decision with an in-depth comparison of cost, quality, and materials.


Embroidering shirts tend to be more expensive than screen printing. That cost will vary depending on the detail of the design and the number of colors.

The cost of screen printing also depends on the number of colors in the design because a new screen is required for every color. In general, though, screen printing is less expensive than embroidery. 


With screen printing, you can achieve bright and vivid colors. That’s because the ink blends well with the fabric, even with dark colors. However, if a screen-printed garment isn’t properly cared for, it can wear quickly.

Embroidery lasts a lot longer than screen printing because it’s worked into the fabric. It can also give the design more depth and dimension.


Embroidery is better for applying designs to heavy or thick garments because the thread has something tactile to be worked into. That makes it great for tote bags, hats, handkerchiefs, and thicker sweaters or jackets.

Screen printing can be used on thin and stretchy fabrics like t-shirts or hoodies. But it can also be used to print designs on wood, plastic, metal, and glass.

Looking for Custom Shirt Design?

In the battle between embroidery vs screen printing, the winner depends on your own needs. While embroidery is more expensive, it lasts longer and it’s better suited to thick fabrics. Screen printing is more affordable and it works great for t-shirts, hoodies, and all kinds of other materials.

Now that you know what method you want to use, get started designing your custom t-shirt here.

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