What You Should Know about the Various Methods of T-Shirt Printing – and Which One to Choose

3 minutes read

If you are thinking of having personalised apparel such as t-shirts – whether it’s for your business or company, your sports team, your favourite hobby club, and so on – it pays to know about the different printing methods so that you can have an easier time choosing the method you want. Nowadays, there is a bevy of t-shirt printing methods available; you may be most familiar with screen printing, but there is also direct to garment printing, heat press printing, dye sublimation, and so many more. So which method is best for your needs? Here’s what you should know about the various methods of t-shirt printing – and which one to choose.

Screen printing

Almost all professional printing providers will make use of screen printing, and you may also know it by its other name: silkscreen printing. With this method, a nylon mesh and a stencil are used by the specialist; the stencil is held up by the nylon mesh, and a material (which is waterproof) can block the extra space from being printed as well. The specialist will then flood the screen with ink, resulting in the design you want. This method is often used for the printing of high-quality designs since it almost always results in a great replication of the original design. Screen printing is also ideal for mass or bulk orders, although it is a method which works better with one-colour designs rather than multiple-colour ones.

Direct to garment or DTG printing

The direct to garment printing method is quite popular nowadays as well, but it requires training and knowledge, as the experts in Liverpool t shirt printing from Garment Printing will tell you. It makes use of ink and a textile printer, much like a regular printer used for paper. The specialist can upload the design onto a computer, and this allows for super complex t-shirt designs, and since the ink is thin, the fabric will still feel soft and comfy. Here’s one thing with direct to garment printing, though: make sure the textile printer is of good quality; an inferior quality textile printer can result in designs with low resolutions and even ‘dotted’ patterns. DTG printing is not recommended for dark fabrics as the ink is not thick.

Dye sublimation printing

This is a method which works well with light fabrics or shirts made from polyester, and although it costs more than DTG printing or silkscreen printing, it gives the apparel a more professional look. The method makes use of a special liquid dye, and this dye dries up once it meets the fabric. If it is well-dried, the dye will solidify onto the fabric, and then pressure and heat are applied to assist the process of sublimation.

Heat press printing

Heat press printing is ideal for smaller orders of t-shirts or other printed apparel, and it makes use of a special paper (referred to as ‘transfer paper’). For this method, a shirt is pressed on the ‘transfer paper’ and pressure and heat are also applied. The specialist then repeats the process until the heat makes the dye softer on the paper and is transferred underneath the cloth or fabric. Afterwards, the ‘transfer paper’ is taken and the dye is stripped off, with the design left on the fabric or shirt. The heat press method is ideal for really complicated designs, although it may not work as well with fabrics which are dark because of the dye, which is translucent.

Image attributed to Pixabay.com

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