Whether you’re running a small business or just have a side hustle on the side, selling your apparel is a great way to make extra money. Getting your designs printed on apparel can be incredibly easy and cost-effective when you work with companies like Fadish Studio. Clothing manufacturers will prefer one printing method over another because of the cost, quality, and durability. Understanding each method and how that affects the importance of your design. This way, you can create a design that will look great on any type of garment.
This post will review the different printing methods available and which are best for different types of garments.
Best Types of T-shirt Printing Methods
There are several different methods for printing on apparel depending on the particular process, ink, and garment. Each has its pros and cons in terms of quality, cost, turnaround time, and applicability to your needs. Here are a few types you might run into out there and what they’re typically used for:
DTG (Direct to Garment)
DTG printing uses the same ink as regular inkjet printers, but the inks are specially formulated for garment applications. The ink is printed on a special transfer paper and heat applied to your garments. The DTG method is perfect for printing on dark garments and shirts with logos, pictures, and designs. It’s also suitable for printing small quantities because you don’t need a minimum order.
Why Use DTG
The prints do not crack or flake off as traditional screen-printed garments can. DTG allows the user to print on flat fabric surfaces and curved surfaces such as on hats, which has been impossible until recently.
Indirect Screen Printing/Plastisol
Indirect screen printing is used when applying heat-activated inks to apparel or other products where direct contact with a hot plate is required. When using this method, the designer must know how much colorant will apply to the shirt during screen printing instead of how many colors will be applied to the shirt during plastisol coating. For plastisol coating to work appropriately, heat must be used at a high enough temperature for a long enough time to cure (dry) the material before it sticks to something else. Without proper curing time, it can cause adhesion problems when trying to transfer an image from one surface onto another surface.
Benefits of Indirect screen printing
This type of screen printing takes longer than direct printing but allows for larger quantities at one time and produces more consistent results across all prints compared to natural printing methods that can vary from printer to printer due to a lack of consistency in their equipment or skill level of the operator.
Vinyl is a type of fabric that has been made into a flexible plastic sheet. This material is often used for heat transfers on t-shirts because it is durable and easy to work with. Vinyl transfers are ideal for darker-colored shirts because they offer bright, vibrant colors without fading or cracking in the wash.
Con and Pros of using the Vinyl method
Vinyl t-shirt printing is a good choice if you want something inexpensive, durable, and long-lasting. It can be applied to almost any type of fabric and comes in a variety of colors. The downside is that vinyl cannot be removed from clothing without damaging it.
Heat Press Printing
Heat press printing uses a heated surface to transfer ink from an aluminum plate onto the t-shirt directly. The process involves applying pressure to the shirt while it is being printed, allowing for more detailed images to be reproduced on the fabric. Heat press printing is ideal for dark-colored shirts because it does not smudge or run when washing your clothes as dye-sublimation transfers do.
Con of Heat Press Printing
These machines can be expensive compared to other shirts printing methods like screen printing or direct-to-garment (DTG) printing.
Sublimation is a printing method that uses heat to transfer ink to a T-shirt. It involves using a heat press or an iron with a textile setting, with the shirt sandwiched between two plates. The plate on the bottom has a design on it, and the plate on top has a clear silicone sheet with a layer of ink. When you press down on both plates, the image transfers from one plate to the other.
Why use the sublimation technique
This process takes longer than heat transfer printing but produces higher quality results. Since it uses heat, it can be used for other fabrics besides cotton, leather, and other non-woven materials.
Heat Transfer Printing/Inkjet
Heat transfer printing is similar to sublimation except that instead of transferring from one plate to another, the image transfers from paper onto the fabric via heat. The image is printed onto special plastic film sheets with an inkjet printer, which then gets laminated onto T-shirts in much the same way as sublimation. Unlike sublimation, though, this method requires no special equipment and can be done at home with just an iron and some Teflon sheets (the kind used for cooking).
This is the most common form of printing and is also one of the oldest. Screen printing involves laying down a stencil with mesh, then using a squeegee to push ink through the mesh onto the garment underneath. Screen printing allows for high-quality results with great detail and sharp lines, but it requires multiple passes to achieve a complete image or logo on the shirt and uses a lot of ink.
The airbrush process is similar to screen printing, but instead of using a screen, you use an airbrush gun with a fine tip nozzle. Airbrushing offers more flexibility because no screens are involved, which gives you more control over how much ink gets applied to each area of the shirt. Airbrushing can also add shading effects and gradients in addition to solid colors. This process takes much longer than screen printing because there’s more room for error; every little movement can mess up your design!
Discharge printing is water-based ink printed on the shirt using heat and pressure. The ink gets discharged from the shirt and is ready to sell. This method is suitable for light-colored shirts only. The discharge printing process involves soaking a piece of fabric in water and then placing an ink pad on top. The ink is transferred from the pad to the fabric by applying heat and pressure. This process can be repeated multiple times until the desired color has been achieved.
Why you should use this technique
The result is an image that appears to be printed directly on the t-shirt, but it’s printed on a discharge film placed over the shirt before it goes through the dryer. This printer allows you to print on dark-colored shirts and more flexibility when choosing your designs.
Stenciling is also known as screen printing because it uses a stencil made of parchment paper or silk screen, which is placed between two rollers — one with paint and the other with water, so that the stencil transfers only one color onto your T-shirt at a time. Stenciling can be used on any fabric but works best on cotton or polyester materials because they are more absorbent than other fabrics like wool or silk.
Criteria For Choosing The Best Types of T-shirt Printing Methods
The different types of T-shirt printing methods have their advantages and disadvantages. They can be used to print on other fabrics and materials as well. Here are some of the factors that you should consider while choosing the right type of t-shirt printing method:
Compatibility with Different Fabrics
One of the most important factors to consider while choosing a t-shirt printing method is its compatibility with different fabrics, which can help you save money on your production cost and time. If you want to print on cotton shirts, you should use screen printing or the DTG method, but if you want to print on polyester shirts, then the heat transfer method would be ideal.
Speed of Production
Another critical factor is the speed of production. If you want to get your product within a short time, then screen printing or the DTG method would be perfect for your business. But if you want to produce large quantities at a time, the heat transfer method would be best for this purpose because it provides high-quality prints much faster than other methods like DTG or Screen Printing.
The cost of the t-shirt printing method is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a printing method. Some methods may be more expensive, but they can also be more effective and produce better results. For example, screen printing is usually more costly than digital printing because it takes more time and effort to complete each print. However, screen printing produces sharper pictures with better color saturation than digital printing.
When you choose a printing method, you will also need to consider the quality of the final product. A high-quality T-shirt printing method should produce high-quality prints on your T-shirts.
The Screen Printing Process
The screen printing process is a very simple yet efficient way to produce high-quality custom shirts. The process involves:
Step 1: Create your Design
The first step in screen printing is creating a design. If you’re using a computer, many programs are available to help you. If you’re doing screen printing, consider purchasing Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.
There are plenty of options for those who prefer to work without technology. Stenciling involves creating a stencil from paper and tracing it over it with ink or paint. A stencil can also be created from thin plastic or metal sheets.
Step 2: Formatting the File
Once you have created your design, it’s time to ensure it’s ready for printing. Ensure your image is in CMYK mode and not RGB (which would mean that red would be printed using magenta instead of yellow). The easiest way to do this is by saving it as an EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) file and then converting this into a JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) file. You can also use Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.
Step 3: Cover the screen with emulsion
Next, cover your screen with emulsion (or “emulsion”). This sticky substance helps keep the ink from bleeding through onto other areas of your shirt while printing (as well as making sure nothing bleeds through onto other parts of the screen).
Step 4: Let the screen dry.
After applying the ink to your screen, you must let it dry. You can speed up this process by placing a fan near your screen, but it does not need to be very powerful. Ensure there is not too much wind around, or the drying process will be delayed.
Step 5: Create the stencil
To make a stencil, you will need some paper, a pencil, and masking tape. First, draw whatever pattern or image you want on the paper using pencil marks. Then cut out the shape of this pattern using scissors or an exacto knife. If you want multiple copies of this same stencil design, just trace over the first one with pencil marks again and repeat until you have enough copies for all of your shirts!
Step 6: Separating the colors
The next step before printing is separating each color you’ll use. This process can be done by pouring each color onto its tray or using a squeegee. The squeegee method is typically preferred because it allows for more precise control over where each color goes on the shirt or other printed item.
Step 7: Apply the design.
Once the screen is ready, you can begin applying the design. Place the screen on top of your T-shirt, and apply ink to the mesh with a squeegee.
Step 8: Heat curing
After all of your T-shirts have been printed, they will need to be heat cured. Heat curing is a process in which you expose your T-shirts to high heat for 30 minutes or more, and this causes the ink to dry more quickly and prevents smearing or bleeding onto other parts of the shirt.
Step 9: Inspection
The final step in screen-printing is inspection. All shirts are inspected by hand to ensure they meet quality standards before being packaged and shipped out!
Screen printing is the most common type of t-shirt printing method, and it is also the most versatile, as it can be used to produce almost any kind of design.
Screen printing uses water-based inks and requires proper ventilation when using solvent-based inks as they contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to breathing.
Screen printing has many advantages:
- It can be used with any kind of fabric – including cotton, polyester, and rayon – which means you have more freedom when designing your artwork than other methods. This makes it ideal for customizing uniforms or sports jerseys because you can print them with any design you want! It’s also great for customizing corporate apparel or accessories like bags or hats!
- When done properly, it produces high-quality prints that will last longer.