Printing different designs on a t-shirt can spice up a regular black tee, something that is ordinary can be turned into something extraordinary and fashionable apparel.
This is a thing those t-shirt fans are frequently looking for these days, and it’s something that makes t-shirt printing more productive than ever before.
Hence, if you’re thinking about starting a t-shirt printing business, don’t let any insecurities hold you back. But, there are several techniques for printing t-shirts that you’d like to know about.
Hence, when going into the business, you might get unclear about what technique to use. You don’t want to use a method that doesn’t fit your or your clients’ requirements.
That is why we have created this guide. You will explore the most common and useful t-shirt printing methods. We will break things down for you so you can quickly understand these techniques.
By the time you’re done reading this post, you will have a clear concept of what various t-shirt printing techniques require and know which one to use for your business.
METHOD 1: SCREEN PRINTING OR SILK SCREEN PRINTING
This is one of the oldest and the most common methods to print a T-shirt.
The primary law here is to separate particular areas within the space you want to imprint, providing the print ink to drown the rest of the design area and, consequently, planning what we will immediately call the ‘print.’
The method includes the use of a screen and letting ink within the same using a tool named a squeegee. A stencil is utilized to perform the design, and waterproof material such as wax or rubber is used to keep the ink out of the ‘positive areas’ while making it into the ‘negative’ areas.
The outcome is a design by screen printing. You may use an individual screen for one design and color or several, depending on how complicated the design is and how many shades you want to use for the same.
Screen printing is practiced across the board both for residential and commercial purposes and can be done manually or by machine and is individually credited for identical designs. Other purposes it weighs against other techniques include:
- Gives you the best quality
- Much more durable when working on various items with a single design
- Can print in multiple colors
- A great alternative for the mass production
- Soft finish
- Not a viable alternative for inadequate quantities
- The bigger learning curve, unlike the transfer method
- Printing one-off is time-consuming and costly with this method
- Can be untidy if done manually
- A bit pricey
METHOD 2: DIRECT TO GARMENTS (DTG)
Here is another technique that is famous amongst the pros. It operates like paper printing in the office, and to apply the method, you will require to get inks and a textile printer.
As with paper printing, you place or create your ideas to the computer then fill them to the printer, which produces these designs on the t-shirt.
The only exception to paper printing is that rather than utilizing paper, you are using fabrics.
If you are looking to print out patterns that are very difficult? This method is the most helpful shot.
With computer programs like Adobe Photoshop, you will be equipped to explain the smallest details and shift them to the t-shirt with a high degree of precision using the printer.
- Gives you full-color printing
- Props one-off designs
- Low cost per item printing
- Soft and professional finish
- A bit more inactive for mass productions compared to screen printing
- Uses a lot of space
- High beginning cost
METHOD 3: SUBLIMATION PRINTING
Ever noticed a t-shirt with prints all over it? Most apparently, they used the sublimation method to put those printings.
Sublimation is quite suited for doing big printings. If you are looking to change the whole t-shirt into a piece of art, sublimation is the way to go.
With this technique, you can do a universe print or place repeated patterns on the t-shirt.
Nevertheless, sublimation works well on 100% polyester t-shirts only.
- Able to provide unique designs
- Can place pictures all over the t-shirt easily
- Supports extensive use of shades and styles
- The shirt has to be 100% polyester
- Does not cover white spots, such as the underarms
- Only cost-effective for orders going above 40 t-shirts
METHOD 4: HEAT PRESS PRINTING
If you are just getting sprung with t-shirt printing and don’t have several or bulky orders, heat printing would be a really suitable technique. It will preserve you not only supplies but also time.
With heat printing, you utilize a special kind of paper, known as a transfer paper, to create your designs, and next, you carry the designs to the t-shirt applying heat and pressure.
In many cases, vinyl is used as the transfer paper, and it has a sticky material on one side and a strippable tape on the contrary side.
Once you have imprinted out your design and rolled it on to the t-shirt, you hold the line and strip it, transmitting only the design.
The line is typically the bright side, and that’s what you have to strip.
- Reasonably simple
- Provides excellent quality – suitable for full-color prints
- Ideal for intricate designs
- Slower than practically all the other means
- Unfit for heat-sensitive fabrics
- Quite unsuitable for dark garments
METHOD 5: VINYL PRINTING
Vinyl printing uses different, soft clothing that is professionally formed, utilizing CAD cutter and other specialized software. Then you print this stuff onto your t-shirt using a heat press method.
The technique allows you to print one-off designs and even extended runs, giving it an excellent alternative for printing multiple garment types. Moreover, it enables you to layer vinyl, which makes it possible for you to imprint in assorted colors and produce lively designs.
Vinyl runs well for the slogan, small graphics, and mottos. But it’s not fit for large printed areas as your t-shirt may lose its elasticity.
- Perfect for long, medium and shorter runs of prints
- Gives vibrant which can last the life of your t-shirt
- No fading or cracking of the print
- Vinyl is not flexible than screen printing inks
- You will need to study the software and hardware before using this machine
- You will need proper CAD cutters, heat press, and software
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. WHAT PAPER IS USED TO TRANSFER DESIGNS TO THE T-SHIRTS?
It is identified as a heat transfer paper. You usually print a picture on the heat transfer paper both using an inkjet printer or regular ink then transfer that design to the t-shirt using a heat press.
2. HOW IS VINYL PRINTING DONE?
Vinyl printing is an everyday t-shirt printing technique where you cut out your designs on painted vinyl, then apply heat and pressure to attach the cut-outs to the t-shirt.
A Cricut machine helps cut out designs.
3. HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU CHARGE FOR YOUR CUSTOM T-SHIRTS?
Typically, t-shirt contractors charge a percentage of 5 to 9 dollars per color-printed t-shirt.
But there are some features to consider before deciding on a price. For example, the more the complexity of the design, the higher the cost.
As we have discussed with you, there are many methods that you can use for printing t-shirts. We have not only described these techniques but also explained the pros and cons that come with them.
Here’s what you require to do: evaluate your t-shirt printing requirements. Do you want to go for small-scale or large-scale printing? Do you have the freedom to learn a complicated method that might turn out pretty satisfying? Do you have the money to invest in an extravagant printing machine?
These are some of the problems you need to solve.